A book about 'Cinderfella' shows us how books for girls fall short.

You're probably pretty familiar with the story of Cinderella, her fairy godmother, her evil stepmother, and the handsome prince.

It's a classic story about dreaming big, with the message that you, too, can escape tough circumstances with a little bit of magic (and a bit of conventional beauty). Overall, it's a pretty standard fairy tale in which the best thing a woman can hope for is to be hand-picked by a man for a life of "happily ever after."

As a story, it's fine, but it's not exactly inspirational.


To get a better idea of what I'm talking about, let's imagine that the roles were reversed — the story of Cinderfella.

That's what Rebel Girls did in a 2017 video where they ask, "What if Cinderella were a guy?"

What follows is a humorous story about a boy named Cinderfella, his evil stepfather and ugly stepbrothers, a fairy godfather, a glass loafer, and a noble princess to pluck our dear protagonist out of obscurity and into wedded bliss.

Gifs from Rebel Girls/Facebook.

It's a funny reimagining of a literary classic, but it's probably not something we'd read to little boys in hopes of inspiring them to do great things. (Luckily, there are a lot of stories aimed at helping boys dream big.)

Rebel Girls founders Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo noticed that the same couldn't be said about girls' stories.

So they decided to change things up in a big way.

Favilli and Cavallo released "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls," a book they wish they'd had when they were children.

"Recently, I realized that not a single story I read growing up featured a girl who took her destiny in her hands and made something on her own without the help of a prince, a brother, or a mouse," said Favilli in the group's launch video. "By the time girls reach elementary school, they already have less confidence than boys. Why is that? They say that 'If you can see it, you can be it' — but what happens when you never see someone like you making the headlines?"

"Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" tells the stories of 100 powerful, real-life women and girls such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, Helen Keller, and Amelia Earhart.

Upon its release, the book became so popular that Favilli and Cavallo began work on a sequel, released in late 2017.

Image from Rebel Girls/Facebook.

Now, to be sure, neither Favilli or Cavallo are trying to ban old-school fairy tales like Cinderella. (Yes, I'm talking to the person who is no doubt writing a comment as they read this).

They're simply trying to provide some more options for parents to read to their children. A larger selection is always a better thing, especially if it helps kids harness their potential to dream.

You can watch the video trailer by Butterbar for "Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls" below.

If Cinderella Were a Guy

If Cinderella were a guy...(via Butterbar and Rebel Girls)

Posted by Upworthy on Sunday, February 11, 2018

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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