Beyond Boundaries

New Female Role Models from Around the World: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls




biographies for children, female role models, diversity, transnationalism


Biographies for children have always been popular among young readers, but they are becoming an increasingly important part of children’s literature in the twenty-first century. Most prominent are the collections offering short life-sketches of historical and contemporary figures who can serve as positive role models for young readers from diverse backgrounds. This article discusses the international bestseller Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women (2016) from a feminist, transnational perspective. Focusing on the authors’ narrative strategies, it investigates how tropes of agency are used to make aware of women’s struggles and successes across time and space. Further, it examines how girls are actively encouraged to continue these legacies. Ultimately, the analysis shows that Goodnight Stories establishes connections between women from diverse countries and continents, and at the same time reveals cross-cultural differences in how the book has been received in different corners of the world.

Author Biography

Marleen Rensen, University of Amsterdam

Marleen Rensen is Senior Lecturer in Modern European Literature at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She is the author of many journal articles and book chapters, and co-editor of the volumes Transnational Perspectives on Artists’ Lives (Palgrave, 2020) and Unhinging the National Framework: Perspectives on Transnational Life Writing (Sidestone,2020).





Beyond Boundaries