Rad Women Worldwide

October 5, 2016
Rad Women Worldwide: Artists, Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History Book Cover Rad Women Worldwide: Artists, Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History
Kate Schatz
Ten Speed Press
September 27th, 2016
Owned (Blogging for Books)
Miriam Klein Stahl

From the authors of the New York Times bestselling book Rad American Women A-Z, comes a bold new collection of 40 biographical profiles, each accompanied by a striking illustrated portrait, showcasing extraordinary women from around the world.

Rad Women Worldwide tells fresh, engaging, and inspiring tales of perseverance and radical success by pairing well researched and riveting biographies with powerful and expressive cut-paper portraits. From 430 BCE to 2016, spanning 31 countries around the world, the book features an array of diverse figures, including Hatshepsut (the great female king who ruled Egypt peacefully for two decades) and Malala Yousafzi (the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize) to Poly Styrene (legendary teenage punk and lead singer of X-Ray Spex) and Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft (polar explorers and the first women to cross Antarctica). This progressive and visually arresting book is a compelling addition to women’s history and belongs on the shelf of every school, library, and home.

Together, these stories show the immense range of what women have done and can do. May we all have the courage to be rad!

(from Penguin Random House)


This is exactly the sort of book I hope to share with my future children.

A collection of 40 mini-biographies of real women who made a different all over the world, throughout the history of humanity, I didn’t expect to read it all in one sitting. Yet, I couldn’t help myself. Rad Women Worldwide: Artists, Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History is the inspirational book I didn’t realize I needed in my own personal library.

In the Introduction, Kate Schatz explains what she means by “rad”:

[The biographies] tell about the lives and accomplishments of bold, brave women who lived awesome, exciting, revolutionary, historic, and world-changing lives — in other words, they’re rad.

With only 40 stories to tell, Schatz does a wonderful job cherry-picking a diverse group of women. From Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE Mesopotamia) to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Born 1977 Nigeria), these pages tell the stories of women who fought for what they believe in on some level. The idea is to share a piece of the thousands of stories around the world that women can do things too– that women are also shaping history.

It’s hard to pick my favorite biography, as there are so many fascinating ones. I loved reading about Hypatia (Egypt) , Queen Lili’uokalani (Hawai’i) , Birute Mary Galdikas (Germany) and the ENIAC Programmers (USA). But the story that sticks out to me the most is that of Grace “Granuaile” O’Malley.

Whether or not these tales are true, historical records show that Grace O’Malley was a brave [Irish] sea captain, pirate, political strategist, chieftain, mother, wife, and daughter.

This woman is RAD. For example, when her son was falsely accused of treason Grace went to Queen Elizabeth to request she spare O’Malley’s son. Surprisingly, Elizabeth I did see Grace, and the two of them came to an agreement in Latin, the only language the two of them shared. #Badass.

Miriam Klein Stahl makes her mark easily identifiable as the illustrator of this book. Instead of photographs (as there don’t exist photographs of many of these women), Stahl created stylized renderings of these women creating extraordinary papercut illustrations. I would love to see these in real life. I certainly don’t have that kind of X-Actio knife skills.

The book ends with a note on the research to create this book. Schatz obviously put a lot of time and effort into researching these short biographies. She describes her research process, including using primary sources whenever available and her attempts to sort fact from fiction (a lot of these women became legends). The part I respect the most is that Schatz sent these stories to many of the still-living women to approve their own story, while family members and scholars reviewed the stories for those women no longer with us. For a collection of short biographies intended for younger readers, I did not expect this level of research. My hat is off to you, Kate Schatz.

Rad Women Worldwide follows Schatz’s previous book, Rad American Women A-Z; Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries who Shaped Our History… and our Future! I respect that Shatz, as an American author, started with what she knew. But it must have been obvious it wasn’t enough. Even the addition of this book didn’t begin to cover everything either. The end of Rad Women Worldwide contains a list of 250 more women Schatz encourages us to learn about from the 200 countries of the world. I know that I’ll be looking into learning more about many of these women.

In this end, this was educational, fun, and an inspiring read. As I mentioned at the beginning, I never expected to read this book in one sitting, but I couldn’t stop reading. Honestly, my only criticism is that the title is needlessly long. That’s it. I strongly recommend it to anyone interesting in feminism or biographies.

For more information on Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl (including tour dates!) check out her Penguin Random House author page.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

5 Stars


  • Read Diverse Books October 5, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Aah, this book is on Blogging for Books? I may get my own copy then! 😀 It sounds perfect for me.
    I appreciate all the different kinds of women that are covered in this book and how the author encourages readers to continue learning about all the amazing women of the world.
    I wish more book blogs covered books like this one!

    • Jackie B October 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      You should definitely try to grab it! I am sooo happy I own a physical copy of this book. It is a great addition to my bookshelf. 🙂 And it is definitely perfect for you. A quick and inspiring read, for certain. I really want to read the U.S. version of the book too, mostly for comparison.

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom October 6, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Girl power! I am typically not one for nonfiction, however I think this one could be a winner. I need to write a review for Blogging for Books, then I can request a new book!

    Great review Jackie!

  • Lost In A Good Book October 6, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    That sounds excellent. I have an 8 year old daughter, and just last night we were discussing a book she read in class about a little girl in Iran going to a secret school. I brought up Malala. I can’t believe I just requested another book on Blogging for Books and now I’m stuck. lol This is going on my wish list for sure. Excellent review!

    • Jackie B October 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks, Crystal! I appreciate the accolades. 🙂
      I’m glad to hear your daughter is learning about what’s going on in Iran– Malala’s memoir was fascinating!
      Shame about your book request… I can relate to that feeling! I tend to stalk the books for a few days before my post goes up to ensure I pick the right one for me next. I’m learning patience, that’s for sure.

  • M @ A Blog Of One's Own October 9, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Oh my god, this books looks and sounds so awesome I think I need it right now! And I love that it covers such a wide time span in the selection of women despite the relatively low number of biographies in it.

    • Jackie B October 9, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      Right?! That really stuck out to me, too. I love that about this book. You definitely should check it out, it’s just as awesome as it sounds. 🙂

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