A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Period Book: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up offers clear, helpful information for girls about the ways they're changing physically and emotionally during puberty. This 2017 revision of Karen Gravelle's original book (published in 1996) thoroughly covers menstruation and much more, including bra options, eating disorders, braces, and sexual harassment. It's a very helpful guide for two major rites of passage: choosing a first bra, and getting your period. The book is written with a candid, friendly tone and includes plentiful illustrations of external and internal anatomy, including how to insert a tampon. While it covers far more than periods, it does not discuss sexual intercourse and related topics such as birth control and sexually transmitted infections. Aside from a brief reference to same-sex attraction, the text presumes readers are heterosexual. This book is appropriate for children as young as 8, given that girls may begin puberty then. Adults should read this before sharing it with young children, and be prepared for follow-up conversations.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE PERIOD BOOK: A GIRL'S GUIDE TO GROWING UP details the physical and emotional ways girls change as they go through puberty, particularly when they get their period. It starts by describing obvious external changes, such as growing breasts and pubic hair, and then explains internal changes. The book walks readers through choosing a bra, preparing for getting your period, handling menstruation emergencies, and dealing with pimples, mood swings, cramps, braces, and more. It explains what periods can feel like, how to minimize discomfort, and when to get help. It also discusses how growing older can affect friendships and provides advice for healthy relationships.
Is it any good?
Author Karen Gravelle helps girls and their families grow more comfortable talking about periods, pubic hair, and pimples without blushing in this friendly, compassionate update of her sex ed book. The Period Book: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up arms girls with information they need to feel confident and capable through puberty. It's packed with reassurance and practical advice, and well served by Debbie Palen's informative and entertaining illustrations.
Gravelle does an excellent job with what she chooses to cover, going beyond periods to discuss skin care, braces, nutrition, and relationships. Unfortunately, she skips some key subjects: sexual intercourse, consent, masturbation, sexually transmitted infections, birth control, homosexuality and transgender kids, and HPV vaccine. (Gravelle included all of these in her companion book for boys, What's Going on Down There?) The passage on sexting also fails to note possible legal concerns. In all, this is an excellent conversation starter -- but not a complete guide to growing up.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the frank language and illustrations in The Period Book. Do they make it easier to discuss menstruation and puberty with your parents or friends?
Do you still have questions this book didn't answer? If so, bring your questions to a trusted adult.
- Author: Karen Gravelle
- Illustrator: Debbie Palen
- Genre: Body Awareness
- Topics: Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Middle School
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
- Publication date: June 20, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 144
- Available on: Paperback
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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