Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 Review
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In the past, the vast majority of bedtime stories for girls involved princesses waiting to be rescued by a handsome prince. While there are more options today with strong, independent female characters, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. So in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2, authors Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo seek to inspire young female readers with stories about real female heroes.

The stories are short and simple: 100 single-page stories about inspiring female characters—each paired with a colorful illustrated portrait. The characters range from scientists to musicians and from politicians to revolutionaries, with several other unconventional (yet equally fascinating) subjects, added in. There are figures from pop culture, like J. K. Rowling and Madonna. There are world leaders, like Angela Merkel and Queen Nefertiti. There are artists and activists, too. These inspiring women are young and old, current and historical. And they all have a story to tell about doing what you love and taking a stand for what’s important.

You don’t have to be a little girl to appreciate these stories about strong women through history. Girls (and boys, too) of all ages will find these brief biographies interesting and inspiring—and sometimes surprising, too. They’re the kind of stories that grown-up readers will devour—one after another after another. And when you’re reading with kids, each one will lead to some meaningful questions and discussions.

Each story here is set up to read like a super-short fairy tale—often opening with “Once upon a time.” But not every story fits within the format, and it sometimes feels a little bit forced. Not all of the stories have a clear beginning, middle, and and—and many of them struggle to find a smooth conclusion.

Meanwhile, although the stories may be set up like bedtime stories for young readers, that’s not always the case. I highly recommend reading ahead to pick and choose the best bedtime stories. Because while some may result in happy dreams about changing the world, others will leave children with images of murdered families and Nazi firing squads. It took just one lengthy bedtime discussion about Nazis with a frightened five-year-old for me to learn my lesson.

The stories in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 aren’t all perfect, but this collection is filled with both art and inspiration. While you’ll definitely want to take the time to select the best stories for your own Rebel Girl (and maybe stick to reading the ones about Nazis in the middle of the afternoon), the stories will encourage girls to pursue their goals and make a difference in the world.

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