Global publishing phenomenon Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls launched a wave of biography aimed at children. Styled as feminist bedtime stories and as a reinvention of the fairy tale, the trademark celebratory biographical arcs which focus on women’s lives and stories as heroic have also attracted critique. This paper argues that Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls draws deliberate attention to both the limits and possibility of biography as a genre that has distinctive, ideological, and cultural power in conferring visibility and status to the subjects of representation. In interactive journal pages appended to each Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls volume, and in publications like I Am A Rebel Girl, the reader becomes a participant in the biographical project, invited to practise auto/biography and to create their own ‘rebel’ story. Rebel Girls work within the limits of but also models a potential for auto/biography as a feminist, activist tool, available to be taken up self-consciously by a generation of ‘rebel’ readers who may themselves become the rebel writers of their own or others’ lives, inventing and evolving the possibility for biography as a feminist mode.
- Life writing
- children’s literature