These Are Important — Period!

10 Inclusive Books About Menstruation For Kids Of All Ages

They're like that American Girl book, but more up-to-date.

Written by Jilleen Barrett and Elaine Roth
Originally Published: 
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We all remember the day the book showed up in our childhood bedrooms. The book cover showed three young girls with different skin colors and hair types smiling, wrapped in bath towels as if they were just so excited about hygiene. In most cases, the book was left by a family member, who showed they cared by leaving this book on your twin-size bed with no explanation instead of forcing you to sit through a horrifying conversation about hormones, anatomy, and what birds and bees do.

But things are a little different in 2023. The Care and Keeping of You, though it tried its best, is no longer up to date or inclusive in the ways we need it to be. And in these times, we tend to have more conversations, even if they’re awkward. Luckily, there are some new books that make room for conversation between a parent and child about periods: what they are, why they happen, and who experiences them.

There’s also this great glossary to help you when you forget the exact definition of cervix or you want to explain what the gender pain gap is but have trouble finding the right words (it happens to all of us).

The best part is there are books that reach children of different ages, so if you want to educate your child early on, you can. But if you don’t, no sweat, because there’s still plenty to relate to and learn from once they’re older. These books can also be used to educate children of any gender and kids who will or won’t someday experience menstruation. Isn’t inclusivity a beautiful thing?

Own Your Period by Chella Quint

Own Your Period by Chella Quint is a great option for learning more about what periods are and how to be confident despite how emotional and embarrassing they can be at times. It’s recommended for kids over the age of nine, likely due to the explanations of the scientific aspects of menstruation, which may be a lot for young children to understand.

Red Moon Gang by Tara Costello

Red Moon Gang is exactly what I would have wanted as a kid. It’s gender-neutral and uses humor to destigmatize and address misconceptions about periods. Illustrations and explanations in the book help kids understand period conditions like endometriosis and POS, making it another good book for older kids.

The Autism-Friendly Guide to Periods by Robyn Steward

This excellent book is made for all children, but specifically those on the spectrum who want to learn more about menstruation. According to a reviewer from a parent of a child on the spectrum, "It covered several topics, such as sensory issues and when/with whom to talk about periods, that I haven't seen addressed in other books about periods and puberty."

Period by Various Authors

Twelve perspectives are better than one! This book contains stories from 12 people who menstruate across different gender, racial, and cultural identities. Chances are, your child will find someone they can relate to in this book. Reading a story that makes them realize they are not alone will make them feel so much more comfortable in their body.

Vaginas and Periods 101 by Christian Hoeger & Kristen Lilla

Yep, there are period books out there for small children, too. Since kids are getting their periods younger and younger or witnessing others experience menstruation, educational resources for them are now available. This pop-up book would be suitable for anyone who wants to understand the anatomy, though, because it includes a pop-up vulva and explains all of its different parts!

Period. by Natalie Byrne

A practical book covering everything you need to know about periods for children, adults, moms, dads, womb-owners, and ex-womb-owners. In a HuffPost interview, the author Natalie Byrne said she wanted to write this book because “everyone’s experiences of periods are different, and I love that as a message for everyone, even if you don’t have a period: Every body is different, and that’s OK.” Also, the author has committed to donating a percentage of the profits to Bloody Good Period, an organization providing menstrual supplies to asylum seekers, refugees, and those who can’t afford them.

Some Periods by Mai Nguyen

Some Periods is a book written in collaboration with the brand KT by Knix, which makes leakproof period underwear you can bleed in. The book is really appropriate for very young kids because it isn’t too descriptive but gets the message across that “every period is one of a kind.”

Cycles by Amy J. Hammer

Although this book is written for teenagers, it might have some helpful advice for adults, too! It’s about how periods have different phases that all require different treatment. Following their guidelines for nourishing the body through every phase could help lead to feeling better through this rough time of the month. It has recipes, self-care and movement tips, and explanations of when during the cycle a pregnancy may be most viable. So not only is it helpful for the most common worries among teens — like acne and bloating — it has information that is good to know later in life, too!

One in a Million by Konika Ray Wong

One in a Million is another excellent option for young kids. The little girl dressed as a superhero on the cover is a pretty clear indicator of the book’s empowering stance on periods. Basically, the book explains the period cycle using kid-friendly characters and explains some of the science behind it, but in a way that younger kids can still understand. One Amazon review stated that the book is “such a factual, fun, and lighthearted way to introduce a young person to the superpower that is a period.”

If you’re looking for the perfect book to help your child understand periods, no matter what their gender or education level is, any of these books are worth checking out. You can read it with them or leave it out for them to explore when they’re ready — that way, you can avoid a way-too-awkward conversation without making yourself seem unapproachable for these life lessons. Your kid will love and appreciate you for it!

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