Growing up God’s way: for boys (and girls)
(Note – there are two different books with overlapping content)
Chris Richards & Liz Jones
EP Books, 80 pages, £18.75
Star rating: 5
The authors are the paediatricians that started ‘Lovewise’, an organisation ‘to help schools and youth groups by providing presentations on the subjects of marriage, sex and relationships from a Christian perspective’.
These two works form a welcome addition to the authors’ resources, equipping parents with books to either read or give to their children.
The length, font size, illustrations and style are delightfully age-appropriate. Indeed, as the books’ target audience is 9-13-year-old girls and 10-14-year-old boys, I enlisted two co-reviewers from another family at church.
These books aim ‘to help young people understand puberty’, which is positively introduced in chapter one as a stage of preparation for adulthood. They helpfully cover emotional as well as physical changes, accompanied by a satisfying and unpatronising level of biological explanation.
Apt quotations from the Bible appear throughout and the conservative biblical model of marriage is celebrated in chapter two. It is refreshing to see marriage not left to the end and its importance was grasped by my 13-year-old female reviewer.
To quote her: ‘It is important that we as Christian teenagers understand that marriage, sex and having children are all considered sacred by God’. However, it wasn’t clear to my 11-year-old male co-reviewer why he needed to know about marriage at his age, his progress with the book becoming waylaid!
The two books (‘for girls’ and ‘for boys’) are largely identical, except for differences in gender-specific illustrations and references. Chapter four covers ‘How your body changes’ and is gender-specific, along with chapter five which addresses changes in the opposite sex.
Also different are the final chapters celebrating qualities to aspire to in adulthood. ‘Diligence, a submissive spirit, modesty and purity’ are ideals for the girls, while ‘responsibility, respect for girls and purity’ are the aims for the boys.
Unlike our sex-obsessed society, chapter six addresses physical intimacy and reproduction in a reasonably restrained and proportionate manner. The chapter carefully frames the right mental context, before briefly and simply describing sex with the sensitivity and respect it deserves — a breath of fresh air from the graphic and crude culture around us.
I am delighted to have these books on our shelf, ready for our two children to read and there to prepare me for any questions they may have. I shall let my female co-reviewer close: ‘An excellent book, certain to help many young teenagers … This book has definitely helped me with faith in Jesus Christ through puberty’.