Book Cover, A Girl’s Guide to Puberty and Periods

Written by Columbia University Researchers and Includes “My First Period” Stories and Advice from Girls Across the US

/PRNewswire/A Girl’s Guide to Puberty and Periods is a body-positive illustrated book that helps girls ages 9-14 understand what to expect about puberty and everything that goes with it. An important point of differentiation from other popular puberty books is that this new offering provides “my first period” stories and advice from diverse girls across the U.S. to help young women understand that everything they’re going through is normal. Parents will also appreciate that the book incorporates factual health content and practical tips developed by adolescent health experts at Columbia University. The goal is to empower girls to feel more confident and knowledgeable about their changing bodies.  The book is available for purchase now via Amazon and other major book retailers.

The book was developed and written by Dr. Marni Sommer (DrPH, MSN, RN), Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University and her team of adolescent health researchers including Maggie Schmitt (MPH), Christine Hagstrom (MPH) and Caitlin Gruer (MPH). Dr. Sommer has spent years conducting research with girls and boys around the world, capturing their stories and questions about their changing bodies. She founded Grow and Know, Inc. in 2010, through which she has published over two million puberty books across 10 countries.  For A Girl’s Guide to Puberty and Periods, Dr. Sommer turned her focus to girls in the U.S.  After conducting a systematic review of the evidence across the U.S., Dr. Sommer found there was a lack of knowledge about girls’ personal experiences growing up today from the perspective of the girls themselves.  That led Dr. Sommer and her team to launch a study with adolescent girls in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles to capture insights directly from the girls as well as from the adults in their lives. The team conducted participatory research with girls, including writing their first period stories, sharing the questions they had, and offering their advice for younger girls. The team also collected first period stories from adolescent girls across 25 states, a selection of which are included in the book in graphic novel format. The study also captured the perspectives of teachers, coaches, school nurses, and others who engage with young girls as they transition into early adulthood. Based on the information from the study, Dr. Sommer and her team were convinced there was a need for a new puberty book that not only incorporated the unique and direct perspectives of real-life girls, but also included important factual health content and practical guidance. For maximum approachability, A Girl’s Guide to Puberty and Periods features kid-friendly illustrations on every page.

Dr. Marni Sommer and her team also created a series of animated video shorts about puberty and periods that were developed with the generous support of The Hearst Foundation and complement the content of A Girl’s Guide to Puberty and Periods.  The videos are available on the book website ( and Grow and Know social channels (Twitter: @Grow_and_Know; FB: @GrowAndKnowUSA).  Also, the book is currently being translated into Spanish (available in Spring 2022) and plans for A Boy’s Guide to Puberty are underway.  

Leave a Reply