Period.: The Quick Guide to Every Uterus

Mayo Clinic Pr. Aug. 2023. 48p. lib. ed. $31.99. ISBN 9798887700090.
Gr 5 Up–This primer on all things period is as delightful as it is informative. Presented in comics format, this accessible and inclusive volume strikes the right balance between snark and earnestness to make it just right for a middle school audience. The wealth of facts is presented in a question-and-answer format among friends, with each character providing a varied degree of knowledge on the subject. The diverse cast of tweens—three who present as people of color and two who present as white—discuss topics like what products to use, symptoms, and how to put together a “period pack” of supplies. Every chapter reiterates that periods are nothing to be ashamed of and that everyone experiences them differently. The bright and cheerful palette adds to the sense of camaraderie and openness between the readers and the narrators. Discussions of PCOS and endometriosis are executed well, and the advice to consult a medical professional or trusted adult is helpfully sprinkled throughout. The characters don’t hesitate to gently check their friends if they start stigmatizing periods. How to stop a menstrual cycle and the reasons for doing so are also covered, and one of the narrators, who is gender nonconforming, presents gender distress as one of the motives. With uterus in the title, this welcoming work places the emphasis on anatomy instead of gender.
VERDICT A nonjudgmental, conversational guide to menstrual cycles that is essential for all collections serving middle schoolers.

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