COURTESY  PHOTOCity Lights Publishers presents its first book for children.

COURTESY PHOTOCity Lights Publishers presents its first book for children.

'Rad American Women' spells out feminism for kids

History books come in all sizes, but few include enough stories of women who have influenced American society.

Those looking for more than Susan B. Anthony should look no further than “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.

The first children’s book published by City Lights in its 60 years in San Francisco the subject of a celebration at the bookstore on Saturday, just as Women’s History Month comes to a close.

Schatz, an author who chairs the School of Literary Arts at Oakland School for the Arts, came up with the idea while looking for books for her young daughter. There were A to Z books about animals and food, but none that served up history in an engaging way.

Her biggest challenge was whittling down the list of women she was interested in to the final 26.

“My primary goal was to have a very diverse group of women,” Schatz says. “I was trying to focus on women whose stories aren’t all that familiar.”

In “Rad American Women,” A is for Angela – as in political activist Angela Davis. P is for singer Patti Smith. The book, of course, ends with Z, as in writer Zora Neale Hurston.

Rosa Parks is not included, but her mentor – Ella Baker – is. Nor is Amelia Earhart, but another aviator – “Queen Bessie” Coleman – is.

Schatz found Coleman’s story especially inspiring. Coleman grew up in poverty in the South. Turned down by American flying schools because she was black, she learned French and raised enough money to move to Paris. She earned her international pilot's license in 1921, two years before Earhart, and found success as a stunt pilot. “It’s such a story of sheer will and independence,” Schatz says. “Kids love it when I talk about how she flies upside down.”

Schatz says she knows there may be some backlash.

“It’s an understandably progressive feminist text,” says Schatz.

So far, response has been positive, Schatz says, noting that “Rad American Women” went into its second printing before it was officially released. “I couldn’t be more pleased,” Schatz says.

Stahl, who teaches at Berkeley High School and is co-founder of its Arts and Humanities Academy, created bold illustrations to accompany the text.


Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History … and Our Future!

Where: City Lights Bookstore, 261 Columbus Ave., S.F.

When: 12:30 p.m. March 28

Tickets: Free

Contact: (415) 362-8193,

Note: “Rad American” design silk-screen will be offered; bring a T-shirt or other clothing item.

and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History … and Our Future!artsbooksKate SchatzMiriam Klein StahlRed American Women A-Z: RebelsTrailblazers

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

From left, Natasha Dennerstein, Gar McVey-Russell, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Jan Steckel and Miah Jeffra appear in Perfectly Queer’s fifth anniversary reading on Jan. 20.<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>
Perfectly Queer reading series celebrates fifth anniversary

Online event features five writers, games, prizes

(Robert Greene/Tribune News Service)
As tensions grow over vaccinations and politics, California lawmakers face threats from public

Anti-vaccine speakers hint at gun violence during routine budget hearing at state Capitol

Dr. Martin Luther King in Sam Pollard’s ‘MLK/FBI’. (Courtesy of IFC Films/TNS)
The superb documentary ‘MLK/FBI’ clearly connects the past to our troubling present

Justin Chang Los Angeles Times Among the many archival materials excerpted in… Continue reading

Most Read