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Puberty in MG?

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I've been working on my first MG novel (so excited about it!). I feel like it's upper-MG since my protagonist is 12. I don't deal with sexuality or romantic relationships in the story, but there are times when the MC notices changes (or the lack thereof) in her body and others. For example, she comments on her ex-BFF's breasts. I feel like this is relevant to the world of the MC where she and old friends are changing. Is puberty okay for MG? Also, if I can include it, any suggestions of MG books that deal with puberty well? Puberty doesn't have to be central to the book but just incorporated into the story so I can to see how they write about it.

#1 - September 25, 2016, 08:39 AM

Hi Jamilah,

I write in the same genre. :) Here are a few Upper MG novels that incorporate adolescent body changes into the story:

THE SWAP, by Meghan Shull


ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET, by Judy Blume (a classic with a contemporary feel, don't let the old copyright steer you away).

Best wishes!

#2 - September 25, 2016, 10:37 AM
Ten Clever Ninjas (picture book, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)
Butterfly Girl (middle grade novel, Clear Fork Publishing, 2019)

Twitter: @kidlitSarah


Thanks! I was thinking about looking back at that Judy Blume classic but was thinking it might be too old (I remember loving it as a kid!). I'm sure it will be fun to read again. Thanks for the suggestions.
#3 - September 25, 2016, 11:49 AM

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Here are a couple more you might read: Shrug by Jenny Han (flat-chested 12 yr old mc) and Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes (12 yr-old mc sort of tomboy starts noticing her best girlfriend flirting with her best guy friend).
#4 - September 25, 2016, 04:59 PM
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Organisms That Glow
Theme Parks
What Are Gems?

Another example is Tamora Pierce's fantasy novel, Alanna, the first adventure.
#5 - September 25, 2016, 11:30 PM
Sarah Blake Johnson, MFA
Crossings (2017, Cedar Fort)

I just did a book event with author Barbara Dee who has a new mg book out which deals with puberty.  It's called Truth or Dare and would be a good current one for you to look at.  Good luck with the writing! 
#6 - September 26, 2016, 09:03 AM
Natasha Lowe
The Power of Poppy Pendle series, S & S
Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle, S & S

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As the parent to a soon to be 11-year-old whose voice is starting to change, yeah, middle grade is perfect timing for puberty talk.
#7 - September 26, 2016, 10:33 AM
"We either live happily ever after or we get killed by horrible curses." -The Wolf, The 10th Kingdom

One of my blogmates wrote a post about periods in MG. Really, there ought to be more books that acknowledge it! Here's the post:
#8 - September 26, 2016, 10:41 AM
Kell Andrews

THIS OR THAT, Tilbury House, 2021
THE BOOK DRAGON, Sterling, 2018

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Kell, love that piece. And yes, this is going to happen to all girls, so why aren't we talking and writing about it? Boys need to know too, btw, about changes to girls and themselves. Or do we not expect them to grow up and have friends or roommates or spouses or siblings of the opposite gender. (My son knows more about menstruation than he'd like because of his sister, and she's hearing his voice change.)
#9 - October 05, 2016, 08:33 AM
Twitter: @dvilardi1


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