Ordinary People Change the World

Brad Meltzer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of adult thrillers (including The Inner Circle and its recent sequel, The Fifth Assassin). His two nonfiction gift books, Heroes for My Son and Heroes for My Daughter were New York Times Bestsellers as well, and he has won the prestigious Eisner Award for his comic book work, Justice League of America. Brad is also the host of the History Channel TV show Brad Meltzer's Decoded. For more information, visit: www.bradmeltzer.com


Christopher Eliopoulos (www.chriseliopoulos.com and www.miserylovessherman.com) began his illustration career as a letterer for Marvel, and has worked on literally thousands of comics. But along with that, he is also the author/artist of many comics, including the popular series Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers and Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius, for which he was nominated for multiple Eisner Awards and received a Harvey Award. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and their identical twin sons.

A personal note from Brad

What do you stand for?

And let's be clear here. The question isn't: What would you like to stand for?

What do you actually stand for? What do you represent? Or to ask it more bluntly: if you disappeared, what would people remember you for?

For over fifteen years, thanks to so many of you, I've been able to write and sell thrillers. I love my novels. But when it comes to what people will remember me for, I hope it's this...my newest project.

It began three years ago when my daughter was looking for clothes to wear and all she could find were pink shirts with Disney princesses on them. I saw the mission right there.

I wanted my kids to see more than princesses and sports figures. I wanted them to see real heroes — Amelia Earhart...Abraham Lincoln — real people no different than themselves. For that reason, each book tells the story of a hero when THEY were a kid. We see them as children. So it's not just Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln being famous — but them being just like us.

The end result is a new line of children's nonfiction picture books. The first two books — I AM AMELIA EARHART and I AM ABRAHAM LINCOLN will launch in January 2014, with books on Rosa Parks and others following six months later. My publisher's hope is to create a true franchise in the children's book world. For me, though, that's not the important part.

For me, this isn't just a book series. It's my dream for my daughter. My dream for my sons. My dream for all of us who need to see the power of an ordinary person...and the power — and potential — in each of us.

Look around. We live in a world that is starving for heroes. This is my solution.

This is our beginning. You are our first readers. If you like the books, please share them with a child you love. As always, I'm sending you love and thanks just for that.

You changed my life once. Here's our chance to change the world.

Bestselling Author and Host of History Channel's Decoded

Q: Brad, you're a busy a guy.  You write adult novels.  You star on The History Channel's Decoded.  You write comic books.  Why did you decide to write a picture book series?

A: Blame my daughter.  A few years back, I was looking for clothing for her and all I could find were shirts with princesses on them.  And I thought, as someone who's around so much history:  There are so many better heroes I can give her.  So I asked a friend to draw me a cartoon picture of Amelia Earhart.  I wrote the words "I Am Amelia Earhart" on it — and on the back I wrote, "I know no bounds."  My daughter loved it.  Then my wife wanted one.  And her friends wanted one.  And the more I told her about Amelia Earhart, the more she fell in love.  It made me realize:  Once our kids hear about these real American heroes, they react the same way we all do.  They're inspired.  They dream bigger.  They work harder.  Right there, these books were born.

Q: What made you start your series with a focus on Amelia Earhart and Abraham Lincoln?

A: If you're gonna do books about heroes, might as well start with the best ones.  Amelia Earhart's whole life is about taking chances, being brave, and finding the strength to do what everyone else said couldn't be done.  Lincoln's life is just as powerful, especially when you see how many times he stood up for others.  But what I love most is that we start with their childhoods.  You see Amelia Earhart as a little girl, building a homemade roller coaster in her backyard; you see Lincoln as a boy, standing up to local bullies.  For our kids and for us, these aren't just the stories of famous people.  They're what we're all capable of on our very best days.

Q:  When you were a kid, who were some of your heroes?

A: I always loved Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers.  Plus my grandfather, who used to make up stories for me.  They all taught me the power of kindness — and the power of a well told story.  Those lessons were never forgotten.

Q:  Who are some heroes in today's world that you think are great role models for today's children?

A: We all love to complain that there are no current heroes today.  But the truth is there are heroes everywhere.  Forget about obvious ones like Nelson Mandela or Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz Cooney.  There's also policemen like Frank Shankwitz, who helped a little boy with leukemia ride a toy motorcycle and then used the idea to come up with the idea for the Make-A-Wish Foundation...or Team Hoyt, where father pushes his son in a wheelchair through marathon after marathon.  Look around.  Heroes are far more local than you think.

Q: How'd you chose your illustrator, Christopher Eliopoulos?

A: I know Chris's work from comics, but the reason I was so insistent about working with him was he can do that Calvin & Hobbes/Peanuts thing where the characters aren't just funny — they're lovable.  You dream with them, fail with them, and smile with them.  It's so much harder than you think.  Chris's superpower is just that:  love.

Q:  Who are some of the heroes you'll be writing about in future titles?

A: Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Jackie Robinson, plus my daughter wants Lucille Ball.  The list gets longer every day.