Stories of inspiring women changing the script

To give realistic female role models to children, two writers created a children’s book packed with 100 stories of extraordinary women.

by Julia Migné 

Rebel girls inspiration INKLINE
Timbuktu founders: Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli. © Timbuktu Labs

“To the rebel girls of the world:
Dream bigger
Aim higher
Fight harder
And, when in doubt, remember
You are right.”

It’s with this opening quote that the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women set the tone for what’s to come: a book filled with inspiring women to help parents raise confident girls!

In 2011, Elena Favilli, a journalist at the time, and Francesca Cavallo, a stage director, and playwright decided to pack their belongings and leave Milan to fly to California. At the time, the two determined women were on track to create their own company which came to be known as Timbuktu Labs.

The dynamic duo came up with Timbuktu Magazine,  the first iPad magazine for children in the world, earning them various awards and a place in the children’s literature world. However, being women themselves Elena and Francesca’s journey into the world of entrepreneurship made them realise that something important was missing in girls’ education today: books with strong female role models.


A feature published in the Washington Post last year highlights the issue: “A 2011 Florida State University study found that just 7.5 percent of nearly 6,000 picture books published between 1900 and 2000 depict female animal protagonists; male animals were the central characters in more than 23 percent each year.”

The two women wanted little girls around the world to dream bigger, aim higher and grow into strong confident women and the idea of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was born.

More than an inspiring children’s book, it is a pure gem of cooperation, collaboration, and artwork. Using the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, Elena and Francesca asked the public to help them make their dream a reality last year and the reaction was mind-blowing with the campaign exceeding its target by 1689% making the total raised a staggering $1,286,823 USD, acoording to their website.

With the money collected, the duo signed 50 female artists from across the globe to illustrate the biographies of 100 extraordinary women selected with care by the team. From primatologist Jane Goodall to Chilean-American writer Isabel Allende, the book has an impressive list of women who somehow managed to impact the world in a profound and inspiring way.

“Just 7.5 percent of nearly 6,000 picture books published between 1900 and 2000 depict female animal protagonists; male animals were the central characters in more than 23 percent each year.”

Empowering in the most fun way possible, the book and its collection of biographies are richly illustrated making it a work of art as much as a piece of children’s literature. With different illustration styles, the book once again shows the diversity of women’s art that can be found around the globe and is a great way to discover illustrators and artists!


Whether you decide to read the book as an adult devouring the integrality in a few hours or read it to your children one story at a time, this book will no doubt make you pause and marvel at all those amazing women. As an adult, it’s quite incredible to realise how many women have just been forgotten or overshadowed by history and helps you discover talented girls influencing the world today.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was actually so successful that the team wrote a second volume already, containing 100 new biographies celebrating extraordinary women this time illustrated by 70 different female artists!

These books are a precious reminder that everything is possible and that the only thing stopping us from achieving the impossible is often ourselves. Far from being only addressed to girls, this series is also a brilliant read for boys and will shape their vision of the world towards a space where women are brilliant, fearless, and even celebrated.

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