Best selling author Brad Meltzer is known for his thrillers. Now, Meltzer is trying his hand at childrens’ books. Meltzer’s books I am Amelia Earhart and I am Abraham Lincoln, released in January 2014, are the first two in a six-book deal with Dial Books of kid-friendly, historical picture books. His books about Rosa Parks and Albert Einstein will be out later this year.
Meltzer said that he got the idea after growing tired of seeing athletes and reality television stars being portrayed to children — including his own son and daughter — as heroes. He wanted to help children to be able to choose heroes who actually overcame things to accomplish their dreams.
We applaud Melzer for his willingness to go beyond the established pattern of writing sterile history books for children. There are many historical figures that deserve a more comprehensive treatment. Calling Abraham Lincoln and Amelia Earhart heroes in juvenile literature is an approach that we find refreshing.
Meltzer said that he hopes parents will also love the books and will appreciate the bits of humor he has sprinkled throughout his stories. His desire is that the series become something that parents and children can share and love together. Currently working on his fifth thriller, Meltzer said that he recently had a friend tell him that his children’s books are the most important ones he will write in his life.
We agree that the books he writes for young readers could very well be the most important ones he does write. Children learn the history to which they are exposed. While there are a lot of children’s books that focus on historical figures, most are merely descriptive–laden with facts and simplistic descriptions of the person’s life. The genre will greatly benefit from Meltzer’s more comprehensive treatment of laudable historical figures.
We are excited to see the next batch of books from this project later this year.