Mightier Than the Sword : Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries by Rochelle Melander

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

Rochelle Melander, Author

Melina Ontiveros, Illustrator

Beaming Books, Nonfiction, Jul. 27, 2021

Suitable for Ages: 8-13

Themes: Biographies, Changing the world, Social justice, Writing

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Throughout history, people have picked up their pens and wielded their words–transforming their lives, their communities, and beyond. Now it’s your turn!

Representing a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences, Mightier Than the Sword connects over forty inspiring biographies with life-changing writing activities and tips, showing readers just how much their own words can make a difference. Readers will explore nature with Rachel Carson, experience the beginning of the Reformation with Martin Luther, champion women’s rights with Sojourner Truth, and many more.

These richly illustrated stories of inspiring speechmakers, scientists, explorers, authors, poets, activists, and even other kids and young adults will engage and encourage young people to pay attention to their world, to honor their own ideas and dreams, and to embrace the transformative power of words to bring good to the world.

Why I like Mightier Than the Sword:

Mightier Than the Sword is for young people who dream of someday making a difference in their world.  Rochelle Melander show students that they can make a difference through the power of their pens, just like inspiring writing reformers she features from around the globe. Her book is my favorite kind of book to share with readers.

Melander celebrates the lives and stories of over forty diverse and trailblazing people whose writing transformed history from ancient times (978) through the present. They include Murasaki Shikibu (novelist), Abu Abdullah Muhammed Iban Battuta (traveler/travel guides), Martin Luther (theologian), William Shakespeare (playwright and poet), Phillis Wheatley (poet), Sequoyah (anthropologist), Langston Hughes (poet) Rachel Carson (marine biologist and environmentalist), Patsy Takemoto Mink (lawyer and politician), Anne Frank (diarist), The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., (minister and activist), Gene Luen Yang (cartoonist and graphic novelist) Malala Yousafzai, (activist), and Sonita Alizadeh (rapper and activist).

This wonderful resource book for young people is well-researched and beautifully presented. Each featured writer is given two double-page spreads with colorful portraits and illustrations. Melander includes an interactive writing exercises that accompany each featured individual. Her book can be read from beginning to end, or students can scan the Table of Contents and look up individuals they want to read. Make sure you check out the introduction and the end section book where students receive hands-on writing and editing advice.  

Rochelle Melander is a speaker, a professional certified coach, and the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that encourages young people to write about their lives and dreams for the future. Rochelle wrote her first book at seven and has published eleven books for adults. Mightier Than the Sword is her debut book for children. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Visit her at her interactive website.  Teachers will find activities to use in the classroom. 

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy won on Natalie Aguirre’s website Literary Rambles, where she interviews authors and agents weekly and offers a lot of giveaway opportunities.  Make sure you check out her wonderful site.


About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

21 thoughts on “Mightier Than the Sword : Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries by Rochelle Melander

  1. What a fascinating concept, Patricia. So often we read about people who make a difference with their science, or maths, or sporting feats. Why not with their words? Let’s inspire the future writers of this world and dream that they can make it one in which the pen really is mightier than the sword. There’s too much reliance on the sword at the moment.


    • Yes, I agree with you. Many more are relying on their words to impact social justice. I think of the the young poet Amanda Gorman, who shared her powerful words at Biden’s inauguration. She sees herself as an advocate for change.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree. She was a mighty speaker. Molly Wright, the young seven-year-old talking on TED about parenting is great too. There are a few change-makers coming along in the younger generation, learning to use their voices. It’s a good thing. I think you may have reviewed I Talk Like a River? I read it in the library today. What a great message.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I did enjoy her book. Did I also win a copy of The Wolf’s Curse from you in the fall? You did an interview with Jessica. I received a copy in the mail through Amazon via the author, but that happens in giveaways. But couldn’t remember if it was related to your blog. Usually make a note.


  2. I always enjoy reading about writers and their work. At first I thought this was series based on the cover but I had it mixed up with The Awesome Achievers series that also features images of who is in the book. I hope this one will inspire kids to become writers. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.


    • You would enjoy all of the creative writing suggestions. She includes other elements of writing like letter writing to encourage activism and change in everything from climate change, water dangers in a community etc. She includes a young girl Sophie Cruz who wrote a letter to Pope Francis about her fear of her parents being deported and handed it to him when he visited D.C. The Pope used it in his speech to Congress and Obama invited Sophie to the White House.


  3. A book like this can make a big difference in a child´s life. I recall reading a book about Elenore Rosevelt when I was quite young and so admired her. This book should be in all school libraries.


    • And Eleanor Roosevelt certainly was a role model for girls and used her words to win over the love of a nation. She always responded personally to her correspondence and got involved when she needed to. I have always been a fan too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Books such as these are so crucial to children. Even if their dream is not the same, it gives kids the belief that they can also accomplish something hard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you liked the book! It is such a great book for school libraries. I like how you can read each biography, or pick those that interest you the most. You’re right, the writing activities are excellent.


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