Don't just teach your kids the ABCs — teach them the ABCs while introducing them to feminism — because, well, some things can never be taught too early.
On April 7, Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History ... and Our Future! written by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, will hit bookshelves. It is the first children's book to be published by the famed City Lights in its more than 60-year history — and with good reason. The book is an illustrated introduction to American women's history, and each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a badass woman in history.
From "A for Angela" Davis to "Z for Zora" Neale Hurston, this is neither your typical children's book nor history textbook. It features an equal proportion of women of color, as well as lesbian and trans women.
Inspired by her 2-year-old daughter, Schatz said in a press release, "We have a house full of great books, but I wanted her to have something more to read — something fun and bold but also educational and inspiring, to teach her about women’s history in a way she could appreciate once she was a little older. I couldn’t find the book I wanted, so I decided I’d try to write one myself."
The hardest part, though, was narrowing the list down to just 26.
"I wanted to focus on the stories that aren’t always part of the standard telling of women’s history," she explained. "With all respect to Susan B. and Rosa and Helen and Gloria, I want to try to introduce readers to women they aren’t likely to have heard of."
So, if you flip through the pages, you’ll find an actor, a judge, a scientist, a dancer, an activist, an architect, a pilot, a novelist, and more, from a range of time periods and backgrounds, some of whom you may not be familiar with, but all rad.
The book puts the spotlight, for a change, on marginalized women, unlike the all-too-common princess narratives. But there is a big shift happening right now to diversify children's/young adult literature. As a strong supporter of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, Schatz said, "Children should have easy and plentiful access to books and characters who reflect their lives. They should be able to see illustrations that reflect their skin, their hair, their communities, their families, their interests."
While the book is largely targeted at young girls, the author hopes boys and parents read it, too. Maybe, with more books like this, people will be less scared to identify as a "feminist" — especially if it's worked into their vocabulary from the very beginning (literally, from letter A).
And if you just can't wait 6 days, scroll through the book's visually stunning images below:
Images courtesy of Miriam Klein Stahl/Rad American Women