Rad American Women A To Z, by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, is a book for children and their parents, teachers, and cool grown-up friends who like ABCs, social justice and women who just all around rock!
Like most children’s A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet, but instead of “A is for Apple” or Alligator, A is for Angela – as in Angela Davis, the iconic Black Panther. B is for Billie Jean King, who shattered the glass ceiling of sports; C is for Carol Burnett, who defied assumptions about women in comedy, etc. The list goes on, spanning centuries and professions. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars, rabble-rousers and diverse leaders of all kinds. Each beautiful illustration is accompanied by a brief, but thorough and easy to read biography.
“Every single one of these individuals changed America in some way. Each one worked hard and believed in herself, even when others expressed doubt or said no. These rad women have all said, Yes I can.”
Just like Women You Should Know, Rad American Women A To Z aims to bring to light the names and accomplishments of women whose stories are not often told. WYSK spoke with Kate to learn more about the inspiration for the book and what’s to come.
“I came up with the idea for the book when my daughter was two – she’s 5 1/2 now, so it took me a while! I was thinking a lot about what it meant to be a feminist parent, to be raising a daughter in this world, and the idea for an A-Z book about radical American women popped into my head one day during naptime.”
As for the selection process, which we imagine was no easy feat, Kate began with a spreadsheet, brainstorming who might be included in the book. “There were some letters that I was set on – I knew that Z would be Zora Neale Hurston from the get-go, and was pretty sure on P for Patti Smith as well. Then I reached out to tons of friends to crowd-source their ideas, and from there I embarked on an amazing and seriously fun research journey that led me down so many paths.”
In choosing the women, Kate stuck to a few parameters, “The 26 women needed to be diverse, dynamic, inspiring—and unexpected. I wanted to include women whose stories aren’t being told, whose names aren’t the ones that everyone knows, and I also wanted to balance living women with those who have passed.”
So, what’s to come? Kate and Miriam plan to make this a series, so be on the lookout for more Rad Women books. They’ve already begun to work on a few sequels, next up… Rad Women Worldwide.