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Usborne Book of the Month - June 2013

3rd June 2013

Growing up for Girls

This month we've chosen brand-new June title, Growing up for Girls, as our book of the month. The book discusses the emotional, psychological and physical changes that young girls can expect to experience during their teenage years, and also aims to remind them that it can be an extremely exciting time.

An author's view

To give a true insider view, we spoke to in-house author, Felicity Brooks, to learn more about her motivations behind the title and what she hopes young girls will take away from it. 

As a mother to a 13-year-old, Felicity wanted to have something to give to her daughter during her teenage years to help her along the rollercoaster ride of emotions, lumps, bumps and thoughts that crop up along the way.

"When I was a teenager growing up in the 70s no-one told you how you could expect to feel or that it was OK to feel a certain way and it didn't make you weird. Everything was very hush-hush and I wanted to give my daughter the answers that I didn't have. Teenagers get such bad press, but in my experience they can often be really interesting company – funny, imaginative and full of ideas as well as sometimes chaotic, moody and a bit crazy!"

A book for parents and young girls alike

Felicity also described how the book was very much intended to appeal to parents and young girls:

"There are so many things that have changed since parents were teenagers themselves: new research into brain development, and the long-term effects of teenage drug and alcohol use; new concerns about online safety and cyberbullying and the awareness and treatment of STIs and contraception. It’s important that we’re all as well-informed as possible. Knowing there are options and advice out there gives girls the chance to make good decisions".

Preparing content

During the writing process, Felicity was advised by a variety of experts, from a psychotherapist and a research doctor, to young teenage friends of her daughter, and university work experience students who compiled anonymous lists of 10 things they’d most like to know (or have known) about in this type of book. Advice from the Royal College of Psychiatrists and materials from a parenting course, 'Living with teenagers' also provided the basis for content.

The design of the book was also well-thought out, with a bright and appealing cover not dissimilar to the fiction titles that Usborne produce for young adults and a chapter based structure, with black and white illustrations.

"We wanted to appeal to Usborne fiction readers and ensure that they didn't feel embarrassed about being seen carrying the book. The book is all about empowerment - knowledge is power".

A 'page-turner'

With the top accolade of Usborne Publishing founder, Peter Usborne MBE, having described the book as a 'page-turner' that he read 'from cover-to-cover', we wanted to know the three key things that Felicity hopes young girls will take away from reading the book:

"This is tough but I’d say: Being yourself is OK - whoever you are; don’t suffer in silence as there is always someone out there you can talk to; and being a teenager can be a great time".

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