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Behind Every Letter Is A Good Woman

America’s Most Badass Women, Now In Alphabet Book Form

With all due respect to Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, the “Cool American Women” chapter of most history textbooks is a bit stale. If you’re the kind of guy who encourages his daughter to turn a Lego Friends juice bar into a flame-throwing mega-bot — or if you want to teach your son what it means to be rad (and radical) — get thee to a local Amazon pick them up a copy of Rad American Women A-Z.

The book covers the alphabet by swapping out Apples and Zebras for Angelas and Zoras — as in political activist Angela Davis and author Zora Neale Hurston. In between, you’ll find short profiles of women spanning multiple generations and professions, as well as a diverse swath of racial and ethnic backgrounds and sexual orientations. The whole thing puts traditional textbooks to shame with vivid wood block-style illustrations that look like they came from a 50s-era, Soviet superhero comic (if Carol Burnett was a Soviet superhero).

Rad American Women will give your kids an appreciation for the traditionally less-heralded role that women have played in our nation’s history — this might be the first thing you could call a “Herstory Book” with a straight face.

Hazel Scott was a musician and entertainer who was the first African American with her own TV show. The Hazel Scott Show was a variety show that premiered in 1950, 14 years before the Civil Rights Act and 39 years before The Arsenio Hall Show.

A proto-punk poet and queen of the downtown New York City scene in the 70s, Smith served as a muse for men who failed to ever become her artistic equal.

The first hispanic judge on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor brings a voice for minorities to an institution long dominated by old white guys.

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