"Period Power": 11 YA and Middle Grade Titles That Destigmatize Menstruation

These fiction and nonfiction titles take on the embarrassment and discomfort associated with menstruation—while urging readers to take pride in their bodies and combat the stigma related to periods.

We’ve come a long way since the days of Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—and these titles devoted to menstruation prove it. These protagonists grapple with embarrassment about their periods, but they also turn activist to combat stigma around menstruation. Plus, our nonfiction titles offer valuable feminist perspectives on menstruation and encourage readers to take pride in their period.




Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. ISBN 9780062742353.
Gr 10 Up–Bisou finds herself running through the woods with a bloodthirsty wolf at her heels. The struggle that ensues ends with Bisou walking away victorious and full of questions; soon she realizes that with menstruation comes the ability to hunt wolves. Arnold has crafted an electrifying take on the "Little Red Riding Hood" story.

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew. Candlewick/Walker. ISBN 9781536215038.
Gr 9 Up–Best friends Harriet and Frankie have a falling out—and life gets worse when Frankie gets her period during an intimate moment with Benjamin, her maybe-boyfriend. Rumors fly and she receives harassing messages, but she comes up with a way to reclaim her power, in this excellent examination of young women’s friendships and desires set against a misogynic society.

The Places We Sleep by Caroline DuBois. Holiday House. ISBN 9780823444212.
Gr 5-8–When Abbey wakes up on September 11, she doesn’t expect to get her period. And she really doesn’t expect a terrorist attack to rock the country. This dynamic tale provides a gutsy glimpse of one girl’s experience on the cusp of womanhood, trauma and loss, and the sustaining power of bravery and friendship.

Lobizona by Romina Garber. St. Martin’s/Wednesday. ISBN 9781250239129.
Gr 7 Up–Manuela and her mother are undocumented immigrants, doing their best to stay under the radar of authorities. Once a month, the teen’s mother keeps her sedated during her menstrual cycle—as Manu learns, she’s part werewolf. She soon learns to embrace the werewolf (or lobizona) part of herself. Relatable and timely.

Revenge of the Red Club by Kim Harrington. S. & S./Aladdin. ISBN 9781534435728.
Gr 4-8–The Red Club is a safe space for girls at Riley Dunne’s middle school who have gotten their first period, a place to ask embarrassing questions without judgment. When a parent complains, Riley and her friends hatch a plan to save the club. This middle school feminist manifesto will empower readers to effect change, one voice, article, or tampon at a time.

Little Miss P by Ken Koyama. illus. by author. Yen. ISBN 9781975357085.
Gr 10 Up–In this quirky manga, pink, heart-shaped Miss P visits people from all walks of life once a month, bringing with her cramps, exhaustion, and mood swings. Koyama’s campy collection of stories attempts to destigmatize menstruation through humor; while some readers may be put off by the bizarre tone, those with a taste for the subversive will appreciate this eclectic volume.

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar. Scholastic. ISBN 9781338283372.
RedReviewStarGr 4-8–Celi Rivera is mortified about her impending period, but her mother is eager to throw her a moon ceremony to honor their ancestral Mexica traditions. This rich novel in verse explores the experiences of both Celi and her friend Marco, offering a unique perspective on gender fluidity, the bonds of unbreakable friendship, and the shifts introduced by puberty.

Go with the Flow by Lily Williams & Karen Schneemann. illus. by Lily Williams. First Second. ISBN 9781250305725.
Gr 4-8–Four teens take a stand to make tampons and pads freely available at their school. Williams and Schneemann have work to eliminate the stigma around periods and weave in information on historical attitudes toward menstruation. Back matter offers further resources, tips on getting involved with period activism, and a brief primer on period normalcy and pain.




Period: Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth edited by Kate Farrell. Feiwel & Friends. ISBN 9781250141941. 
Gr 9 Up–Twelve funny, frank, feminist, essays help to remove the squeamishness and stigma around menstruation. Kiran Gandhi describes running the London Marathon while free bleeding (menstruating without using pads, tampons, or other products); Ingrid Nilsen considers what her period has taught her about her body and life.

I've Got My Period. So What? by Clara Henry. tr. from Swedish by Gun Penhoat. Sky Pony. ISBN 9781510714229.
Gr 7 Up–Swedish blogger and YouTube star Henry has produced not just a guide for what to expect while menstruating but a candid feminist manifesto encouraging period pride. Henry urges readers to openly carry tampons and pads and discusses how to deal with embarrassing situations. Informal, down-to-earth, and intriguing.

Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement by Nadya Okamoto. S. & S. ISBN 9781534430204.
RedReviewStarGr 7 Up–The founder of health and education organization PERIOD weaves the story of how brands, governments, and media companies shape the cultural conversation surrounding menstruation—and informs readers how they can destigmatize periods.

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