Rousing tributes to 26 women who didn’t keep their heads or voices down.
Reserving “X” for “the women whose names we don’t know,” Schatz presents an unusually diverse gallery of activists. Along with the predictable likes of the Grimke sisters, Billie Jean King and Zora Neale Hurston, it includes Patti Smith, blacklisted musical prodigy Hazel Scott, Mexican-American journalist Jovita Idar and transgender performance artist Kate Bornstein. Furthermore, the author extends her definition of “radical” beyond the arenas of politics and social causes to include Florence Griffith-Joyner (“Who showed us how to run like a girl”), Rachel Carson, Temple Grandin and Dr. Virginia Apgar (developer of the Apgar Score for newborns). The author closes with an above-average reading list and activity suggestions that include a pithy second alphabet of “things that you can do to be rad!” Readers will come away energized if not particularly informed by her enthusiastic but vague profiles (“Patti tried working at a regular job, and she tried going to college, but her creative dreams were too powerful to put on hold”). The combination of hair-fine type, bright, monochrome background colors, and stylized, high-contrast portraits at each entry’s head add up to an underground-'zine look overall.
A “rad” alternative to less-inclusive albums, such as Cynthia Chin-Lee, Megan Halsey and Sean Addy’s Amelia to Zora (2005). (websites) (Collective biography. 11-14)