Writer Kate Schatz loves biographies, and she loves history even more.
Even as a kid, Schatz knew she wanted to write books for younger readers.
But after she had children and found herself inundated with kids' books, she realized something was missing: books about badass women.
So Schatz set out to find women that young girls could look up to, women who might have been overlooked in the past. Then she worked with illustrator Miriam Klein Stahl to create a visually stunning nonfiction alphabet book about the women she found.
Her newest book, "Rad Women Worldwide," is a celebration of generations of rad women challenging norms.
It teaches kids about women who fought the patriarchy (and anyone who dared get in their way) to become leaders in science, politics, fine arts, athletics, and even the high seas. (Yeah, this book has a lady pirate.)
"Right now, especially as we're in this incredibly xenophobic, racist, horrible political moment, just how important it is to make sure kids are thinking about and learning about the rest of the world, other cultures, other countries," Schatz said.
Biographies of 40 women from 30 countries found a literary home in this easy-to-read book, complete with sharp paper-cut illustrations.
They're stories that kids (and their parents) need to hear, see, and remember. They're stories that stoke imaginations. Simply put, these are stories that can change the world.
Here are five I can't stop thinking about:
1. Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, Uganda
She's only 36, but she's known as the "mother of the gay rights movement" in Uganda, an East African nation where homosexuality is illegal.
A tireless activist and advocate, Nabagesera lives under constant threat of harassment, violent attacks, and even death. But she stands firm. She's won't leave Uganda or the people she fights for.
2. Dame Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira, New Zealand
The Māori people call New Zealand and the greater South Pacific home, but as more non-Māori people moved into the region, the indigenous language was replaced with English.
Mataira decided to save the language from extinction. She set up tutors and immersion schools and even wrote novels and kids books in Māori. Today, it's the official language of New Zealand, and as of 2013, 21% of Māori people can speak it, up from 5% in 1971.
3. Grace "Granuaile" O'Malley, Ireland
In the 1530s, young Grace O'Malley wanted to sail so badly that she cut off her hair, dressed in boy's clothes, and hit the high seas. When her father died, she took over his fleet of ships, and when her husband (an Irish chieftain) died, many of clansman joined her side.
As the English took over Irish clans one by one, O'Malley would not be moved. She escaped capture and led a rebellion at nearly 60 years old. She suffered no fools and took no shit. As such, she was one of the bravest pirates to ever live.
4. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar
When her father, a famous general who promoted Burmese independence, was assassinated, he became a national hero. Though Aung San Suu Kyi was just a toddler at the time and grew up mostly outside of Burma, she knew she'd one day complete her father's mission.
In the late 1980s, Aung San Suu Kyi returned to Burma (which was under the rule of a dangerous military government at the time). She started a brand-new political party. For her efforts, she spent the better part of 20 years under detention or house arrest. She wasn't allowed to see her family and could only occasionally venture outside. Aung San Suu Kyi was released in 2010 and in 2015, she won a seat in Parliament.
5. Bastardilla, Colombia
Bastardilla is a Colombian artist making larger-than-life murals and paintings on the streets of Bogotá. Much of her work depicts women — women working, living, and taking back their communities from the grips of violence.
Her work is empowering, beautiful, and thanks to handfuls of glitter along the way, truly dazzling.
A book like this could easily include thousands, if not millions, of entries.
"I'm at a point with these books where ... everyone I know and encounter wants to tell me about a cool person they've heard of," Schatz said.
It's great for a research junkie like Schatz, but it means some really amazing women didn't make the cut. That's why in addition to the 40 biographies, readers will find a glossary of additional accomplished, amazing women to learn about. The list allows you to search by country and discover the women who've shaped our world.
And the best part? These stories are just the beginning.
History is being written every day by the next generation of women with guts. No matter where you live or what your passions are, it's time to roll up our sleeves and get crackin'.