Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Nook: Bunk 9's Guide to Growing Up - Secrets, Tips, and Expert Advice on the Good, the Bad, and the Awkward

My daughter is just entering middle school. She's young for her grade, but also very insightful, and this combination can make parts of growing up awkward. Although we have a very open relationship and she loves to ask me lots of questions, sometimes she also wants to get other viewpoints. With no older sister for her, or older cousins, I often turn to books. I was happy to review Bunk 9's Guide to Growing Up: Secrets, Tips, and Expert Advice on the Good, the Bad, and the Awkward.

This book is written with a friendly, big-sister tone. With a familiar feel and easy-to-read language, it has the feel of counselors sharing stories and tips at camp. It covers just about everything a girl needs to know - including some things she might not think to ask: body odor, changing body, sleep, relationships, and more. I really liked the celebratory aspect of periods - too many times it's seen as something secret and disgusting and terrible to experience, when it's really a mark of growth and life and change. It's a good book that makes the nitty-gritty of growing up fun to learn.

I had a chance to interview the author to learn more.

-Why did you decide to write this book?
I wish I could take full credit for BUNK 9, but the idea came out of a conversation I had with my editor about where we got our information growing up. We wanted to create a book that was not only body-positive, but also puberty-positive. That showed girls that no matter what path they took through growing up, it was something to be celebrated. I had mentioned that a lot of what I learned about my body, I learned at summer camp, and my editor suggested setting the book at a camp. Everything clicked into place with that one suggestion.

-What sets it apart from other girls' guides?
As far as I know, this is the only girls' guide that includes a strong element of fiction. All of the information that girls need about the science of puberty, their emotions, etc.,  is there, but it's wrapped into a story about nine different girls and their own experiences with puberty. It not only gives a voice to a number of different paths, but it gives readers characters they can identify with, and a story to get invested in. I think seeing those experiences through someone else's eyes will help readers to better understand what they're going through.

-What is the biggest piece of advice you wish you had heard growing up?
I actually got great advice growing up, I just didn't listen to it all! One thing I didn't realize though until I started writing BUNK 9 was that everyone was insecure during puberty--early bloomers, late bloomers, girls with big boobs and small, skinny girls, curvy girls--I didn't talk to a single person who hadn't been totally worried about what was happening to her body. I wish I had known that even the girls with the exact opposite experience from me had some insecurities!

Adah Nuchi grew up in New York City and spent her summers at camp, where she learned (almost) everything she needed to know about being a woman. She worked for many years as a children’'s book editor, and now divides her time between writing and going on adventures, which mostly occur on the beach.

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