Image c/o: Library Of Congress

A woman’s body is complicated. There’s a whole lot to learn and it doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Thankfully, these books exist to do the job. They’ve helped us embrace being a woman, from puberty to menopause (and everything in-between!)

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1. Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women's Health Collective and Judy Norsigian

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Originally called Women and Their Bodies (available to read in all it’s glory here), it accompanied Women’s Liberation movement as the bible about our bodies. It provided more information about women’s health and sexuality than ever before. Since then, it’s expanded throughout the years with more information. The most recent edition was published in 2011.

2. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume

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Margaret Simon may be fictional but any girl who read this book felt like they knew her. It’s a story about a sixth-grader trying to find a religion while dealing with all that comes with growing up. Talking about everything from crushes to first periods, it’s a relatable classic.

3. Twelve by Lauren Myracle

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A modernized Are You There God? It's Me Margaret, Myracle's book tackles what it's like to be a twelve year old girl, month to month. It's part of a series called The Winnie Years, including such adventures as Winnie losing a tampon in the pool. (Slightly more relevant than Margaret sleeping with a sanitary-belt on...)

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4. & 5. The Care and Keeping of You 1 and 2 by American Girl

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We’re sure many girls remember their parent’s handing them this body handbook in middle school. It covers all the basics of puberty, physical and emotional. The second edition (published in 2013) delves into the same topics as the first with even more detail.

6. It’s a Girl Thing: How to Stay Healthy, Safe and in Charge by Mavis Jukes

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This book is like the witty, more adult sister of The Care and Keeping of You. It answered all those questions we feel too awkward to ask a family member, such as information about birth control and STDs. It’s also jam packed with body positive messages. “Take good care of your body;” writes Jukes, “it contains something miraculous – you.”

Not a coming of age read, but certainly an important book about the female body:

7. The Wisdom of Menopause by Christine Northup, M.D.

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Perhaps the most difficult, confusing thing a woman’s body endures, menopause is not fun. This book, however, does help to make it a little easier. It’s a textbook-sized guide for understanding the changes your body is going through and how to help navigate them the best way possible.

Katie is a writer from and based in NYC. She enjoys discovering new bands to listen to, reading, and Googling "baby animals in party hats." You can find her having a political debate with her dog or on Instagram










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