Think of the last time you saw a picture book that was engaging and inspiring to people of all ages. Now, think of a book like this that is written by and features a diverse cast of women. You probably don’t have many examples of such a book. City Lights Publishers, however, has given us just this book with their release of Rad American Women A-Z (spring 2015), written by Kate Schatz and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl. To celebrate the many rad women that the book features, City Lights is creating a video blog series in which other awesome women read entries from the book. On September 9, 2015, Maris Dyer – intern at City Lights – took a look at the new project on City Lights’ blog and released the first video, featuring former editor of ACLU News Elaine Elison reading “L is for Lucy Parsons.”
Rad American Women A-Z is a joyous celebration of women. It is an alphabet book, with each letter entry featuring a different woman and highlighting her story and achievements. As the blog post says, the “alphabet book illustrates revolutionary American women throughout history, some well-known and others less-so, starting with A for Angela Davis, B for Billie Jean King, and C for Carol Burnett.” The collection showcases 26 diverse woman, and the entries span across many different professions and eras, from artists, scientists, abolitionists, and everything in between.
Named “Rad Women Read Rad American Women,” the video blog brings in influential and simply awesome women from around the Bay Area to the City Lights office to read from the book. Elaine Elison is the first on the list of 26 guests, who (aside from being the former editor of ACLU News) is also a writer, editor, researcher, and communications consultant. She read about Lucy Parsons, an activist who worked for justice in women’s issues, worker’s rights, and racism in the late 1800s and early 1900s. As is written in her entry, Parsons fought to make “America a fair place for all.” After reading Lucy’s entry, Elison explained why she chose Lucy: “I’m a big fan of Lucy Parsons. […] we all need to learn from her boldness and courage.” Elison finished her reading by giving advice to young women about how to become rad: “believe in yourself, join hands with your sisters, and stand up for what you believe in.”
City Lights will be releasing a new video each week until they finish all 26 entries. Check City Lights’ blog each week for new entries!