Mightier Than the Sword

Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing

By Rochelle Melander

Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing is a middle grade social justice book that tells the stories of historical and contemporary writers, activists, scientists, and leaders who used writing to make a difference in their lives and the world. The stories are accompanied by writing and creative exercises to help readers discover how they can use writing to explore ideas and ask for change. Sidebars explore types of writing, fun facts, and further resources.

Readers will be inspired by the tales of people just like them who used writing to change the world. Young people may not know or believe that writing their stories and speaking up for others can change the course of history. But it has. And it will. I hope readers use their voices to change the world—within and around them.

This book will appeal to children and teens who are:

  • fascinated by true tales of remarkable people and events throughout history
  • curious about history, literature, art, science, math, politics, and technology
  • concerned about injustices in their family, school, community, state, and country
  • frustrated by their inability to be heard or to make a difference in the world
  • interested in interactive books that invite them to create and take action
  • excited to use writing and art to inspire and educate others
  • interested in diverse topics and people

This book will appeal to teachers, librarians, homeschooling parents, and community leaders who are looking for resources that:

  • Support the common core. MIGHTIER features crucial stories of important people and texts in history, embracing topics from across the curriculum. MIGHTIER also provides tools to help readers understand and interact with the texts through writing and creative exercises.
  • Offer strong writing exercises. With the emphasis on STEAM, some students don’t get enough writing education. MIGHTIER offers writing exercises, writing lessons, and interactive art activities that are tied to the stories of famous people in multiple disciplines. In many ways, MIGHTIER offers a ‘done for you’ plan for teachers.



Read what reviewers are saying:

“An inspiring and empowering collection spotlighting diverse activists throughout history who have used the power of the pen to make a difference. Mightier Than the Sword is a hopeful celebration of the written word.” —Aileen Weintraub, author of We Got Game! 35 Female Athletes Who Changed the World

“Whether you read from front to back or dip into the profiles using the helpful table of contents, this is a must-have resource for teachers and young writers. Writers of any age will want this book.”           —Sandy Brehl, educator and author of the Odin’s Promise trilogy and Is It Over?

“Melander shows readers of all ages that writing is an act of creation, bravery, and justice.” —Silvia Acevedo, author of God Awful Rebel, winner of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Spark Award

“Melander ignites writers to own their words and author their futures.” —Dasha Kelly Hamilton, creative change agent, Wisconsin & Milwaukee Poet Laureate

“Packed with a diverse cast of characters, Mightier Than the Sword inspires and instructs. An excellent addition for your school or homeschool!” —Jennifer L. W. Fink, creator of Building Boys and cohost of On Boys parenting podcast

“Young readers hoping to write will find inspiration in every chapter. Young readers who love true stories will find hope in future paths of their own. Mightier Than the Sword is a grand addition to any library–public or personal.” —Kelly Milner Halls, author of Voices of Young Heroes, Mystery of the Titanic, Cryptid Creatures: A Field Guide, and more than fifty other books for young readers

“What a delightful book! This accessible collection of mini-biographies celebrates an incredible variety of people who have taken action through writing. Melander’s book will inspire readers to use their own words for good.” —Karla Manternach, author of the Meena Zee children’s books

“Exceptionally well researched, the book features writers from ancient times through the present who represent genres ranging from haiku to hip-hop. This book is chock-full of writing exercises and would be an asset to every teacher’s classroom library.” —Judy Dodge Cummings , Author of Rebels and Revolutions: Real Tales of Radical Change in America

“Melander selects a fascinating group of people from all corners of history and brings them to life for even the most reluctant reader. Her interactive writing exercises demonstrate, as she says, that ‘your words have the power to transform you and your world.’ A truly inspirational book!” —Jane Kelley, author of many nonfiction books for children, as well as several middle-grade novels

Mightier Than the Sword is a goldmine of short bios of writers from the 900s through today who used their writing to make a difference. This book is an invaluable resource for young people both in introducing them to so many amazing writers and in guiding them to find their own voices and have the courage to express their views.” —Janet Halfmann, award-winning author of more than forty fiction and nonfiction books for children

“This delightful anthology of writers from the past and present takes readers on their own journeys to discover how they can take up the sword of writing to change the world.” —Ann Angel, author of Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing, winner of the 2011 YALSA award

Perfectly aimed at middle-grade students, Mightier than the Sword is intriguingly written, beautifully illustrated, and an essential read for history, civil rights, and creative writing classes. —Jane Rubietta, award-winning author


rochelle melander