Rad American Women A-Z: The New Alphabet You’ll Want to Learn

Noël Duan
·Assistant Editor

This is the only alphabet where A stands for Angela Davis and Z stands for Zora Neale Hurston—and you haven’t learned it, yet. Writer Kate Schatz and artist Miriam Klein Stahl have radical ambitions to amplify your vocabulary of women’s history with their new children’s picture book, Rad American Women A-Z. The book is currently on pre-order and will be released in March in time for Women’s History Month. Schatz and Stahl are hoping to teach young boys and girls—and their mothers, fathers, caregivers, siblings, and teachers—about strong women who have made waves and inspired change. The thoughtfully compiled group of women spans the spectrum in terms of ethnicity, industry of work, age, and era—but all were essential contributors to American history.

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San Francisco born-and-bred Schatz told Yahoo Beauty, “I’m a feminist, teacher, and a writer, and I was thinking about how to raise my two children as a parent. We have ABC books for everything, like fruit and animals—but there’s nothing about that teaches children about rad American women.” Every letter in the alphabet is accompanied by an inspiring woman with a picture made by Stahl out of construction paper cut by an X-Acto knife. In the book, Schatz writes, “There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, but there are thousands of rad women whose stories deserve to be shared.” As a teacher and mother, Schatz made sure to include a section called “26 Things That You Can Do To Be Rad!” at the end of the book. One of the “26 Things” is “Dare to be the only one. Only girl on the team? Only boy wearing pink? Cool!” It’s a piece of advice that applies to anyone at any age.

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Yahoo Beauty exclusively obtained the full list of women featured in the book, available on pre-order now:

Angela Davis: Counterculture political activist involved in the Civil Rights Movement.

Billie Jean King: Professional tennis player who won 39 Grand Slams.

Carol Burnett: Emmy and Golden Globe-award winning actress, singer and writer who succeeded Lucille Ball as the queen of television comedy.

Dolores Huerta: Labor leader and civil rights advocate for immigrants’, workers’ and women’s rights.

Ella Baker: American Civil Rights Movement activist who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr.

Florence Griffith-Joyner: Track and field athlete who is considered the fastest woman of all time with world records in 100M and 200M sprint.

Grimke Sisters: Two Quaker writers who were the first American women advocates of abolition and women’s rights.

Hazel Scott: International jazz and classical pianist and singer. The first black American woman to have her television own show in 1950.

Isadora Duncan: Dancer and choreographer whose work became the foundation for modern dance.

Jovita Idar: Journalist and civil rights activist who exposed the poor living conditions of Mexican American workers and fought for workers’, women’s, and children’s rights.

Kate Bornstein: Performance artist and gender theorist.

Lucy Parson: Labor organizer who was involved in activism for political prisoners, people of color, the homeless and women.

Maya Lin: Groundbreaking landscape designer, sculptor, and artist.

Nellie Bly: Pioneering investigative reporter and female inventor known for her 72-day trip around the world and exposé on the living conditions of mental health patients at Blackwell’s Island in New York.

Odetta: Singer and activist known as the voice of the Civil Rights Movement—Martin Luther King, Jr. called her the queen of American folk music.

Patti Smith: Pioneering punk rock singer-songwriter and poet who was recently inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and received a National Book Award for her memoir, Just Kids.

"Queen" Bessie Coleman: The First African American female pilot.

Rachel Carson: Founder of the modern environmental and conservation movement whose book, Silent Spring, led to a nationwide ban of DDT and other pesticides.

Sonia Sotomayor: Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and the first Hispanic Justice.

Temple Grandin: One of Time’s 100 most influential people, autistic activist and professor of animal studies who invented the “hug box,” which calms hypersensitive individuals.

Ursula LeGuin: Award-winning fantasy and science fiction author.

Virginia Apgar: The female full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and doctor who invented the Apgar score, a way to assess the health of newborns right after birth.

Wilma Mankiller: First female chief of the Cherokee Nation and author of national bestselling autobiography, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People.

X is for the women whose names we don’t know: “For all the women who were left out of history books or were barred from what they wanted and could do,” said Schatz.

Yuri Kochiyama: Nobel Peace Prize nominee and human rights activist who worked on behalf of the Asian American movement, nuclear disarmament, and reparations for Japanese American internment during the Second World War.

Zora Neale Hurston: Author and anthropologist who wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God, influenced the Harlem Renaissance, and is considered the most pre-eminent African American author to date.