It’s never too early to teach your child about body literacy and prepare them for their first period. Thankfully, today there are several inclusive period books for elementary aged children, pre-teens, teens, and even adults.
That’s right, “The Care and Keeping of You” is no longer the only option. Here are our picks for the best period books for each age range. While these are categorized by age range many of these books can be read at any age, so don’t let that stop you from perusing the entire list.
Period Books for Children (Ages 6-10+)
No child should be surprised by their first period. The average age when periods begin is about 12, but the range can begin as early as 9 and arrive as late as 16. It’s far too common that a child has their first period unaware of what their first blood is or what it means.
That’s why books aimed towards children as young as 6-9 years old are an essential part of their early education. Use these books as a jumping off point to normalize periods and discuss body literacy basics with your child.
- Vaginas and Periods 101 Pop-Up Book is our favorite learning resource for elementary aged children written by sex-educator duo Christian Hoeger and Kristen Lilla. The content covers age appropriate basics about reproductive anatomy, external anatomy, and the fundamentals about periods and period product options. The format is engaging and your child will enjoy the thoughtful pop-up elements that include a rotating egg and a pop-up vulva. My favorite part is the mention of discharge, which is an early sign of changes ahead, many children feel ashamed or confused about discharge. It’s important for kids to know and understand all of these things are normal and, potentially, when something isn’t and they should tell a trusted adult. Forget calling it a “no-no spot” and instead teach your child the proper body part names. And good news, the authors will soon have a long-awaited Penis Pop-Up for the same age group.
2. Own Your Period is a period guide book with friendly illustrations written by menstrual expert and educator Chella Quint. Inspired by her work as an educator and activist, she wrote a period guide that is reassuring, supportive, and of course – period positive. Expect a helpful guide to period questions such as “what do periods really feel like?” and a section on how to bust period myths. There is a lot to celebrate about periods and this book shines a positive light on that important milestone while also doling out the kind of advice your big sister or cool aunt would give. The book is aimed at children 9-11.
Period Books for Pre-Teens (Ages 10-12+)
Middle school is when many girls and pre-teens will get their first period. It’s a time of change, of awkwardness, of confusion, and excitement. Puberty is a heck of a TIME in case you’ve forgotten or blocked out that period in your life. There are a million questions and many can be better answered by a book for pre-teens written by sexual health professionals.
- We Need to Talk About Vaginas is a very frank and humorous look at puberty and periods written by the TikTok famous OB/GYN Dr. Allison K. Rodgers. This wonderfully illustrated and inclusive book covers everything and then some – pubic hair, the many shapes and sizes of the vulva, masturbation, and of course periods and period product options. The book is aimed towards pre-teens aged 10-14. It does include a frank discussion of FGM (female genital mutilation) for historical context.
Period Books for Teens and Beyond (Ages 12+)
Young teens and even adults benefit from going beyond the basics of sex-education. There is far more to periods than ovulation and bleeding. Understanding your full cycle, menstrual cycle phases (wth does Luteal phase mean?) and how to work with your body, period tracking, and when a heavy period is much more than just a heavy period, can improve your quality of life. What about signs of peri-menopause? What happens when we do say goodbye to our periods forever? These books dive deeper into your period, your hormones, and give guidance on what comes after.
- Red Moon Gang’s Inclusive Guide to Periods is a generation spanning book that is great for teens all the way into adulthood. Period educator Tara Costello covers the less talked about side of periods – PCOS, Endometriosis, period poverty, body dysmorphia, and more. You’ll also go beyond the basics into the science of your period – why do we bleed? Despite being aimed at older teens and adults the book is beautifully illustrated which makes it fun to read. Even books for adults can benefit from a bleeding rainbow wheel.
2. Period. is a fun and whimsical book written and illustrated by Natalie Byrne. The age range is listed as “children to adults” so younger kids can peruse the fun comic-like sections. Teens and adults will get much more from the written content that covers everything from menstrual phases, anatomy, vulva diversity, period poverty, and a deeper dive into period product options. The book is UK-centric when it comes to brands mentioned but the content is well researched, thorough, and of course the artwork is incredible because Natali Byrne is a fabulous period positive illustrator.
3. Be Period Positive is another book by menstrual educator and activist Chella Quint. Expect to learn more about period taboos and how to create a more period positive world, general period basics from the first periods through menopause, and everything in between. There is a lot to be positive about in the period space and this book is a reminder of that. The age range is best for teens through adults and there is something for everyone.
4. Menopause Manifesto is essential reading for anyone over 30 wondering what lies ahead in their journey as they transntion from a person with a period to a person without. Menopause is a growing topic of interest and with that comes the snake oil salesmen and push for various supplements and treatments that are often just a cash grab with unbacked medical claims. Dr. Jen Gunter has always had a knack for sniffing out exploitative BS and now she written the book on Menopause at a time when start-ups are eager to cash in on this booming market. Expect to learn what changes lie ahead – the famous hot flashes, libido and mood changes, and the why behind them. Just like we want our kids to know about periods, the time to learn about menopause is before it begins, not after. While this book is not written with inclusive language we wanted to include it because it’s such a great resource on this topic written by a trusted medical professional.
Period.Shop loves curating an inclusive period library and beyond but due to availability not all of these top picks can be purchased through Period Nirvana’s sister retail store. We have included Amazon affiliate links to make all of the books more accessible to people outside of the US or to the books we aren’t yet able to add to our shelves. There are so many fantastic books about periods out there but these are the best of the best!