Rebel Girls is hosting its third annual Rebel Girls Fest this weekend (October 8-9). The event started in 2020 as a way to bring the Rebel Girls community together during the pandemic, and this year marks the first time the celebration has been held in person. More than 240 bookstores, including Barnes & Noble locations and all 87 Indigo shops in Canada, as well as many independents and libraries, are expected to be part of Rebel Girls Fest: Be the Change, which celebrates the International Day of the Girl.
“Rebel Girls Fest gives us a moment when we can interact with our fans directly, and it gives them the opportunity to meet girls like them in their own communities,” said Michon Vanderpoel, head of book sales. “It also allows us to give back through our partnership with the Starlight Foundation.”
The events will include story times, activities, and a take-home goodie bag including bookmarks, “I Am a Changemaker” pins, colored pencils, postcards, stickers, and temporary tattoos from both Rebel Girls and sponsor Hasbro, which is providing My Little Pony activities and special giveaways as part of the Fest. All of the fun is intended to empower the next generation to create change, in keeping with the brand’s overall positioning and tying in with its 2022 flagpole book release, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers, which was published on October 4.
Rebel Girls Fests in Los Angeles, New York, London, Iowa City, and Palm Harbor, Fla., will feature book signings with some of the subjects of 100 Inspiring Young Changemakers, including Dasia Taylor, a high schooler who invented color-changing sutures that can detect infections; Keely Cat-Wells, a disability activist and entrepreneur; and Nalleli Cobo, who fought an oil company that was polluting her South Los Angeles neighborhood.
Young women involved in creating the book, including editor Jess Harriton and writer Emily Conner, will also make appearances at live events. “Emily is one of our writers and she’s a teenager,” Vanderpoel said. “Our writers are all females under 30 and are inspirational changemakers themselves.”
Speakers and performances were a feature of previous years’ virtual events as well, with Oprah Winfrey making an appearance at last year’s Fest, which was themed around the 2021 release Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic.
Girls who cannot make it to a local event can celebrate at home with free themed digital downloads for inspirational crafts and activities, including decorations like DIY wall décor, banners, and cupcake toppers; a scavenger hunt; a Changemaker ’zine and letter campaign; coloring sheets and doorhangers; and a word search tied to Bindi Irwin, who is featured in a profile in the new book.
In addition, Rebel Girls is working with the Starlight Foundation to provide activity kits to patients in the children’s hospitals it supports. With sponsor Spin Master, Rebel Girls will offer activities and giveaways including special stickers and a Rubik’s Cube, as well as many of the items included in the event gift bags. There will also be a handful of virtual readings for this group. The company has committed to distributing the same number of kits to hospitalized kids as are offered through the bookstores and libraries, and the initiative has proved popular, with all kits reserved within a few days of being announced.
Events will be held in close to 30 states and across Canada, along with a few international locations. Including the live events, the virtual platform, and the hospitals, Rebel Girls expects to reach 10,000 girls.