Saturday, April 07, 2018

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

It's barely dawn and the blackbird is singing! it's the first time I've heard him this year. And yesterday when we came home from Bakewell with fish and chips for tea, it was the first evening I haven't rushed from the car to the front door to get in from the cold. Hallelujah! Is it really the Spring (whisper it) after so many months of winter?

And there's more good news for readers with young girls in their lives. Have you heard of this?

In ten days I'll be flying to Boulder to visit Lux 

and Cece

so naturally I've been deciding which books to take as presents.

The one above - GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS - is terrific. It contains 100 brief and inspiring biographies of outstanding women written in the form of stories.  (e.g. "Once there was a girl who could ride a bike so fast you could barely see her" begins the one about Alfonsina Strada, an Italian cyclist I had never heard of.) The book is illustrated by many female artists from all over the world. 

You will have heard of some of the women - Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Amelia Earhart, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou - but there are many more who will be unknown to you and that is why it's so special. Some of the women are still young and active. There are scientists, astronomers, spies, computer scientists and activists. There's a tattoo artist, a rapper, an inventor, a Muslim weightlifter, a High Court judge, a drummer, a Syrian refugee swimmer, a surfer and a motocross racer. Some of the stories are very moving and brought tears to my eyes, and 97% of them are inspiring. The other thing to say is that it was crowdfunded.

It's not perfect. I am not sure pirates are role models - though there's no doubt they're exciting and gender-defying. And I would definitely not have included Jingu, a Japanese empress, whose ambition (in the book at least) is to conquer Korea, because it was "a country full of marvellous things dazzling to the eye." I don't approve of conquerors.

But the one that offended me most was Margaret Thatcher. (I suppose you can forgive the authors - they are American.) I have taken action. I glued those pages together. So bite me. Dave does not approve of the censorship, but I shall do as I think fit. Although when you compare Thatcher to the sorry lot we have in power right now...

Anyway, next time you're in a bookshop, have a look at the book and let me know what you think. I can't wait to read it to the girls.


Unknown said...

Glued the pages together? What are you like?
Besides the lovely, kind, thoughtful, generous woman that I deeply love? You can censor the girls books as you wish.

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, LRH. XX