Rad American Women A-Z


Inspiring stories of 26 who shaped our history and future.

Rad American Women A-Z shares the stories of heroines both celebrated and unsung. Author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl had the difficult task of choosing only 26 to include in their book but managed to present — in words and minimal, graphic illustrations — a diverse and inspiring crew: from singer Patti Smith to artist Maya Lin, from education activist and journalist Jovita Idar to the abolitionist Grimke Sisters.

Some of the women included are already household names: as a child of the 80s Flo Jo was my hero. But I hadn’t ever read that when young Florence Griffith-Joyner was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she replied, “Everything. I want to be everything.” The story of each woman includes sweet details like this, or more often, the more challenging aspects of their lives. So whether or not their names, lives, and contributions were previously familiar, you’re left with the sense that they are human and if they could do something like that, you could, too.

I’d love to see more books like this — what I would have given as a girl to read then about women like Fanny Bullock Workman and Annie Peck (not included in the book, but I can’t help but dreamily imagine a someday tome of lady adventurers) — while Schatz and Stahl did really well, they’ve only scratched the surface.

Find Rad American Women A-Z at your local library.