As I have said in previous posts, I love reading. I love the feeling of getting so lost in a story that I forget where I am or what time it is or the fact that the book isn’t my real life. Some of my earliest memories are of my parents reading to me when I was a little girl. Stories about animals and adventures and princesses and learning – I soaked it all in.
One of my favorite books was this one, a collection of fairy tales. Specifically, a story called The Twelve Dancing Princesses. If you are not familiar with this fairy tale let me give you a little summary. Once upon a time there were twelve princesses, all sisters, who slept in one room in the castle. Their father the king, locked them in their room every night but by morning, their shoes were discovered to have holes in them as if they had been wearing them all night. Perplexed by this, the king sends one of his soldiers on a mission to find out what is going on. Long story short, the soldier takes an invisibility cloak and finds out the princesses escape their room and head to a different castle that has a rad party where they dance the night away. On the third night that the solider tags along to the castle party, he steals a gold cup to show the king what has been going down. As a reward, the king lets the soldier marry his oldest daughter and makes him the heir to the throne.
Little Sarah adored this story because the illustrations were gorgeous and being a princess seemed like an amazing gig.
20-something Sarah re-reads this story and realizes it is problematic as hell.
While I do endorse the twelve princesses making their own choices (OF THEIR OWN FREE WILL) and deciding to go out dancing every night (because lets be real, who would turn that down), now that I am older I realize how awful this is to feed to young girls. GIVING away your daughter as a PRIZE to a MAN for doing something “GOOD”??? Not even letting the older daughter retain her status as the rightful heir to the kingdom???
Now take a deep breath, close your eyes, and imagine that there was a book that had stories for girls about bad ass women. What if the stories in that book weren’t just fairy tales, but actual stories about REAL LIFE women? What if that book was something that was about to be a real thing that you could hold in your own two hands?
Guess what? IT IS. Enter Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls.
I was perusing the interwebs early last week and found this incredible campaign on Kickstarter. Two women are creating a book for young girls that will feature 100 stories about 100 real life women. Women like Serena Williams and Elizabeth I and Frida Kahlo and the Bronte Sisters. All stories come with an illustration, all of which are done by 100 different female illustrators from around the world.
A book for girls, constructed by women who wished they had it when they were younger. A book that says it is okay to be an astronaut or a queen or a writer or an artist or anything else that you can dream of BECAUSE IT IS YOUR LIFE and you have the power to do whatever you set your mind to. A book that showcases role models that tell you, “you have a choice, you have a voice and you are important.”
I have donated to Kickstarter only one other time in my life and it was for a family friend who was terminally ill. Being a young 20-something with limited funds, I do not normally have the money in my budget to donate to campaigns but this was a project I could not pass up. (I mean, I feel so strongly about this book that I dedicated an entire post to it.) I truly believe this will be an impactful book in so many girls’ lives and if it was around when I was younger, I know it would have been sitting on my night stand. The campaign started out with a goal of $40k and as of this post, they have surpassed their 4th stretch goal of $400k and are currently sitting at $413k.
The campaign closes next week on May 26th. By donating $38 you get one hardcover copy of the book, one exclusive Rebel Girls coloring book and one PDF guide of How to Raise Confident Girls. The books are estimated to be done, packed and shipped by November 2016, just in time for the holidays.
It is vital to let girls know that they are important in a world that still tells them they are not. To show them that they can be strong and smart and innovative, just like the women that came before them. That they can be a writer or a princess or a painter or an athlete or a leader, the bottom line is that they get to choose. By having this book and reading these stories, they will be learning that they not only have options, but that they are achievable. I mean come on, who doesn’t want to be Serena Williams?
I already bought my copy, here’s to the next generation of Rebel Girls.