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Brad Meltzer: Changing the World, One Little Hero At a Time

Could the answer to the tone of discourse in this country lie in a series of picture books for children? It might be putting a lot of pressure on a publication, but Brad Meltzer is up for the challenge.

Meltzer is the author of numerous thrillers for adult audiences and has hosted a couple of series on the History Channel, most recently Brad Meltzer’s Decoded.

But he’s also author of a growing series of picture books aimed at elementary school-aged readers, a first person series called Ordinary People Change the World.

And, the most recent titles, I Am Gandhi and I Am Sacagaweaare just out. The books look at the lives of world leaders as children, something inspired by Meltzer's experiences with his own kids. 

"If I gave my daughter the facts and the years, she was uninterested. When I gave her the things... that the hero did when they were a kid? She was mesmerized, because then it could be her," he says. 

Meltzer says the series provides examples of real leaders, but makes them relatable for young audiences. He believes people of all ages are "starving for heroes now."

Meltzer hopes the series can express core, moral beliefs that everyone can get behind.  "We have a problem right now. We’re a culture at war. We don’t listen to each other - it’s why I wrote I Am Gandhi. It was the book I wrote to teach my kids no one wins in a fight. And all we’re doing as a culture is fighting - ripping each other’s heads off. We’ve played this amazing game for the past few years of 'us vs. them.' But I’m tired of 'us vs. them' - it’s time to get back to 'we.'"