Not gonna lie, going through puberty can feel like one of the most terrifying things as a kid. Back then, all the changes that my body went through felt confusing and it was also difficult to talk about—especially my period. My friends and I would secretly pass sanitary napkins to each other when we needed them even though we really had nothing to worry about. Luckily, this local author is taking a step towards normalizing talking about menstruation to young girls.
On Aug. 11, pediatrician and Carlos Palanca award-winning author Luis P. Gatmaitan announced that his next children’s book “Unang Dalaw” will be about young girls getting their periods for the first time.
“Unang Dalaw (First Period) tells the story of Tricia’s first encounter with the ‘monthly visitor.’ She received so many advices, mostly shocking if not absurd, from older women in the family. Her two BFFs, Bianca and Sofia, are also about to have their menstrual debut as well. Is bathing really prohibited when one is menstruating as it allegedly causes one to get crazy? Can one eat sour fruits while having a period? Find out in this ‘juvenile fiction’ book published by OMF-Hiyas, with funny illustrations from graphic artist Hulyen,” he wrote.
“Recommended for ages 9 and up (and for pubertal boys, too, so they will learn to understand and appreciate God’s design for the female human body),” he added.
Not only will this book have a Q and A portion with Gatmaitan answering important questions about menstrual health, but it’ll have Hulyen’s creative illustrations to help kids understand that it’s completely okay to talk about your period.
“I found the topic of the book similar to the comics I have made. Yung time na early teens yung isa sa mga subject na favorite ko gawan ng comics. Yun kasi yung time na madaming awkward at embarrassing moments. Ang daming makukuhang funny experiences sa time na yun kaya lagi ko binabalikan yung teen self ko for comics material. Isa siguro sa main source of anxiety ko nung time na yun yung pagiging conscious lang masyado kung may tagos ba sa palda haha,” Hulyen told us in a Twitter DM exchange.
“So sobrang perfect nung nabasa ko yung sinulat ni Tito Dok sa Unang Dalaw. I felt I can illustrate yung characters niya at yung journey nila learning about menstruation and the female reproductive system. It’s important for girls to learn about their own bodies and not to be afraid to ask about topics that are usually nahihiya yung mga tao to talk about,” she added.
Moreover, this isn’t the first time that Gatmaitan has written a children’s book about puberty. Last year, he released “Tuli o Di-Tuli,” a children’s book about circumcision featuring illustrations by Manix Abrera a.k.a. kikomachine.
Puberty is a normal part of growing up and it shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of. Plus, it’s high time that we encourage children to ask questions about their bodies so that they could make good and healthy decisions in the future.
While we still don’t know when “Unang Dalaw” hits the bookstands, it’s already first on my list of gift ideas for my nieces and nephews.
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