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Great Reads for Girls and Women That Talk Periods

When I was younger, my mother gave me a few books that explained the female body and menstruation in order to help me better understand my body. I am forever grateful for those books. I was able to learn from the women in these books that everything our bodies do is normal, and makes us who we are. I was taught from these books to embrace my period, embrace my body, and not let the world treat me any different just for being a female.

I truly believe that all young girls and women should read a book or two like this in their lifetime. Below is a list of my five personal favorites:

1) Don't Cramp My Style: Stories About “That” Time of the Month by Lisa Fraustino ($15)
– This book is by women, for women. This book features a collection of stories by numerous women who share their personal period stories.

2) The Care and Keeping of You by The American Girl Company ($13)
– This was the first book in my collection. I find it to be the perfect book to give to young girls who have just gotten their first period. It goes over hygiene, pad and tampon placement, moods, etc… it is truly a best friend when you’re a young girl entering womanhood.

3) The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation by Karen Houppert ($19)
– This book talks about the stigma that periods have in our society, and really breaks it all down. This book is a must read. I recommend that both men and women give this book a try.

4) Honoring Menstruation: A Time of Self-Renewal by Lara Owen ($3)
– Lara Owen talks about how that time of the month is a positive and natural experience. She goes on to say that our periods are a time to explore the spirituality within ourselves, and the women around us.

5) The Care and Keeping of You 2 by The American Girl Company ($10)
– The second edition of this book focuses on older girls, typically early high school. It takes all the great things that the original book taught, but adds a focus on what it means to be a young women entering adulthood.

Education makes women powerful, read on!

…Looking for more great reads? See what DfG Founder, Celeste, recommends:

Celeste’s Days for Girls Summer Reading List
(Winter Reading for our Aussie and Kiwi friends)

Are we there yet? Vacation season is in full swing! Here’s hoping that there is some fun and downtime awaits you soon. Most Days for Girls heroes take little time for themselves. Yes, we’ve noticed. Your turn! You’ve earned it. Go play. And if your summer reading list is not yet complete, may I suggest a few of my favorites? Many of these books have great examples of some of the reasons that Days for Girls has an ethos of honoring the wisdom of those we serve and recognizing the gifts of embracing cultural differences.

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World
by Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz
-This inspiring story exemplifies the journey of a woman who learned first hand how striving to understand poverty and honoring culture is the basis for long term successes in development. Journey with her as she goes from a career in international banking to doing a tremendous amount of good, eventually founding Acumen. In many ways her process and discoveries are remarkably similar to ours with Days for Girls. As interesting as it is compelling.

However Long the Night by Aimee Molloy
-Molly Melching’s journey to reach millions of African Women and Girls and help them triumph. This is Molly’s story and the powerful results that came from partnering with communities. This book is filled with her experiences along the way and highlights what she learned that resulted in the important work of the Tolstan in Senegal and beyond. I’m betting that by the time you finish reading it you, like me, will want to meet her in person. Follow her journey in these inspiring pages.

The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist
-If you ever get a chance to meet Lynne Twist, make it happen. She is the kind of woman that makes a difference just by entering a room. Co-founder of Pachimama Alliance and a key pioneer with The Hunger Project, her vast experience of effective development around the world shines through as she shares her lessons learned in this interesting and inspiring book. The resulting wisdom for how resources can be directed to lift us all is useful to anyone in day to day living, in many practical ways. Honest. It took me awhile to get to this book because the title seemed so, well, soulless. But trust me. Wow.

Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
-Wangari Maathai won the Nobel Peace prize for her work with the Greenbelt movement. This is the story of her life in Kenya and how she took on ending the decimation of her nations’ indigenous forests and resulting desertification, a dangerous undertaking as, at the time, the issue was rooted in corruption. Her process: Stand up. Simple action. Invite others to be empowered to respond with simple and direct local leadership. Repeat. Sound familiar? Thank you Wangari, for your courage and the example you left with us.

Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart
-This ground breaking book about sustainable processes may not seem like it has much to do with international development, but it has a lot to do with the process of effectiveness, and that is at the roots of Days for Girls ethos. The examples are fresh and intriguing, if you love smart impact. And if you are with Days for Girls, you do! It is filled with examples of how we can create systems that consider multiple layers of positive impact, not just singular product and profit benefit that go from manufacturing to the “grave” of disposal. To me this is an interesting page turner, filled with examples that made me want to cheer. Hoping you love it as much as I do.

Sex and World Peace by Valarie M. Hudson
-Okay, I admit it, this is quite academic, but it is documented data that lifting women creates greater stability for our entire world. And well, that’s what we do. I loved the pages of proof found here. Special shout out to WomenStats.

Other favorites you might consider: Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Methods Fail by Paul Polak, and The End of Poverty, Economic Possibilities in Our Time by Jeffrey Sachs.

…and the next time you see me, please feel free to nag me a bit about writing the story of Days for Girls. Yours is a story worth capturing. Soon! Happy reading!

Days for Girls
Days for Girls is an award-winning global NGO bringing menstrual health, dignity and opportunity to 3+ million girls (and counting!) worldwide.