When you were younger, you might've had an awkward talk with your parents (at worst) or an educational book (at best) to learn about periods. What you probably didn't have was a coloring book. But thanks to The Adventures of Toni the Tampon: A Period Coloring Book, kids now have a fun, colorful way to learn about the menstrual cycle.
The book, which you can order on Amazon, features a tampon, a menstrual cup, a pad, and other menstruation-savvy characters embarking on various quests that anyone can color in, including scuba diving and flying through outer space. The protagonist Toni is intentionally gender-neutral to acknowledge that people of all genders can have periods, creator Cass Clemmer tells Bustle over Twitter direct message. To make the same point, the menstrual sponge Sebastian is male. As a queer person who menstruates and doesn't use gender pronouns, Clemmer wanted to make information about menstruation accessible to people who are often left out of the discussion.
The book can be used as a fun way to introduce young people to periods, and it can also be a way for people of all ages to embrace the menstrual cycle as a natural part of everyday life, says Clemmer. Considering that many girls miss school simply because they're on their periods, making them more socially acceptable to talk about is very necessary. Even when people are comfortable talking about periods, Clemmer hopes the book could help teach them about menstrual products they weren't previously aware of.
"As a kid, I wish that I had been given the opportunity to learn about my body and my health in a way that was engaging and fun instead of the dry, black and white brochures I was given at the start of my first cycle," said Clemmer. "If we want to expand sexual and reproductive health education to kids, we need to think about how to do it in a way that will engage them and empower them to seek out knowledge in their own ways."
In fact, Clemmer's own niece has already used the book. "I loved that while she sat there smiling, using her favorite purple crayon to fill in Patrice the Pad, it was really easy to have a basic conversation about what she should start to expect when she is older and gets her first period," they said. "She ran around the house proudly showing all of us her colored pages, and my heart filled up with joy to hear a young kid excited to talk about periods in a way that I had never dreamed of."