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The Children's Bookshelf: Suggested for Women's History Month - Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World written by Elena Favilli and illustrated by a host of dazzling illustrators puts forth women who have immigrated from their homeland. They include a planetary geologist, graphic novelist, sculptor, architect, physicist, hockey coach, animator, hematologist, robotics engineer---- and the list goes on!

Each of the stories, one page in length, employ both facts and literary charm. Many of the stories begin with the words: “Once upon a time.” Every double page spread has the rebel girl’s story and her place and date of birth on one side and on the other side an artist’s rendering of her as well as an important quote from her. The quotation from pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris, born in Jamaica, reads: “I’d rather fail trying to do something good in this world than succeed at doing nothing.”

Madeline Albright, politician, came from the Czech Republic, Asma Khan, chef, came from India, Ilhan Omar, politician, came from Somalia, Olga Korbut, gymnast, came from Belarus and Rihanna, singer and entrepreneur, came from Barbados.

The illustrations are outstanding including the portrait of playwright Young Jean Lee born in South Korea and chef Daniela Soto-Innes born in Mexico---- the colors, patterns, eye gaze, and facial expressions are powerful. The back material includes a charming two-pages where the reader is invited to Write Your Own Story and to Draw Your Portrait.

GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World written by Elena Favilli and illustrated by 70 terrific artists will speak to readers 8 years of age and up (UNKNO/ Timbuktu Labs/ Rebel Girls, 2020).

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the activity questions, ideal for home use, can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.   

Activity Questions for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World

The author has arranged the stories alphabetically according to the first letter in the first name of each girl rather than according to the first letter in the last name of each girl. Why do you think she did this?

The illustrations in this book are very engaging. Which portraits do you specially like? Why? Look back thought the portraits and study such elements as colors and patterns selected, details and props included, head gear worn, and facial expressions used. Don’t miss the eyes and the gaze. How do the props relate to the career of each rebel girl?

If an artist were to paint your portrait what would you wear and where would you want the setting or background to be? What props would you give to the illustrator to incorporate in the portrait to project your possible career as you see it at this time? Now, you be the illustrator and draw your portrait on the page provided in this book.

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.