Are you ready for boys?

flea in san francisco

While we were in California this summer, we popped into American Girl in Los Angeles. If you’ve never heard of this place it’s basically the Global Headquarters of Weird, disguised as a doll shop.

After marvelling at the doll spa where your doll can get a facial (no, really) and the cafe where you can enjoy afternoon tea with your doll, Flea and I chanced upon a range of books published by American Girl.

American Girl, it turns out, publishes a range of books for pre-teen girls on every sort of self-help topic imaginable. Including one about boys. Or, “A Smart Girl’s Guide: Boys: Surviving Crushes, Staying True to Yourself and Other (Love) Stuff” to give it its full title.

Obvs, we bought it.

Last night, we were lying around when Flea challenged me to take one of the quizzes in her book – Are You Ready for Boys?

Questions include posers like, “A friend is meeting you at the mall with her boyfriend, and bringing another boy who’s supposed to be for you. Do you feel sick to your stomach?

How about, “When you think about getting teased or dumped, do you think boys just aren’t worth it?”

And the final zinger: “When your friends are all talking about who likes whom, do you get bored and wonder who sucked out their brains?”

So it turns out, I’m not ready for boys.

That’s okay, the book says, because there are still going to be boys around in a few years when I’m ready for them. And apparently, I shouldn’t get pulled into situations that make me uncomfortable. Phew.

According to the scores on the doors, though, my 10 year old is more ready for boys that I am. Bit of a blow. 

Seriously, though, I can’t recommend the American Girl books enough if you have a primary school daughter. There are a whole range of books and they’re all packed with practical, straight-talking, non-scary advice that doesn’t veer into adult (or even teen) territory, and promotes all the sort of messages I’d be happy sharing with a just 10-year-old.

And with the best will in the world, sometimes kids just don’t hear this advice when it comes from a family member.

Aside from the guide to boys (which has been pored over for HOURS by Flea and all of her girlfriends, who love doing the quizzes and endlessly analysing the various chapters) there are some really great guides to managing friendships, and dealing with problems in peer groups. Let’s face it, it isn’t just 10 year olds that could use a guide to dealing with friends who sometimes say mean things about you, what to do when someone starts a rumour about you, or how to keep a secret (and when not to).

One of my favourite books so far, though, is the guide to feeling good about yourself, and having a positive self-image. Flea’s a child who sometimes struggles with her confidence and this book includes LOADS of really positive ways that she can actively take steps to boost her self-esteem.

Rather than encouraging her to use mantras or THINK herself happy when she feels bad about herself, the book guides girls through the process of setting goals, taking steps towards them, and recognising your own skills and successes. I REALLY like this book.

All I need now is for someone to make a range for 40 year olds. Any volunteers to help write A Slightly Confused Woman’s Guide: Men, Surviving Awkward Dates, Keeping your Foot out of your Mouth and Other (Love) Stuff? 



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. 26th September 2015 / 7:47 am

    I will volunteer as a case study for your Guide book for 40 year olds! I have two sons and a SO and I am still confused about male issues – 1) what does one grunt mean? 2) Are there different types of grunts? 3) Do I grunt back?

    An idea – an appendix on Gruntology, please!

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:58 pm

      I tend to take a grunt as a sound of approval. In absence of any evidence otherwise I don’t see why not.

  2. Liz Weston
    26th September 2015 / 9:26 am

    This sounds so good. Is there an equivalent for boys? We could really do with something in our house that bridges the gap. Other than lots of Taylor Swift live, I’m a bit stuck for our boys!!!

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:58 pm

      Wow, that’s a tricky one – maybe look at the US Stuff though, it seems like they have a few more options than we have in the UK.

    • 28th September 2015 / 2:16 pm

      I am totally buying all of these books, and starting the hunt for the boy equivalent. Anything that avoids the need for me to actually talk to them about this stuff and risk saying the wrong thing. Striking the balance between being her mate, and being my mother is proving difficult right now!
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    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:57 pm

      Quite. I am definitely clueless, so that’s step one, right?

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:57 pm

      Ha! I’m not sure I could write ANY sort of self help book 🙂

  3. 26th September 2015 / 10:40 am

    Definitely a gap in the self-help market there. My girl may only be three but the prospect of those tween years is already vaguely terrifying. This sounds like a great set of books to help her navigate.

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:56 pm

      It’s hard to find stuff that isn’t too grown up but the reality is that girls of 9 and 10 are approaching some big changes and it’s good for them to have access to sensible, positive and empowering info 🙂

  4. 26th September 2015 / 10:44 am

    American Girl also do fiction, which I’ve really enjoyed with my daughter. The books are about girls from American history, (Kit from the 1930s, Julie from the 1970s, Felicity from the 1770s… you get the idea), and cover a range of different ethnicities and situations. I recommend them. Thoughtful fiction for girls.

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:56 pm

      Ah, I remember the “history hall” in the store with a section devoted to each character 🙂

    • Sally
      27th September 2015 / 8:55 pm


  5. jane
    28th September 2015 / 10:49 am

    Just ordered three for molly, if they don’t help me parent can you take her?

  6. 29th September 2015 / 6:51 am

    We had the SEX talk this weekend. Ais 8 and declared i want o know it all mummy and she asked and asked and asked declaring it really odd and shes never going to do that off she wandered to play. Dont start telling all your friends i called. Oh i can just imagine the playground chatter this week!
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  7. 29th September 2015 / 12:40 pm

    Am off to google these books, was under the impression that American Girl was all a bit twee and outdated and not what we were trying to teach our kids…maybe I’m wrong? Will investigate further. Have a goddaughter to think of 😉
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    • sally
      29th September 2015 / 9:36 pm

      Very definitely not – they’re modern, accessible and very much relevant to kids, along with being very positive for girls, with lots of good ideas for building self-esteem and confidence – I would 100% recommend them.
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