There is a widely popular book for children these days by the name ‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’. We are also fond of it and every once in a while Dhruv asks me to read a few pages from the book to him.
But as it happens, by the time he finishes reading aloud to me there is limited time left for reading Rebel Girls. Hence, there is always this disagreement between us as to how many pages we will read. We give each other conservative figures and since the bedtime is ticking away in my mind, my conservative figure is way less than his. He would say 10, I would say 2. Owing to the bargaining rule of “Chalo tumhari na meri…“, I end up reading a number somewhere between 2 and 10.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls is his go-to book for exploring names of countries, quotes by the women, the dates of their birth and death and the names of various professions. Out of all, the most interesting aspect for him is to calculate (which of course I do for him) the ages of the women when they died and whether I was alive then, followed by rest of the people on my side and husband’s side.
We have also used this book for completing one school assignment. For this assignment, the kids of his class had to write a page on a mathematician. Now that he has a silent crusader for a mother, he could not have settled with well-known male mathematicians like Ramanujam and Paul Erdos. Instead, his mother surfed through the Rebel Girls book and found one woman mathematician from ancient Egypt, Hypatia, for the write-up. Was his assignment among the unique ones in the class? I hope so.
He has two favourite women achievers from the book. One is Rani Lakshmi Bai because she is from India and the other one is Jacquotte Delahaye because she was a pirate not from Somalia but in the Caribbean Sea. Somalian pirates are his latest interest and a cause for concern with respect to those travelling by sea routes. The Caribbean was unknown to him but then what is Mummy for? The globe was given a rotation and the Caribbean Sea was discovered.
A few days later, I heard him proudly educating his father about the presence of pirates even in the Caribbean Sea, referring to the Rebel GIrls book since substantiation is utmost necessary.
Can a book, which is read often, be complete without asking a thought-provoking question?
So, his question was –
Why isn’t there a book called Goodnight stories for Rebel Boys?
I had an explanation about the expectations from girls and women to stay at home and look after the children, family and house. In many parts of the world, it takes rebellion for girls to do things other than this. They have to fight lots to go against the tide and it is not easy. This book brings examples of such brave girls and women for the children.
“Mummy, you are also a rebel girl,” he exclaimed on a closing note.
Now, this was completely unexpected for me to hear from him.
Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne Rodrigues