Books for when your girl gets her period
As I’ve said before… being a girl is hard. And it’s especially hard during puberty. I can remember being so ashamed of having to ask my 5th grade teacher for permission to use the bathroom and then having to hide my pad as I left the classroom.
It’s sad that parents don’t know how to talk about these issues with their girls (and if you do, then you’re ahead of the curve!), which often leaves girls with unanswered questions and a whole host of emotions from sadness to shame (I’m sure there’s the rare girl who is just pumped to get her period, but like I said, rare).
The good news is that there are so many resources out there now to help you help your daughter through the adjustment of getting her period + her body changing. My list is definitely not comprehensive, but it’s a start.
First, I have to mention the classic that has been there for a lot of girls: Are you there, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I actually didn’t read this book until I was a Reader’s Workshop teacher a few years ago, so I didn’t find it particularly inspiring, but then again I wasn’t the target audience! Compared to today’s young adult fiction, it is low on action and fairly philosophical. Margaret spends a lot of time contemplating body changes (or lack thereof), and religion. It’s best for a girl who loves to read and who enjoys thinking about deep issues. And maybe even discussing those issues with you.
The best books, which you’ve probably already discovered are all of the American Girl series on health and wellness for girls. Sure, it’s a doll company, but truly their books are great, and well-researched. You can also be absolutely assured that there is nothing inappropriate in these books. They are well-tailored to the ages of the girls they are for. Start with The Care and Keeping of You (by Valorie Schaefer and Josee Masse) and if your girl enjoys it, explore the rest of the books in the series.
Books similar to the American Girl series are: Period. A Girl’s Guide by Joann Loulan and Bonnie Worthen; and Hello Flo by Naama Bloom (a note: the book is age appropriate, but the website is probably not. I recently went on there and it was geared at older women: blog posts about sex, masturbation, etc.)
Two books which are great for starting a mother-daughter conversation are: Cycle Saavy (Toni Weschler) and especially Start Talking (Mary Jo Rapini).
I would recommend staying away from My Little Red Book by Rachel Nalebuff. I remember when this book was published and it caused a great stir as a book talking about taboo topic. It’s been marketed very well, that’s for sure. But, the stories, which focus on different women’s experiences with their first period, can be embarrassing, upsetting, and cringe-worthy, especially for a young girl who might already be very stressed about getting her period. Save it for when your daughter is older and can laugh about it.
So there you have it. Hopefully any of these books open the door to a conversation with your girl about having her period and about her body changing. Remember, you are the mom – no need to be embarrassed!