The Care and Keeping of You was a staple of my childhood experience. From third to fifth grade, I would voraciously read and reread dog-eared pages of the book, waiting impatiently to read the “big kid” section.
The three towel-wrapped girls were a reassuring marker of stability during constant change. It made the changes feel like an accomplishment rather than something shameful. It featured submissions from girls all around the country who voiced the same concerns felt by everyone.
Each first: period, shave, and training bra, was a new triumph that I obnoxiously flaunted without hesitation. Even just knowing about different elements of the book made me feel proud, mature, and ready. I eagerly counted down the days till each milestone like they were trophies being added to my collection.
Best of all, there was no one right way to grow up. Each piece of advice had hosted a variety of applications, and each image depicted a variety of people, races, and experiences that made puberty a little less isolating.
In the few places it lost its general touch and zeroed in on more specific information, it got a little traumatizing. I still remember when my mom brought the book out to teach me about tampons. I sat on the floor finally knowing what was inside the little packages I had always confused for popsicles in my mom's purse, completely terrified at the idea of using one. It wasn’t until my mom came in and explained the process to me that I realized they weren’t too bad after all.
Long story short, even though the nitty-gritty elements of growing up are better handled by real people, The Care and Keeping of You is so much more than a book. From word to reality, it authentically teaches girls how to care and keep for themselves during the whirlwind that is girlhood.