A Note to Readers
Happy National Day on Writing! In 2009, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) founded the event to celebrate writing and writers. And not just literary writers–all writers! When I wrote Mightier Than the Sword, I intentionally chose people who wrote in multiple disciplines. I want young people to see that all kinds of writing make a difference in the world. So I chose to tell the stories of scientists, politicians, journalists, activists, and ordinary kids who used their words to change something that wasn’t working in the world. I love telling these stories and inviting young people to write–so I am giving away three (wow!) 1-hour virtual classroom visits. So enter the contest. And then go celebrate the National Day on Writing by writing or teaching writing or reading some inspirational writing!
Happy writing and reading!
Teaching Mightier Than the Sword
Tell us about your 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. 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.
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
What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?
I hope 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.
How might a teacher or librarian use your book?
- Teach Celebrations. Mightier Than the Sword is a helpful resource for these celebrations like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and National Poetry Month. In fact, I created many of the exercises to mark celebrations with the students in my Dream Keeper’s writing program. Page through the book to find the people who can best help boost your classroom or library’s celebration.
- Teach Your Subject. Mightier Than the Sword is filled with people who wrote from a variety of professions because I wanted young people to see that many people write, not just storytellers. Ada Lovelace created the first computer code. Wang Zhenyi designed an exhibit to explain lunar eclipses. Patsy Mink wrote laws to support inclusion and representation. Subject area teachers can use these stories and exercises to teach young people how they might use writing in science or government. For example, in the section on Patsy Mink, students are given this prompt:What if you took your biggest worries and created legislation to improve people’s lives? Make a list of your worries. Imagine creative ideas for solving these problems. Research, write, and polish these ideas for legislation—and send them to your representative.
- Teach writing. When I researched Mightier Than the Sword, I studied the Common Core to discover the types of writing that students must learn. The exercises in the book reflect some of the standards in the common core, such as writing an opinion piece, an explanatory essay, and a narrative. (Shh! Don’t tell the students! These assignments are disguised as fun exercises!) For example, in the chapter on Hans and Sophie Scholl, young people who created pamphlets to critique the Nazi government’s policies, I invite readers to reflect on critique documents and the various forms they take. They include: the editorial, letter to the editor, political cartoon, video, social media meme, or tweet. Then students are given this writing prompt:If you created a campaign to critique a policy in your school, community, or government, what would it be about? What form would it take? Choose a topic and create a critique document.
- Drop Everything and Read. Do you have D.E.A.R. time in your school? I designed Mightier Than the Sword to be browsable, so that young people could page through it and drop in whenever they found something that interested them. Keep a stack of anthologies in your classroom for young people who want to dip into a book.
- Drop Everything and Write. Because Mightier Than the Sword offers many writing prompts, it’s a perfect tool for daily journaling time. Assign a prompt from the book or invite students to page through on their own.
What books pair well with your book?
Never Too Young!: 50 Unstoppable Kids Who Made a Difference by Aileen Weintraub. This book contains so many amazing stories of young people who are making a difference in the world. Read more about Aileen and her new book We Got Game at The Mighty Writers.
Girl Warriors: How 25 Young Activists are Saving the Earth by Rachel Sarah
Right Now!: Real Kids Speaking Up for Change by Miranda Paul
Enter to win!
I am giving away three 1-hour virtual classroom visits to celebrate the National Day On Writing. You can enter below!
Rochelle Melander is a speaker, certified professional coach, and the bestselling author of twelve books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity and the children’s book, Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing Through her writing and coaching, Rochelle Melander helps writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs overcome distractions and procrastination, design a writing life, turn their ideas into books, navigate the publishing world, and connect with readers through social media. She is the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Visit her online at writenowcoach.com.