Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women Book Poster Image
Exciting biographies of women leaders sure to inspire.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of educational information packed into these one-page biographies, especially regarding the various educational, political, activist, and career paths that can lead women to great leadership and powerful positions in society.

Positive Messages

Every powerful woman was once a young girl with big dreams. Hard work and dedication can help you achieve your goals. Women and girls are capable leaders. You can overcome big challenges and hard circumstances to become the powerful girl and woman you are meant to be. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each of the 25 women featured in this book shows that there are many paths to become a leader and many ways to be a great leader. From athletes to activists to politicians to CEOs, this slim volume emphasizes that women really can be anything they want to be. The women profiled here come from around the world (Germany, Guatemala, Italy, Pakistan, Egypt, Liberia, and more), though more than half represent the United States. American women featured include Black, White, Asian, Latina, and Native American women. 

Violence & Scariness

Violence is referred to in age-sensitive, general language: Malala Yousafzai's shooting is described like this: " fired their guns, hitting her in the head." Other violence include activists and their family members being threatened and killed by soldiers, a war injury, and "abuse" and "trauma," (without details). 


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rebel Girls Lead: 25 Tales of Powerful Women was created by a team of writers and illustrators pulled together by Rebel Girls, Inc. In the tradition of its popular Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls books 1, 2, and 3, this collection of short biographies is intended to inspire girls to greatness, though readers of any gender will find much to admire in this collection. From Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman to history-making heads of state like Jacinda Ardern to entertainers (Oprah) and activists (Malala Yousafzai), readers will see that there are many paths to becoming a powerful leader. Violence includes non-graphic, age-appropriate descriptions or references to a shooting, political violence, abuse and trauma. No language concerns.

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What's the story?

Each two-page spread in REBEL GIRLS LEAD features a one-page biography and an artist's illustrated portrait of a powerful woman leader. With just 25 women showcased, this is a slim volume compared with other Good Night Stories books. This collection includes some reader favorites from the previous three volumes as well as 11 new tales of remarkable female leadership, including political leaders like Vice President Kamala Harris and Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller, as well as singer-activist Lady Gaga and Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee. Back pages invite readers to write their own story and draw a self-portrait; there's also a leadership style quiz and leadership training activities.

Is it any good?

This compelling addition to the Rebel Girls series diverges from the format of the previous books, all of which feature 100 women. By choosing to focus on just 25 women in Rebel Girls Lead, the creators have made a paperback book that's accessible and affordable for more families. Though the thicker, heftier, and more expensive Good Night Stories books are all wonderful, this new book can function as an introduction for readers new to the Rebel Girls series. Longtime fans, though, may be disappointed that only 11 of the 25 bios and portraits are new, while the others are culled from previous editions. Still, the winning formula of inspiring life story plus a bold, expressive portrait, shines just as brightly here in this slim volume as it does in the longer collections.

These bite-size profiles can help young readers imagine themselves growing up to do great things and be great people, and that's a good reason to gift this book to any kid who has yet to delve in to the Rebel Girls universe.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the women they most admired in Rebel Girls Lead. Who stood out to you the most? Why? What can you learn from these women?

  • What character strengths did these women show? How do they show compassion, perseverance, courage, and more?

  • Each illustrated portrait was created by a different woman artist. How are the illustrations similar and different? Why do you think the book's creators asked women artists to illustrate these biographies?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love biographies and extraordinary women and girls

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