Book Review: A book that talks about the cultural ways to celebrate a first period.
Cycling to Grandma's House by Jac Torres-Gomez is a lovely story that shares the ways that different cultures celebrate a girl's first period.
It is a fantastic resource that mothers can use with their daughters, to start a conversation about menarche and how they would like to celebrate it.
Cycling to Grandma's House by Jac Torres-Gomez is ideal for children between the ages of 8 – 12 years of age.
You can find more books like this in my extensive list of Sex Education Books for Children.
Today we are looking at a book called Cycling to Grandma's House by an Australian woman called Jac Torres-Gomez and illustrated by Erin-Claire Barrow.
When Torres-Gomez first wrote this book, she was interested in writing about how having your first period is not a negative experience. After all, there is a lot of negativity surrounding puberty, periods, and all that sort of stuff.
I know when I search up images of puberty, I see all these photos with negative connotations. There are children with big pimples, unhappy expressions, and all that sort of stuff. There is a lot of negativity out there.
In this book, having your first period is written to be a special occasion. There are chapters with illustrations throughout each page. In case you are thinking about getting this book, I will tell you what happens in it.
At the start, a girl called Luna is riding her bike. She has a dilemma, so she has decided to talk to someone about it.
As she is riding through the community, we can see lots of different cultured people in the background. There are people with different colored skin, and even a Muslim girl wearing her hijab.
The book continues to explain that Luna’s dilemma is that her teacher gave her homework. The homework was to find out the most incredible characteristics of being a girl and being a boy then present it on Monday. But Luna cannot figure out what to write about. What was so special about girls?
First, Luna decides to go home and ask her mother what was so special abut girls. So, her mother says,
‘Why don’t you cycle all over town and speak to lots of different women about something very special?’
That very special thing, her mother reveals, is having your first period. Luna then decides to find out how people from all different cultures celebrate having their first period.
First, she rides her bike to her Japanese friend’s house to find out how they celebrate. Then to a Papua New Guinean friend’s, then a Ghanaian’s, Indigenous Australian’s, Indian’s, English’s, and finally her Grandma’s house.
As her Grandma is Mexican, she talks to Luna about what happens in their family and how they celebrate having their first period.
After all of this, Luna goes home and thinks about what she found out. She finishes her project and talks about it at school. As she does this, all the students ask questions which is something I love.
‘Why do people want to keep it a secret?’
‘Does my dad know about this?’
‘Will I feel different?’ All these questions allow you, as a parent, to answer them for your child.
At the end of the book, it then asks the reader how they plan on celebrating their first period or menarche. Then, after that, there is a little bit of information before the book ends.
Personally, I love this book. It a lovely way to introduce the fact that cultures celebrate this big event in different ways.
When I threw this at my eleven-year-old daughter and asked her what she thought of it, she said she liked it. But then she asked what we were going to do to celebrate her first period.
I panicked since I hadn’t even thought about doing anything for hers yet. So, we talked about it and she decided she wants me, herself, and the dog (Since she’s a girl) to go out somewhere special for dinner. With none of the boys coming along, of course. We will have to see if she changes her mind by the time she has her first period.
But I like Cycling to Grandma’s House, it is a good book. I hope this review helps. Cheers.
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
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You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!
If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body.
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If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
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I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.