The 5th installment of the best-selling “Rebellion Girl Good Night Story” series, 100 inspiring young changemakerswhich shines a spotlight on extraordinary young women who are leaving their mark on today’s world.
Readers pay homage to notable women such as Greta Thunberg, Bethany Hamilton, Bindi Irwin, Zendaya, and Linda Linda; Bynum, film director Tegen Yardley, poet Alexandra Huynh and environmental activist Helena Gueringa.
The girls and women in this book come from different countries and backgrounds and have different interests and achievements. Wall-breaking performer Keke Palmer has become the youngest talk show host in US history. Entrepreneur Mikayla Ulmer founded a lemonade company to save bees. Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal has turned her hobby into an Olympic dream. Also, British body her positivity advocate Megan Jayne Crabbe and indigenous artist her Te Manaia Jennings urge children to keep their minds healthy.
With a preface by conservationist and television personality Bindi Irwin, the book features the work of writers, artists and editors under the age of 30. Each story is told in the whimsical fairytale style that made the series so successful, paired with bold full-page portraits. Over 80 of her young female or non-binary artists from around the world have contributed original artwork to this book.
An interview with Puissandrei of the Paralympic Games and ‘Rebel Girls’ and Jess Wolfe, CEO of Rebel Girls, reveals the continuing positive power of telling stories of young people making a difference around the world.
Keely: What was your Paralympic journey like?
PUISAND: Actually, I never grew up thinking, “I want to be a Paralympian someday.” Sport was just something my parents signed up for to be more active, but then it became something I really enjoyed and something I had a lot of potential for. Worked on creating Team Ontario, Team Canada. It was not easy and it took a lot of dedication, willpower and a lot of ups and downs. It was realistic.
KEELY: If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self?
PUISAND: Put yourself out there and stop caring what other people think. I think I was, and still am, afraid to stand out or feel out of place, so I was afraid to try new things…it’s much better.
Keeley: Why is it important for young people with disabilities to express themselves in media, books and entertainment?
PUISAND: I think it’s important. Because as I grew up, I was very conscious of being different. It wasn’t until I started playing wheelchair basketball and tennis that I saw more people with disabilities living their own lives and thriving, not just seeing people in hospital settings. Being able to see others succeeding in their environment not only gives them confidence in themselves, but it also helps others see more in people than just their disabilities.
Keeley: Bodily autonomy is under attack, climate change is vast, human rights are constantly being compromised by legislators..with that said, young women and girls are taking action And why is it so important that Rebel Girls not only highlight these stories, but turn them into bedtime stories and inspire others to take action?
JES: There are so many things to fix around the world right now! It’s the changemaker you need. Their actions and pursuits impact communities and the world. Our job at Rebel Girls is to celebrate and support their accomplishments and amplify their stories so the next generation of girls can carry the torch.
We see girls all over the world using their brains, talent, passion and creativity to influence change. Girls like Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate who are fighting to save the planet from climate change. Girls like Bindi Irwin and her Earyn McGee who have dedicated their lives to helping animals. Girls like Jazz Her Jennings and Her AJ Clementine advocate for human rights, awareness and compassion. Bonnie Chiu, who created an organization to provide more income for women in developing countries, and Olga, who is using new technologies to make learning about history and art more visual, engaging, and accessible. Girls like Kravchenko. These young women prove that there are many ways to be changemakers.
Storytelling is the oldest and surest way to communicate with children, and it teaches us valuable lessons and knowledge. That’s why Rebel Girls tells stories. We tell stories of women and girls who are themselves. Girls who have overcome obstacles, challenged the status quo, left their mark on the world and brought people together. A girl who is an innovator, a leader, a creator and a champion. We tell their stories as bedtime stories so that more people can know their contributions, more girls can find role models to relate to and who inspires them. If we do our job well, we will be able to tell so many different stories and every girl will find at least one, if not dozens, role models. And through this, they can both be inspired and confident that they too can be changemakers.
Keeley: This is the fifth volume of the book, what are you most excited about?
JES: Each book stands on its own, but this one in particular focuses solely on the modern women and girls (all under 30, many under 21) who are changing the world today. Special. It aims to provide girls with an incredible slate of the most relatable role models ever.
Moreover, the authors of this book are all in their 11s to 30s. We worked with her 96 women and girls from over 40 countries to write, edit and illustrate the artwork for this book.
We’ve also created some great companion audio stories to complement the book. Some story pages contain a QR code that unlocks her 10-20 minute audio story about women in the Rebel Girls app. These 10-20 minute audio stories contain original sounds and music and are in the form of an award-winning podcast series.
I’m most excited to share these stories with the world, and the reactions from the girls I’ve seen so far.
I was able to collect four of the book’s subjects in London. They shared their stories with the girls of London and celebrated the Rebel Girls Fest, an International Day of the Girls event. The energy in the room was electric. The subjects of these books are meeting each other, celebrating each other’s achievements, how diverse our backgrounds and talents are, and how we used those backgrounds and talents to leave our own mark on the world. I was very excited to celebrate
And the girls who came to celebrate Girls Fest were inspired, curious, and hungry. By asking questions, sharing their dreams and interests, following their passions, working hard and being creative, they were able to see the impact and perception the book’s subject matter received. We experienced it together. All participants felt a bond and connection with everyone else in the room.
As the brand we live for, we help build that community and pass the torch from generation to generation. From a storytelling standpoint, our previous books focused on ‘stories from the past’ – giving credit to the women who laid the foundation for much of what we enjoy today. , focuses on ‘today’s stories’ – the next generation of girls who are picking up the torch and moving us forward as a society. – for Generation Alpha girls – we encourage people in the room (and readers of our books everywhere) to write their own stories. Did (and literally share them with us so we can celebrate their dreams and pursuits behind them.
Keely: Anything else you’d like to add?
JES: I like the saying, “Mountains are climbed one step at a time.” This saying has a true meaning to me, both literally and figuratively.
Literally, I love climbing mountains. Reaching the top and watching the sunrise is a great feeling of satisfaction. I cherish the feeling of looking down on the road I arrived at, and the feeling of taking my feet and body to new heights. Climbing the mountain is difficult and hard. The higher you go, the more it hurts. And when it gets really tough – the trip is freezing cold on the ice, beaten by wind and sleet, exhausted and craving oxygen on top of the mountain, you have to tell yourself to take one step and the next. I didn’t. Just to keep going.
I think this is a beautiful metaphor for life and many of our individual and collective pursuits. And the trick for all girls (and humans) who want to be changemakers and want to know how to get started is to just get started and take one step at a time. Just keep going. By focusing on one step, one action, and another, you can climb the mountain little by little and make a difference.