read with my 10 year old off and on throughout the summer
Rad American Women A - Z: Rebels, Trailblazer and Visionaries who Shaped our History...and our Future! by Kate Schatz
Summary (via the book jacket)
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 if for Dolores Huerta, who organized farmworkers; and E is for Ella Baker, who mentored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and helped shape the Civil Rights movement.
And the list continues, spanning several centuries, multiple professions, and 26 diverse women. There are artists and abolitionists, scientists and sports heroes, rock stars and rabble-rousers, and agents of change of all kinds.
These women shaped America's history, and their legacy continues to shape our future.
Let's meet them!
My Opinion (and Megan's Opinion)
Even though this was in the Adult Non-Fiction section of my library I had no hesitation reading this with my 10 year old and would say it's very well suited to middle/upper elementary kids. Each person had a page of illustration and a page of text devoted to them and it was a great starting point for deeper conversations/research on the ones that interested her.
I didn't take notes on every letter/person but here are our thoughts...
I didn't know 10 out of the 26 women and it was troubling to me that most of the 10 were minorities; I really need to brush up on some areas of the women's rights movement. I knew the work of another 3 of the 26 but either didn't know their name or didn't know a woman was involved (for example, I've heard a lot about Cesar Chavez but didn't know he actually co-created the United Farm Workers Association union with a woman, Dolores Huerta).
So while the information was very basic, I learned many things as well.
Megan's comments are in quotes.
- On Angela Davis ~ "She's like me because she's strong, confident, and stands up for what she believes."
- On Dolores Huerta ~ "She was very interesting with she did and how she dealt with things."
- We looked up videos of Florence Griffith Joyner's runs and outfits.
- On Isadora Duncan ~ "She's cool", after watching videos of her dancing.
- On Kate Bornstein ~ The concept of transgender was a little out of Meg's realm; it's not that she's against it, it's that she couldn't understand at all why someone would feel that way. We looked up some "before and after" pictures of Caitlyn Jenner, Jazz Jennings, and Chaz Bono to help illustrate the concept as best we could and then tabled it for further discussion in the future.
- On Nellie Bly ~ "I liked her because she was cool and a good person and she set a world record."
- On "Queen Bessie" Coleman ~ "She's cool."
- On Sonia Sotomayor ~ "I like her. She's brave and I can't get over how she gave herself shots!" Forget being on the Supreme Court, it really really impressed Megan that she began giving herself insulin shots at a young age, haha!
- On Yuri Kochiyama ~ This led to a big discussion about internment camps, another concept that was (thankfully) hard to grasp because she couldn't imagine our country treating their own citizens that way.
The letter X, a tribute to the women whose voices weren't heard and stories aren't known, was very interesting and a good way to acknowledge the history lost when women's lives didn't matter and weren't recorded.
The list of websites at the end was a great source and I look forward to perusing them with my daughters and my son.
The alphabet list of 26 things we can do to be rad was great as well. Megan asked me what my favorite piece of advice from the list was and I said Q for "Questions are awesome. Raise your hand and ask away!" Hers was M for "Make mistakes, learn from them, and keep on trying."
Quote from the Book
"American history is filled with stories of brave and powerful men...but have you ever wondered where the women are? In this book you will find the stories of 26 women who have made a big impact on our nation."