6 Books on Body Image for Teens & Tweens
As hard as we try to make it a non-issue, most girls will struggle with their body image to some extent from time to time. For some girls, it is a passing concern that they quickly grow out of, but for others, it seems to be a lifelong battle.
You strive to set a good example and help her look at herself as the beautiful creation you know that she is, which is definitely beneficial. However, the things your daughter sees and hears can greatly affect how she views her own body and appearance – television, movies, photos and videos online, books, and magazines all play a part in shaping her self-image.
One way that you can have a greater impact is by offering books to your daughter that promote positive body image. We’ve assembled a collection of young adult novels that will not only cause her to see herself in a more positive light, but that she’ll genuinely enjoy reading as well:
45 Pounds (More or Less)
by K. A. Barson
Ann is 16, and wears a size 17. Her overbearing mother is a tiny size 6, a fact Ann is reminded of with every salad the woman eats, and that is pretty much all that she eats.
When her aunt’s wedding draws near, Ann decides she needs to shed about 45 pounds, and she only has 10 weeks to do so. In order to pay for the in-the-mail meals that promise to help her reach her goal, Ann gets a job at the mall working at the pretzel stand.
In this humorous and realistic story, Ann faces trials and temptations, but ultimately discovers she should love herself in every form.
by Judy Blume
In another of this renowned author’s works, the story is narrated by a girl named Jill, who along with her classmates, mocks, bullies, and ostracizes a girl named Linda.
As time passes and certain events transpire, Jill changes her mind and decides to stand up for Linda. Because of this, she is equally tormented and teased, not only by her former clique but also by the entire class, thanks to encouragement from the popular kids. In the end, she uses her wits to stop the bullying.
by Judy Blume
Not all body image concerns center on size or weight. This classic Judy Blume novel follows 13-year-old Wilmadeene “Deenie” Fenner, whose mother is determined to help her become a model. A scoliosis diagnosis and doctor’s orders that she wear a body brace for four years bring those plans to a screeching halt.
After contending with the letdown she feels and the worries she faces about being different, Deenie eventually comes to terms with her situation and makes different plans – her own plans – for her future.
by Julie Murphy
Willowdean’s former beauty queen mom nicknamed her Dumplin’ and it stuck. Completely comfortable in her own plus size skin, her definition of a bikini body is a body in a bikini.
Then, the 16-year-old’s world starts to change and crumble. Her beloved aunt suddenly dies from a heart attack at 36, her best friend Ellen starts to drift away, and the hottest guy in school likes her, which is great until she starts to imagine him touching her back fat and others snickering behind their backs.
Fortunately, Willow refuses to give up or give in. Instead, she finds a brave way to show that she is perfectly lovable and acceptable just the way she is.
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things
by Carolyn Mackler
Virginia’s sister joined the Peace Corps, her brother left for college, and her only friend moved across the country. But if you ask Ginny what’s wrong—what’s really wrong—she will sum it up in two words: She’s fat.
Just chubby fat, not FAT fat, she would explain; but fat enough to make her life suck, especially within the confines of her perfect family. But when her brother must leave college following a date rape accusation, Ginny’s world is shaken, especially when said perfect family chooses to act as though nothing is wrong.
Your daughter will root for Ginny as she decides to stand up for herself and for others, and learns to accept what an awesome person she truly is.
by Laurie Halse Anderson
18-year-old Lia, who has struggled with anorexia since she was in the eighth grade, wakes up one day to discover that her best friend is dead. Cassie had lived her own battle with bulimia, but what is worse is that because of a stupid fight, she didn’t talk to her before she died. She didn’t talk to her best friend of 10 years. Even though Cassie tried to call her – 33 times.
In this darkly deep and emotion-filled book, Lia struggles with her body image and so much more. She struggles with Cassie’s death, seeing visions of her, hearing her taunting Lia to give up and cross over like she did. She struggles with the pain of life and with her deep-seated feelings of worthlessness.
Although her family and remaining friends desperately wish to save her, Lia must ultimately save herself.
Even if your daughter doesn’t seem to wrestle with body image issues, these books can reinforce her positive self-perception and help her build or maintain an upbeat, accurate view about the bodies of her friends, classmates, and models in the magazines.
How do you encourage your teen to have a positive body image? What are some of your favorite books for teens about this topic? Share with us!
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