Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women Book Poster Image
Inspiring stories of girls who made their mark on the world.

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age 18+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The short biographies are packed with personal details and historical information. Explanations of possibly unfamiliar references -- like the role of a plaintiff, what it means to be transgender, or what distinguishes Tejano music -- help provide context. Includes resources to learn more about each girl and group profiled.

Positive Messages

There are countless ways to help make the world a better place, and each has value. Small steps can lead to great change. Be open and honest about your values and speak your truth. Taking smart risks can be life-changing. Collaborate with people who share your interests. You can learn to do new things with practice, patience, and creativity. Be inspired by amazing girls who've gone ahead of you, but blaze your own trail.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each of the more than 100 girls presented is a strong role model who made her voice heard. In addition to demonstrating passion, resilience, and creativity, many of the girls exemplify leadership, courage, problem-solving, and innovation.


Some of the girls and women suffer violence, including being shot, abused, sexually assaulted, bullied, and executed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rad Girls Can: Stories of Bold, Brave, and Brilliant Young Women is a compilation of profiles of 49 girls and groups who've achieved great things before the age of 20. Written by Kate Schatz with illustrations Miriam Klein Stahl, it's a companion to their popular Rad American Women A-Z and Rad Women Worldwide books. Rad Girls Can features diverse group of girls born around the world between the 6th and 21st centuries, from military hero Princess Ping Yang to the Radical Monarchs, a social justice troop founded in 2014. Their accomplishments are also wide-ranging, including civil rights, science, sports, business, arts, LGBTQ advocacy, chess, women's rights, military campaigns, and fashion. Some of the profiled girls overcame abuse and persecution, a few were assaulted, and a couple were executed.

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What's the story?

BOLD, BRAVE, AND BRILLIANT YOUNG WOMEN share the inspiring stories of dozens of girls who've found ways to shape the world around them. In addition to much-celebrated heroes like Anne Frank, Malala Yousafzai, and Joan of Arc, the book features girls who probably aren't household names, such as Cordelia Longo, who campaigned for her school to provide free tampons and pads; Mexican-American labor activist Emma Tenayuca; and Marley Dias, who created the #1000blackgirlsbooks campaign.

Is it any good?

With this enjoyable collection of short profiles of amazing girls, the creators of the popular Rad Women books hope to inspire young readers to find ways they want to change the world for the better. Rad Girls Can showcases some heroines who've taken on almost mythic status, like the Mongol warrior Khutulun, but many are modern-era girls readers can easily relate to.

Kate Schatz's concise, engaging stories are accompanied by Miriam Klein Stahl's arresting cut-paper portraits make each page feel fresh. Readers are invited to add their own "rad" story, and are offered solid tips on how to transform ideas into action.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the variety of achievements presented in Rad Girls Can. Which of the girls' stories meant something to you? Do you have anything in common with them?

  • Which women in your life support and encourage you? Who inspires you?

  • Who else would you include in this book?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love strong women and girls

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