Author Brad Meltzer makes his living telling stories to everyone. Some are fiction, some are nonfiction, some are comics, and many are for kids. Ten years ago, Meltzer and his collaborator, artist and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos, launched the bestselling children's book series called "Ordinary People Change the World," which now has over 7 million books in print. Their latest in the series, "I am Ruth Bader Ginsburg," looks at the life of the first Jewish woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. The following interview was slighted edited for clarity.

Henry Santoro: Brad Meltzer, you and I have been doing these interviews for a long time. I think it's 21 years, to be exact. Brad, welcome back.

This "I am" series of books has taken on a life of its own for you and your collaborating partner. But we have your kids to thank it, don't we?

Brad Meltzer: Thank or blame — I'm not sure. But yes, this series started because I wanted my own kids to have better heroes to look up to, to have heroes of compassion and how to teach them kindness. And I tell my kids, having a big company or being really wealthy ... doesn't make you a hero. You've got to think of someone beside yourself. And that's where the whole series was born: "I am Amelia Earhart," "I am Abraham Lincoln," "I am Rosa Parks," and ten years’ worth of stories.

Santoro: Congratulations on those ten years. By my count, there are 32 different "I am" books. Is that correct?

Meltzer: I can't believe I wrote 32 different books, but yes, it's a crazy number.

Santoro: What was the first and how, if at all, have they changed over the past ten years?

Meltzer: It's a good question. So the first ones were "I am Amelia Earhart" and "I am Abraham Lincoln," which came out together. And the thing that has changed is those books were a kind of simpler version of it, and probably why more people buy them for their younger children, 4- or 5- or 6-year-old.

As my kids got older, the books got a little older, and went to ages 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. And I just felt like the books needed even more depth, they needed to deal with the harder things. And the truth is, the books start dealing with harder subjects. So we were doing Harriet Tubman to teach about slavery, and we weren't going to leave out slavery. We did "I am Anne Frank" to deal with the Holocaust, and we worked with the Holocaust Museum to make sure we did it appropriately.

It's one thing when you're saying, "I want to fly an airplane." But it's a very different one when you say, "How am I going to deal with antisemitism and give my child a book where we can talk about such a thing?"

Santoro: All these books start off with these subjects as young children. In the case of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I had no idea that she went through a few name changes before her parents settled on Ruth.

Meltzer: By the way, that is one of my favorite details in the whole book. And her name is not Ruth. Her name is Joan. But in kindergarten, there were so many girls named Joan, that her family started calling her Ruth, which was her middle name. And I love the fact that here is Ruth Bader Ginsburg — who we all know, the great icon — and it's just because there were a lot of Joan's in her class in kindergarten, that we have the icon we have today.

Santoro: And her younger sibling was calling her Kiki?

Meltzer: Kiki [kick-ee] because she was such a kicky baby. So, she was definitely having name issues as a little girl.

Santoro: And not only was she having name issues and was kicky as a little kid, but she wanted to hang out with the boys and climb trees and get on roofs of houses. She didn't really want to knit or sew.

Meltzer: Right. And back then, girls weren't supposed to have adventures like that. In the books she was reading, the boys went on adventures and the girls sat around in pretty pink dresses. But it was her mother who broke that stereotype. Her mother used to take her every Friday afternoon to the library, and she told her, as a little girl, "Ruth, you can take out five books." And the books that she loved most were about real heroes, Amelia Earhart and Harriet Tubman. And in those books, young Ruth Bader Ginsburg learned the most valuable lesson, probably of her life, which is there's absolutely nothing that a girl can't do. And I want that lesson for my daughter. I want that lesson for my son. That's what "I am Ruth Bader Ginsburg" as a book is all about.

Santoro: That's right. And she lived that credo 'til her dying day.

Meltzer: And the thing about that credo is that she used to see that injustice was a fracture in society. Hatred was a fracture in society, and those fractures need to be repaired.

So when she was a little girl, rather than having birthday parties, her mother used to take her to the local Jewish orphanage. And instead of having a party for her, they would give out ice cream to the orphans. My kids would go crazy if I took away their birthday party, but Ruth's parents took it away. But they taught her how to serve people. And what they taught her is that's how you deal with injustice; you make change yourself. That's not a lesson she learned in law school. It's not a lesson she learned when she went to Harvard or Columbia. It's a lesson she learned from her mom.

And to me, that lesson of fighting to make change and putting good in the world is the same thing that our books do. That's all we're trying to do, is use these books as a way to teach my own kids.

Santoro: Brad Meltzer is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the "Ordinary People Change the World" books. Something tells me that he and artist and illustrator Christopher Eliopoulos are just getting started with the series, even though it's 32 books deep already. Brad, as always, a great pleasure.

Meltzer: Thank you so much, and thanks for being there from the very first book.