Rise of the Undead Redhead! A Story of Girl Power.


     There are thousands of childrens books that are written and published, but very few of them are written with the purpose of inspiring young girls.

     There are thousands of childrens books that are written and published, but very few of them are written with the purpose of inspiring young girls. Girls are expected to be fashionistas, only care about looks, and be frightened to get down and dirty. However, recently two women decided to change the way that females look at themselves by writing and illustrating an original novel titled, Rise of the Undead Redhead, about a group of girls who must learn how to play the sport Roller Derby.

Rise of the Undead Redhead is mostly about a girl named Dorothy, who moves in with her grandmother after her mom decides to become a superstar. Her grandma lives in a funeral home and is quite frightening to others. After moving to the town, Dorothy meets many friends of different shapes, sizes, and personalities, and they soon discover that Grandma was once a champion at Roller Derby, an all-female sport where girls try to push and shove each other on roller skates in order to stop the other team from passing through. When the bunch learn that Grandma was a star athlete, they accidently sign up for a championship Roller Derby match. Will Dorothy's grandmother be able to prepare the girls in time for the game?

Meghan Dougherty and Alece Birnbach, the authors and illustrators of this story, never expected to write a book, especially not a novel. The two are close friends that have known each other for over twenty years, Dougherty being a Public Relations Director and Birnbach being a Graphic Designer. Throughout her childhood, Dougherty was a Roller Derby player, and even in her adulthood too. This led her to the idea of writing this book, and because Alece Birnbach has always been an artist, Dougherty asked her to illustrate it. They spent about two months just developing the plot and characters, and about two years just to write and illustrate the novel. According to the authors, the key to writing a novel is to write what you know. Therefore, many details in the novel are based off of Meghan’s and Alece’s lives. For example, Dorothy lives with her grandmother in a funeral home, and Dougherty grew up living in a funeral home. Dorothy’s facial features are also based off of Meghan when she was young, and she is named after Dougherty’s mother, Dorothy. Another character in the book, Jade Doe, a goth artist, was also based off of Birnbach when she was young. “When I was her age, I used to dress kind of scary, and I was always doodling, and I was very artistic,” says Birnbach. But the real story behind all of the words were the messages the women wanted to portray. In Roller Derby, a player’s size, shape, and physical characteristics do not matter. Whether someone is short, tall, plump, skinny, ugly, or gorgeous, they can still play and feel empowered. “Roller Derby makes you feel strong and like you can do anything!” says Meghan Dougherty. Another message sent is that girls can be as athletic and strong as boys. But, all these messages were inspired by how Meghan felt as a child. Dougherty says, “When I was little, I had two older brothers who were really, really mean, and they teased me a lot. I also used to read all these fashion and teen magazines with pictures of the really pretty girls, and I wanted to be like them, like the really skinny, flat stomach, no hips girls, but when I got older, I realized that I’m not them, I’m me. And I don’t want to be anyone else but me."