“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style.” – Maya Angelou, writer
Hardback and colourful, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a highly attractive book for the kiddies, young girls, and adults alike. From Ada Lovelace to the Bronte sisters; from the pharaoh like Cleopatra to the chef like Julia Child; this amazing book tells the 100 tales of extraordinary women.
Where the book presents each tale with an amusing illustration (by sixty female artists), it also highlights the charismatic qualities of head and heart of those exquisite women who have not only changed their own world but also the world of people around them. Be it, Margret Thatcher aka The Iron Lady, who tried for the British Parliament twice but couldn’t make it and the third time, was not even considered. But when she was elected as the first female prime minister in the British history she was highly admired for her strength and determination. Or Mary Anning, the self-taught scientist (palaeontologists) who discovered the dinosaur fossil. Or Alfonsia Strada, who was barred from competing in Giro d’Italia, one of the toughest races in the world, but she did not lose her heart. She raced all the same and set a speed record that stood for twenty-six years. If she were still alive she would have been happy to know that things have changed a lot since then.
All these heroic women from Elizabeth I to Serena Williams, from a small town of Somalia to the Congress of United States of America, have somehow broken the chains of norms and freed themselves from the rusty shackles of stereotypes. Although every anecdote is beautiful and enthralling but there are some that have brought a greater change in the world and have caused easiness, comfort, and alleviation in people’s life mentioned below:
A young girl couldn’t study when it got dark because her house had no electricity. She was passionate about the transistors. She thought, she experimented and she invented- Hollow Flashlight! She presented her gadget to the Google Science Fair and won the first prize for inventing the first flashlight that doesn’t need batteries, wind or sun; just body heat.
Now, this is not only exciting but quite motivating.
Born in Poland, Marie Curie was a student of Floating University (a secret school). At that time girls were not allowed to study in colleges. Therefore, when Curie came to know about Sorbonne University which accepted girls; she moved to France. She was very fascinated by metals and magnets. She also found out that some minerals emit rays and glow in the dark. She started working on these magnificent materials of Mother Nature and discovered two new radioactive elements: Polonium and Radium.
You know what makes Marie Curie a superwoman!
Marie Curie has won two Nobel Prizes for her work. She could have made a lot of money but she did the contrary. She made her research available to everyone…for FREE!
A Nobel Prize for a noble soul.
She knew she cannot apply the run-of-the-mill teaching methods on the disabled children. She observed the children, how they learn; created a new teaching method, and opened her own school for all children- Children’s House.
The furniture was small and light, and the shelves were low. She also developed special activity-oriented toys which encouraged children to become practical and independent, like buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt, tying a shoelace, eating and drinking without spilling etc.
Today, the Montessori Method is being followed in thousands of schools around the world making all the children strong and independent.
Isn’t it inspiring?
She was born at a time when people were divided in black and white, in Montgomery, Alabama. There were separate schools, churches, and stores for black and white. Black people were not even allowed to drink the water from the same fountain or sit beside the white people.
One day, Rosa, forty-two, was asked by the bus driver to leave her seat for a white man. Frustrated and completely dismayed by the segregation laws, Rosa said, No! Consequently, she had to spend the night in jail, but her daring act encouraged black people and they realized that they should also say no to social injustice. In support of her, the Black declared a boycott of travelling in buses. Finally, after 381 days the bus segregation law was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. It took ten more years for segregation to be wiped out in the other states.
One courageous woman and one cause: equality. She removed stones from the path so that the coming generation don’t have to stumble over them and go through all the humiliation which she tolerated.
…and the story to which I personally relate to:
When I first watched Brave, I didn’t know the story behind the story of Merida. Reading about Brenda Chapman enabled me to see the whole movie from a different angle. As a child, Chapman loved to draw. When she was fifteen, she called Walt Disney Studios for a job. They asked her to get in touch when older and trained. She did the same and created a character of Princess Merida. Oh! Did I mention that Chapman has curly red hair! She won Oscar and Golden Globe for her film.
And now, some of my favourite quotes from the book:
“No matter what the challenges are, never walk away from your dream. The more you persist, the closer you are going to get to your goals. When things get tough, just get tougher.” – Amna Al Hadid, Weightlifter
“Some people think that luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not it’s the opposite of vulgarity.” – Coco Chanel, Fashion Designer
“I was brought up to believe that if a person was drowning, they must be rescued, regardless of their religion or nationality.” – Irena Sendlerowa, War Hero
Highly motivational and unputdownable this book brings a lot of strength and self-confidence to the reader. If these girls can, I can!
Some of the other noteworthy rebel girls covered in this book are:
Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (President and Scientist)
Amelia Earhart (Aviator)
Florence Nightingale (Nurse)
Frida Kahlo (Painter)
Hellen Keller (Activist)
Jane Austen (Writer)
Lella Lombardi (Formula One Racer)
Mary Kom (Boxer)
Nina Simone (Singer)
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Supreme Court Justice)
Virginia Woolf (Writer)
Yusra Mardini (Swimmer)
This book teaches the girls that whatever the hurdles and obstacles they find in their way are not insurmountable. They can make their dreams come true. They can achieve whatever they long for; whether it is as tricky as mountain climbing or as complicated as getting signatures on the petition allowing women to vote, being an astronomer, a deaf motocross racer or a blind ballerina. They can change the world. And can pave the way for those who are coming after them. They can overcome all the difficulties of life by having confidence in them. They just need to dream bigger, aim higher and fight harder.
“To every little girl who dreams big, I say: yes, you can be anything you want – even president.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton
This book also highlights the fact that the success of these great women lies in their passion. I am sure that each reader will find a ray of hope, a degree of motivation and a dash of enthusiasm by these life changing stories. I did, hopefully, all the other girls out there will also.
If you are a parent do buy it for your school going daughter. If you are a girl buy it for yourself and share it with your friends.
It is highly recommended and a must have book.