Menstruation is unusual in a book, we don’t read about it in history classes, we ignore it in books – come on what would happen to Bella Swan and Edward Cullen of the Twilight series when she was on her period?
But in the last couple of years there have been more and more books that feature menstruation as a part of the story.
So here are some of the books to take a look at:
Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold. A take on the Little Red Riding Hood story but with menstruation comes the ability to hunt wolves. This feminist take on the story features a powerful female lead embracing her biological part of her.
Are you there God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. An iconic book about growing up and will soon be a movie coming out this year. This is the ultimate coming of age book where Margaret and her friends form a secret club to talk about periods, bras, and boys. Beloved by women and menstruators everywhere, it’s a must read.
Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew. During astronomy-lover Frankie’s first sexual experience with the quiet and lovely Benjamin, she gets her period. It’s only blood, they agree. No shame. But soon a graphic meme goes viral, turning their fun, intimate afternoon into something disgusting, mortifying and damaging. As the online shaming takes on a horrifying life of its own, Frankie begins to wonder: is her real life over? A book that every young person should read.
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Author Anita Diamant, in the voice of Dinah, gives an insider’s look at the details of women’s lives in biblical times and a chronicle of their earthy stories and long-ignored histories. The red tent of the title is the place where women were sequestered during their cycles of birthing, menses, and illness. She reimagines the perspective female life in biblical society.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Celie has grown up poor in rural Georgia, despised by the society around her and abused by her own family. She strives to protect her sister, Nettie, from a similar fate, and while Nettie escapes to a new life as a missionary in Africa, Celie is left behind without her best friend and confidante, married off to an older suitor, and sentenced to a life alone with a harsh and brutal husband. In an attempt to transcend a life that often seems too much to bear, Celie begins writing letters directly to God. The letters, spanning 20 years, record a journey of self-discovery and empowerment guided by the light of a few strong women.
Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. In a time when girls are forbidden to be warriors, Alanna of Trebond wants nothing more than to be a knight of the realm of Tortall. So she finds a way to switch places with her twin brother, Thom. Disguised as a boy, Alanna begins her training as a page at the palace of King Roald. But the road to knighthood, as she discovers, is not an easy one. Alanna must master weapons, combat, and magic, as well as polite behavior, her temper, and even her own heart. It’s also about growing up and even features this heroine with her period.
Lobizona by Romina Garber. Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida. Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered. Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, and growing up as a young woman.
Little Miss P by Ken Koyama. It’s that time of month, and you know what that means…a visit from Little Miss P! She always seems to show up at just the wrong time, generally armed with a heavy dose of fatigue and poised to deliver a barrage of beatings that leave her hosts physically and mentally exhausted. Though Little Miss P is often met with dread and resignation, the realities of a woman’s period are widely misunderstood-especially by those who haven’t been subjected to her gut punches on a monthly basis. Join Little Miss P-along with Mr. Libido, Mr. Virginity, and Little Miss PMS-as she visits women in a variety of circumstances, advising, harassing, comforting, and delivering more than one obligatory PERIOD PUNCH in this humorous, heartwarming collection!
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the twentieth century in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and history that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages. And what happens if you get your period in the past?
Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the Seven Kingdoms where selected people are born with a Grace, a special talent that can be anything at all. Katsa’s Grace is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his brutal enforcer. Until the day she meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, and Katsa’s life begins to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
The Moon Within by Aida Salazar. Called the successor of Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? Celi Rivera’s life swirls with questions. About her changing body. Her first attraction to a boy. And her best friend’s exploration of what it means to be genderfluid. But most of all, her mother’s insistence she have a moon ceremony when her first period arrives. It’s an ancestral Mexica ritual that Mima and her community have reclaimed, but Celi promises she will NOT be participating. Can she find the power within herself to take a stand for who she wants to be?