I chose to borrow Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women from the library and read it during the BookTubeathon in July. Its blurb, as well as the librarian whom I spoke to about it, made it sound both inspiring and quirky, and it has also been highly recommended on a couple of blogs and channels which I love. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is the ‘most funded original book in the history of crowdfunding’, which was certainly another reason to pick it up, to see whether the hype was justified.
Its authors, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, have collected short biographies of one hundred women, both famous and relatively forgotten, in order to prove ‘the world-changing power of a trusting heart’. They have used a lot of different illustrators to provide accompanying portraits of each woman, and have arranged the entries in alphabetical order according to their first name. The inclusions which Favilli and Cavallo have chosen range from mathematician Ada Lovelace and Russian ruler Catherine the Great, to the Bronte sisters, and a host of young activists trying to change the world around them for the better. There are supermodels, cyclists, scientists, a deaf motocross racer, authors, illustrators, and world leaders; in short, a great cross-section of inspiring women from all walks of life can be found within the pages of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
Far-reaching and thoughtful, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is an inspiring book, which has been beautifully laid out and put together. Alongside each biography, which begins in the whimsical manner of ‘Once upon a time…’, biographical dates and pioneering and important things have been included about each entrant, as well as a quote. Many of the women here have battled great adversity, but all have triumphed.
A lot of the women here are quite obvious inclusions – Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie, for instance – but others are less so. There are some glaring omissions – no Anne Frank graces its pages, for instance – but of course there have been swathes of incredible women around the world who could have been included, and I understand what a tough job it must have been for Favilli and Cavallo to narrow down their choices to just one hundred.
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is, without doubt, a wonderful tome, and is sure to delight and empower girls – and women – around the world. The only inclusion which I found myself questioning from an ‘inspiring’ perspective is Margaret Thatcher; she would not have even made my longlist. Regardless, there are women here whom every girl can relate to, and a second volume following similar guidelines would, I am sure, be welcomed with open hearts.