Monday, February 22, 2016

Book Review: Rad American Women A-Z

Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History...and Our Future!
By: Kate Schatz (author), Miriam Klein Stahl (illustrator)
Published By: City Lights Publishers
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Page Count: 64
Source: Library Copy
Audience/Genre: Nonfiction/Graphic Novel
Buy it at Indiebound, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble!

 If you're looking for a quick history lesson on the often times unsung female heroes of the last 100+ years, this is the book for you! If you're looking for super cool, vibrant, and eye catching illustrations, this is the book for you!

In the past few years I've been trying to get into graphic novels (just not my thing, though I'm still trying), so each time a person or an article recommends one that sounds interesting, I stick it on my Goodreads To Read list. I'm not sure where I found this title, but when I was looking through my "graphic-novel" shelf for another book to try out, it caught my eye. Though it was recommended to me as a graphic novel, it is definitely not that, which might explain why I enjoyed it so much. 

Each page is devoted to a letter and a corresponding American woman, with a full page of information about her background, accomplishments, and life. One of my praises for this book is it's inclusion of an incredibly diverse list of women from virtually every race, religion, time period, sexual preference, etc. Thee book includes Mexican-American women, Asian-American women, Native American women, African-American women. IT includes women of color, queer women, poor women, and rich women. I absolutely loved the diversity and I learned about quite a few women I'd never heard of before. 

My one complaint about the book is it;s reading level. I've seen it billed, in the description below form Goodreads, as a high school level book. While many of the entries would be fine for a 9-10th grader, some were written in such an elementary style it turned me off. I might peg this as a more middle grades book, but all in all that's a minor complaint for a fantastic book.

Summary via Goodreads

Like all A-Z books, this one illustrates the alphabet—but instead of "A is for Apple", A is for Angela—as in Angela Davis, the iconic political activist. 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; D is for Dolores Huerta, who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King and helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

And the list of great women continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse individuals. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and suffragettes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.

The book includes an introduction that discusses what it means to be "rad" and "radical," an afterword with 26 suggestions for how you can be "rad," and a Resource Guide with ideas for further learning and reading.

American history was made by countless rad—and often radical—women. By offering a fresh and diverse array of female role models, we can remind readers that there are many places to find inspiration, and that being smart and strong and brave is rad.

Rad American Women will be appreciated by various age groups. It is Common Core aligned for students grades 3 - 8. Pre-school and young children will be captured by the bright visuals and easily modified texts, while the subject matter will stimulate and inspire high-schoolers and beyond.

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