Author Kate Schatz and illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl, the duo behind the 2015 sleeper picture book, Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History … and Our Future!, have written a follow-up volume: Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, And Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History. The book will be published on September 27 by Ten Speed Press and targets a slightly older – tween and up audience than the previous release.
Rad American Women A-Z was City Lights Publishing’s first children’s book. It targeted early readers and was arranged in an alphabetical format. The book has sold 70,000+ copies to date – many of those to indie bookstores, schools, and libraries. It also became a cultural phenomenon, with features and reviews in trade publications as well as in a variety of consumer magazines, ranging from Parents to Bitch.
Rad Women Worldwide will feature page spreads spotlighting 40 women from different historical eras and from different cultures: each spread will include a profile written by Schatz and, similar to Rad American Women, a papercut portrait created by Stahl. The profiled women range from well-known leaders like Malala Yousafzai and Wangari Maathai to lesser-known notables, including Chinese feminist Qiu Jin, Japanese mountain climber Junko Tabei, and Nazi resistance fighter Sophie Scholl. Chronologically, profiles range from the Sumerian poet Enheduanna, who lived in ancient Mesopotamia, to contemporary Colombian graffiti artist Bastardilla and novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Many of the 40 women profiled, Schatz explained, were suggested by readers of Rad American Women who, at the same time, requested that Schatz and Stahl partner on another book about “badass global women.” Schatz and Stahl also put out a call on social media for names of possible candidates for inclusion. “We know that we have an American perspective,” Schatz told PW. “We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just about the women we thought were cool.”
The duo were committed to selecting women who were well-known within their specific cultures, but might be unknown outside, such as, Schatz said, the “Nanny of the Maroons,” an 18th-century Jamaican hero whose face is on Jamaica’s $500 bill. “Outside of Jamaica, nobody knows her,” Schatz said, “We wanted to expose [these figures] to a wider audience.” The book’s endnotes list 250 women “from 76% of the world’s countries” who were considered for inclusion but didn’t make the final cut.
Schatz and Stahl are just getting going with the Rad Women franchise they have created, Schatz said, disclosing that the two intend to continue creating books with similar themes and formats. Currently, the two are creating the How to Be Rad interactive illustrated journal, which is scheduled for publication by Ten Speed in fall 2017. Although Ten Speed has been part of the Crown Publishing Group since 2009, “they operate like an independent press,” Schatz said, praising the press’ commitment to “the aesthetic and the political and social mission” of the Rad Women books.
Schatz noted that she and Stahl had experienced a similar rapport with City Lights, “which took a huge risk on us.” While Schatz and Stahl continue to work with City Lights on promoting Rad American Women, they elected to move to Ten Speed with their new bookwanting the support of a publisher “with greater resources and capacity” than City Lights.
“There will be way more illustrations in How to Be Rad, with quotes by radical women, and blank pages to write down thoughts,” Schatz said, “because a lot of readers said Rad American Women inspired them. There are also questions inspired by radical women’s lives and their quotes to respond to. It’s an inspiring illustrated journal.”