Author Interview: Elena Favilli

The latest installment in the New York Times bestselling Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series is Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World. We spoke with author Elena Favilli about the inspiration for the the book, the connection between immigrant stories and the audiobook’s narrators, and more!

Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

I was inspired to write Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Immigrant Women Who Changed the World because I wanted to introduce our readers to the unique and differing experiences of immigrant women, while celebrating the breadth of their accomplishments. The women I wrote about all immigrated for a multitude of reasons: some out of necessity, others in search of new opportunities. No two stories are the same. Teaching children about these varying experiences has the power to encourage empathy, understanding, and promote cross-cultural relationships. Two things we all need, now more than ever.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

All of the audiobook’s narrators are either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants, which makes their reading the stories of immigrant women all the more powerful.

Have you listened to your own audiobook? If so, what struck you about the narration?

Of course! This audiobook is special because it’s all about women supporting one another. Our exceptional narrators (Rebel Girls in their own right), are also in awe of the women whose stories they read. We’re building a coalition of women who celebrate one another’s successes. What better example to provide young girls with?

Are you an audiobook listener? If so, what are some of your favorite audiobooks?

I am indeed a big fan of audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks allows me to multitask, and provides a source of comfort. Some of my favorite audiobooks are books that I’ve already read but would like to “hear” from a new perspective, such as Lab Girl by Hope Jahren and Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

Professionally, independent bookstores give me the opportunity to connect with my readers one-on-one. I’ve visited hundreds of independent bookstores on tour and around the world: all of them welcomed me with open arms.

Personally, I’m an avid reader, and spent much of my time reading as a child. Growing up in a small village in Tuscany, we never had big-box bookstores, so I relied heavily on my local shops. They fueled my imagination!

Anything else to share with us?

Yes, on October 11, International Day of the Girl, we celebrated our first-ever Rebel Girls United Rally in promotion of the book’s release. The event featured sessions from phenomenal women and Rebel Girls from the books and audiobooks, some of which included a Sing-A-Long with Kristin Chenoweth; paratha baking with Asma Khan; dancing with Beyonce’s Dance Captain, Ashley Everett; and learning about immigration with Zainab Salbi.

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