Sweet Secrets: Stories of Menstruation

by Kathleen O’Grady and Paula Wansbrough.
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1997.
ISBN: 0-929005-33-3

Sweet Secrets: Stories of Menstruation

This book is available for immediate online purchase. You will receive a
discount price by following the link above to Amazon.com.

Adolescent Health/Parenting

Short stories and factual information about menstruation.

The ideal resource for

  • adolescent girls anticipating their first period
  • all young women who want to learn more about
    the changes that a woman’s body goes through during this
    time in her life.

In her diary, Anne Frank describes the coming of her period as a
“sweet secret,” a step toward womanhood she anticipates with wonder,
joy, confusion and fear. Girls today often experience this time of
their lives with the same mixture of emotions. Focusing on their
concerns and questions about menstruation, and supplemented by clearly
articulated health information, this unique collection of short stories
aims to reassure and enlighten.

Coming from different generations and cultures the characters in the
stories ask questions all girls ask — What’s going on with my body?; What does menstruation feel like? and How will my friends react?
Unlike the standard “just-the-facts” approach, this book of short
stories and factual information provides the reader with her very
own confidantes, others who share a common experience.

Sweet Secrets is particularly ideal for initiating discussions between
parents and their daughters about sexuality and growing up. Sweet
Secrets dispels the myths with current, up-to-date health information
about menstruation. A unique and reassuring collection, it empowers
young women to celebrate this rite of passage with informed confidence.


Sweet Secrets is an approachable, invigorating resource for young
women and an ideal health information tool. I particularly love how the
authors integrate ecological concerns throughout the book. How unique
to hear young women’s stories too!

— Debbie Honickman, MD

If you have female children this book is for you and for them.

— Sue Johanson, RN, Sex
Therapist, Television and Radio Host

This new anthology combines adult reminiscences and candid
adolescent reactions to menarche and menstruation with factual
explanations and multicultural and anthropological data. It
covers the emotional aspects of menstruation in addition to the
usual sex-and-hygiene-agenda of health class….This book builds
on ground broken by other pioneers….This work’s value lies in
its friendly combination of first-person anecdotes, interviews,
and stories….The impressive list of contributors includes doctors,
social workers, teen advocates, and feminist journalists, and of
course the teens who shared their own experiences.

— Mary Beaty, Quill & Quire

About the authors:

Kathleen O’Grady is currently completing her PhD at Cambridge University,
England. She has published several journal and book articles in the area
of philosophy, religious studies and feminist theory.

Paula Wansbrough is a youth and community worker in downtown Toronto.
She teaches sex education, computer and Internet skills and is the
former supervising editor of Venus: A Young Women’s Health Newsletter.
She has her MA in Religion and Cultural Studies from Wilfrid Laurier
University.  pkelly@yorku.ca