Book Review by Poyani Mehta
Book: HOW I GOT MY BELLY BUTTON – An Enchanting Story on Puberty, Sex n Growing Up! by ANJU KISH
Kiara and Neal: Maa and Paa… Please tell ….How I Got My Belly Button? What is Puberty ?, What are the differences between a Boy and A Girl?, Do Girls Bleed Every Month?, Why is my body changing?, What’s Emotional Yo-Yo ?, Is sex a bad word? , How was I born? and so on and so forth queries were asked.
Ma and Pa: Whoa, whoa! Children that’s way too many questions to answer in one go …come join us, let us go through the different stages of your journey of the Growing Human Body.
Twins, Kiara and Neal are super excited since they are going to be celebrating their 9th. birthday the next morning. A party had been planned, friends coming over, lots of yummy food and not to forget the Marble Cake baked by their dad. A chance conversation with their parents veers towards the subject of Puberty, Sex and Growing Up.
Though curious, topics on human sexual changes in the body can be embarrassing for young children and teens, more so when they are unaware of the reality and hearsay wrong information from friends and other places, but Kiara and Neal’s parents are honest and open with their answers, clearing out many age-old myths and topics about sex and our reproductive body which many parents still find a taboo subject or difficulty in talking and discussing with their children.
Different spaces have been used for their conversational talks where it is not just the home environment but also going for a picnic on a Sunday morning and talking about the bird and the bees concept out in the open.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading, ”HOW I GOT MY BELLY BUTTON” by Anju Kish. Though it is an educational non-fiction book on Sex Education for young children and teens, it has a fun and happy story structure interwoven within it with factual, well-researched information on the growing body and all topics ranging from Periods, Puberty/Hormonal and Emotional Changes to Ingredients needed to make a baby in the womb, etc. Some of the dialogues from the book that stood out for me were:
Dad: “ It is important that all parents get over their initial hesitation and have these conversations with their children.”
Dad: “Hey! It’s okay to find the word sex and puberty funny or embarrassing and giggle about it initially, but remember all this is about you and your body and the various changes it will go through. So it`s important to talk and understand.”
It is just not the mother’s domain to talk to children about the various body changes but the father is also an equally responsible partner, which Anju has succeeded in showing in her book. I really liked it that the father of Kiara and Neal is totally involved in the whole story.
Mom: “Periods are not an illness and one should go about all regular daily activities unless there is severe discomfort.” “ Sometimes your hormones during puberty may drive you mad, right from shouting, ranting, arguing or banging doors, the reproductive organs of boys and girls become active.”
Mom: “ The truth is you were made by your mother and father. We got to know only after 3 months that we were expecting twins.”
Neal is shown to have a good habit of noting down important pointers learnt on each topic in his diary for easy access in the future.
Children invariably connect to animals and the twins have a cute cat Pepper as a pet. Pepper plays a major role in taking the story forward and after the end of every chapter Pepper gives important pointers on changes in its own body since it is also a mammal.
My daughter of 11 years also has read it in bits and parts with me and she found it informative and a learning experience though we both think, she needs to grow up in maturity and years to have a better understanding of many topics covered. All the chapters are dealt with clarity, fluid writing and easy to understand examples.
Illustrations are many and stark and in black and white and do justice to the textual information provided so that children would connect to the matter better. This book should be read with parents or under parental guidance/supervision, in age stages, as it is a sensitive subject.
It is available on Amazon and all leading bookstores. Appropriate for ages 9+.
Anju Kish is the Founder of UnTaboo, a Sex Education Company, Director of a successful Musical Play ,`Growing Up` for children on puberty and safety, Author of 2 Non Fiction books, titled `How I Got My Belly Button` and How I Found Out Everything About Sex`, and some time Stand- Up Comedian.
** Please note, this is an independent review written by Poyani Mehta. This is not a promotional article.
About the writer:
Former librarian of Gopi Birla Memorial School, a Storyteller, actor in children’s theatre with The Secret Passages Storytellers and The 3 Musketeers, a team member of The Peek A Book Children Lit. Festival, Poyani enjoys baking, is very for of animals, music and travelling. When she’s not busy with work, she likes to spend quality time with her 11-year-old daughter. She occasionally likes to write travel stories as well.
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