Mightier than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing

I'm pleased to offer my space to a special guest today! Rochelle Melander is stopping by the blog to tell you about her new book, Mightier than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing. As fans of the written word, I think we will all find room in our hearts and libraries for this title! 

How Young Writers Can Change the World

By Rochelle Melander

About the book:

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. Readers will meet several young people who used writing to change the world. Sophie Cruz was five years old when she wrote and delivered a letter to the pope pleading for immigration reform. Sonita Alizadeh wrote and performed a rap song to protest child marriage—and saved herself from becoming a teenaged bride. And Anne Frank, writing while in hiding during World War II, hoped that her diary might be published to educate people about the injustices faced by Jewish people.

When They Were Young

When I wrote Mightier than the Sword, I was surprised and delighted to discover how many of the people I admired had wanted to be writers when they were children. Here are three of their stories:

George Orwell: From Young Poet to Police Officer

As a young person, George Orwell admired the book A Modern Utopia by H. G. Wells and wanted to someday write a novel in the same style. As a middle grade student at a boarding school, he wrote poetry, getting two pieces published in the local newspaper. Although he went to college and helped produce a college magazine, he wasn’t a very good scholar. His family encouraged him to join the police. Although he worked for several years in India as a police officer, the job wasn’t a good fit. He decided to try his hand at writing. He wrote essays and literary criticism before turning to novels. When Orwell wrote 1984, he took the idea of a utopia and distorted it, creating a dystopian society.

Rachel Carson: From Stories to Science

When she was ten, Rachel Carson won a short story contest. She knew she wanted to be a writer and went to college to study literature. When she took biology, she fell in love with the natural world. She studied science, earning a master’s degree from John Hopkins University. Carson got her big break when the head of the Bureau of Fisheries asked her to revise a bad script about sea life. That writing assignment led to a full-time job as a biologist. She published an article about sea life in The Atlantic, which led to her first book, Under the Sea-Wind: A Naturalist’s Picture of Ocean Life. Her second book, The Sea Around Us, became a New York Times bestseller and she was able to quit her job to write full time. Later in life, Carson investigated the effects of pesticides on wildlife and humans, becoming a tenacious advocate for the earth through her writing. 

Mary Garber: From Newspaper Reporter to Advocate

Mary Garber, who was one of the first female sportswriters in the country, was eight years old when she decided she wanted to be a newspaper reporter. When her parents asked her to write to her grandparents, she created a newspaper. She said, “I took a piece of notebook paper and drew out a newspaper. Then I put all the things that children would usually write to their grandparents in as news stories and wrote headlines on them and reported all that went on in our family that I would ordinarily have written in a letter. I called it the Garber News.” She wrote for her college newspaper and, after much persistence, finally got a job working for her hometown paper. When she got her big break as a sportswriter, she became known for covering all of the high school games, including at the Black high schools (something the paper hadn’t done before). Garber became known as an advocate for Black athletes and coaches. She was the first woman to win sports journalism’s highest honor, the Red Smith Award. 

Young readers: It’s your turn

I hope young 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 will try the exercises in the book and then use their voices to change the world—within and around them.

About the Author:

Rochelle Melander wrote her first book at seven and has published 11 books for adults, including Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) and Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity.  She’s a professional certified coach, an artist educator and the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop for young people. Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing is her debut book for children. She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, children, and two dogs. Visit her online at writenowcoach.com or rochellemelander.com

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Just got my copy of this beautiful book and I couldn't be more pleased. What an incredible anthology of amazing and diverse writers. I would have loved this book as a child : )


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