BOOK REVIEW: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 1 & 2

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Author: Gauri Kshirsagar

“It is important that girls understand the obstacles that lie in front of them. It is just as important that they know these obstacles are not insurmountable. That not only can they find a way to overcome them, but that they can remove those obstacles for those who will come after them.”

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (1 & 2) are children’s book packed with 100 bedtime stories each about the life of 100 extraordinary, revolutionary, smart, strong, powerful, charismatic, talented and fearless women and girls throughout history, illustrated by 60 female artists from all over the world. Pirate Queens and Marine Biologists, Painters and Drummers, Ballerinas and Spies. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don’t need rescuing.

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The first book was gifted to my twins when they were around 4 years, by one of my very close friend, who herself is a very smart and remarkable woman, which makes the book even more valuable.  Both are hardback books with beautiful front cover which makes you just want to read it.

The first volume of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was written by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, and it was published in 2016. The first and second volumes of Goodnight Stories were crowdfunded on Kickstarter, both breaking records on the website. The first volume was Kickstarter’s “most funded children’s book”. The second volume was their “fastest-funded publishing project” ever. Good Night Stories has sold over one million copies, and has been translated into more than 47 languages. The book series inspired a similar book series aimed at a male audience: Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different by Ben Brooks (author), and Illustrated by Quinton Winter.

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Pros:

  1. Rather than ‘reinvents fairy tales’, this book tells true stories about inspiring and extraordinary women from all over the world, written in a special way so you can read every chapter as a bedtime story to your child.
  2. Each remarkable story is only one page long and written in simple, easy to follow language, in the style of a fairy tale. Many begin with ‘Once upon a time’ and tell a story about a girl, who had dream and refused to give up.
  3. Each story is accompanied by a full page portrait of the subject of the story. The portraits were painted by 60 talented female artists from all over the world and are just incredible. Each is different, yet captures the essence of its subject in a way that fits perfectly with the style of the book.
  4. Facing each page is a quote from the featured person
  5. There is also a spread at the back invites readers to “Write Your Own Story” and “Draw Your Own Portrait.”

Cons:

First of all, some of the women featured here are not actually fit to be role models, and therefore to be in this book, especially one that is dedicated to young girls. Some of them are quite controversial and presented in such a biased, ridiculously cheerful, and positive way, that they end up sending a misguided message to girls wondering what it takes to be a rebellious spirit. For example, the inclusion of Aung San Suu Kyi in the book has received criticism for her failure to condemn the ongoing Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. Favilli and Cavallo have commented that they are considering (but have not committed to) removing her from future printings of the book.

Details:

Title: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

  • Author: Elena Favilli and Francesco Cavallo
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House, $35
  • Publication Date: 1 January 2016
  • Format: Hard Cover
  • ISBN: 9780141986005
  • Publisher’s recommended age(s): 5+
  • Number of pages: 212
  • The book is available on Amazon India for around  ₹720.

Title: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2

  • Authors: Francesca Cavallo, Elena Favilli
  • Publisher: Timbuktu Labs, Inc.
  • Publication date: November 20, 2017
  • Format: Hard Cover
  • Publisher’s recommended age(s):5+
  • Number of pages: 212
  • The book is available on Amazon India for around  ₹595.

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