The Blurb On The Back:
There is one thing that still puzzles Samira … PERIODS!
She has heard people talking about them, but has no idea what they are. With the help of this book and her family, she learns all about that time of the month!
This friendly and reassuring book will answer first questions about what periods are, ease any worries and provide reassurance that periods are a healthy part of growing up.
THAT TIME OF THE MONTH: A GIRL’S GUIDE TO STARTING YOUR PERIOD was released in the United Kingdom on 10th February 2022. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.
You can order THAT TIME OF THE MONTH: A GIRL’S GUIDE TO STARTING YOUR PERIOD by Arianna Vettraino and Rosie Kessous from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK. I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Arianna Vettraino and Rosie Kessous’s picture book for children aged 7+ is aimed at girls who are curious about what periods are and what to expect when it happens. Samira is a relatable character and there’s some good basic information but the tone is uneven and veers towards being quite clinical (while also confusing the vulva and vagina). As such, it’s well intentioned but I’d look for other resources as well to give to girls to support it.
I think that books like this are very helpful. Girls can get their periods at a young age and books like this can give them an idea of what menstruation is and what to expect. Building this around a story about a young girl who’s heard people talk about their “time of the month” but is confused about what it means and what the products are that she sees in supermarkets is a good way of engaging young readers. Samira is an engaging character and I liked her curiosity and how she comes out and asks her mother about it.
However the balance between narrative and information is uneven. Parts of the book are quite clinical, which is not a bad thing at all but it sits uneasily with the framing. Also, which I didn’t have an issue with the more biological parts of the book, Vettraino doesn’t get the tone right between using chatty language and technical terms (e.g. the vulva is labelled as the vagina in the same drawing as the uretha opening is called the wee hole whereas the anus is also called a poo hole). There’s also a big focus on sanitary towels as products, with tampons only really mentioned at the end and no mention of moon cups or period pants.
That said, the questions and answers section at the end has some good information in it (including identifying the issue of period poverty) and I liked the action and different body shapes (including representation of people of colour and disability) in Kessous’s illustrations. As such I think it’s a good starting point for talking about periods with girls, but I would also suggest looking for other resources as well to give girls a broader picture.