May 2014

Hey friends

Hope you’re well.

Man oh man oh man, it is spring and I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see it here. Debbie and I took a walk through the woods yesterday and heard the spring peepers for the first time (with the wood frogs clacking in the background).



My time off the road (ha ha ha ha) is almost done, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had a busier three months. Hmmm. It’s my mind I need a vacation from.

I’ve been working on a new story about our planet “Home – Stories from Where we Live”, which I debuted in Indianapolis, and have a lot of time the past month walking back in forth in my studio, trying to remember 10,000 words!, all the while watching the birds fly around my backyard while I look out the window. This is all very appropriate since a lot of the piece is about the land I’m looking out on as I practice.

Charlie Bumpers news  

Charlie Bumpers vs the Really Nice GnomeBig news is that Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice Gnome is out and we’re pretty friggin’ excited about it. There’s an audio book of it, too, which I highly recommend for long car rides. Two hours of a fourth grader getting in trouble – what else could anyone ask for?

This fall, Charlie will be back with Charlie Bumpers vs. the Squeaking Skull and I’m just starting to work on the fourth installment of our fourth grade hero.

And the first in the series Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year is Parents' Choice Recommended, on the 2014-15 Horned Toad Tales List and has been nominated for a Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award and a 2015 RI Children's Book Award!

Lost and Found news    
  I'm happy to say that Lost and Found was just announced as an Honor Book Grades 2-3 winner in the 2013-2014 Great Lakes' Great Books Awards from the Michigan Reading Association as well as Parents' Choice Approved, Bank Street Best Children's Books 2013 and Society of School Librarians International Book Awards 2013 (honor book, Language Arts picture books). It's also been nominated for pile of other awards for 2014-2015 from the following States: Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Maine, Delaware, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Maine and South Carolina. 

If any of you are reading my books in your schools and would like to schedule a Skype visit (a conversation with the author ) contact Debbie
It's not the same as me showing up with my guitar but it's a great way to connect with students and teachers while the reading experience is fresh!
A Walk Around the Block Video  


I am absolutely delighted to let you know about our newest music video "A Walk Around the Block", which you can view above. "Walk" has been a big hit on Sirius/Xm KidsPlace LIve for the past couple of years (so popular it was voted off the air for a week by moms who were sick of hearing!). Now, with the help of a wonderful animation artist from Australia (Laura Dowling), the song take on a whole new meaning. The process has been long and painstaking; every time Laura has come up with a segment, Debbie, Michele and I have stopped everything we're doing to look at it. Now you get to see it, too. I absolutely love this, and hope you do, too. Thanks to Laura, Pamela Pegg and my friend Kim Weitkamp at TreeHouse Artists who made the connection for us.

When I first heard "A Walk Around the Block" I was so excited to be making a video for it! Bill's lyrics took me on quite the adventure and I wanted to make sure the visuals captured the limitless imagination of the little boy. "A Walk Around The Block" was probably the most fun I've ever had making a video. I was kinda sad when I reached the end of the song, I miss that little kid and seeing where he'll go next!

You can see more of Laura's work on these links:

See below for details about the contest!

Ashokan Family Camp  

Ashokan Music & Dance CampsIf you’re looking for something to do this summer with your family, let me highly recommend the Ashokan Family Camp in Olivebridge, NY on August 17-21. Dancing, music, storytelling, puppetry and a general good time for all. I’ll be there with my friends Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Ingrid Crepeau, Michele Valeri, Billy Jonas, and a bunch of other talented folks. I’m looking forward to it.

Visit their website to find out more:

Woodys Children  

90.7 wfuv.orgOn Sunday May 11 at 4pm, Bill's music will be played on "Woodys Children" a show that features music by singer-songwriters who are following in the steps of Woody Guthrie. To learn more about the show and it's host Bob Sherman visit

So if you're around New York City tune into 90.7 WFUV be sure to tune in. Heck, you can start listening this Sunday. If you're not near NYC, you can stream it on or you can listen to the archives: it'll be posted on the Woody's Children program page for two weeks after the show.


Lots of festivals coming up, starting with the New Bedford Folk Festival (MA) and the Sierra Storytelling Festival (CA) in July, then the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival (UT) in August, followed by the Lititz Storytelling Festival (PA) and the Cave Run Storytelling Festival (KY) in September and the National Storytelling Festival (TN), all before a trip to Japan for shows and conferences in November. And that's just the festivals. Check the online calendar to see if there's a show near you:


I’m a big fan of the Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski, and really enjoyed his book Travels With Herodotus. I’ve also been deeply moved by Elizabeth Kolbert’s reporting in The Sixth Extinction, and David Abram’s Becoming Animal – both serving me in the development of my new storytelling piece “Home”. For my background work on the theater piece I’m working on, I also just reread Grapes of Wrath – what a great piece of writing it is.

And I think I said this before, but I reread Wonder by R.J. Palacio and really liked it.

As always, I love to know what you're reading, so drop us a line with your recommendations:

Updates to the website  

We've been making some tweaks to the website and it's an ongoing process. We've added some new pages about Bill's Author Visits, Concerts and Conferences, as well as pages about Bill's books. We've updated the Online Radio and are working on the Video Page. If you can't find something, drop us a note and we'll let you know what's happened to it.

The book pages will continued to be updated because there are always new books and we keep thinking of things to add! We're trying to add more "educational" things to each of the pages, but if you're a teacher and you've done an interesting lesson plan using one of Bill's books, please share it with us. In the past we've given a free Bill Harley CD to anyone who submits a lesson plan or idea and we're still doing that! Email with your lesson plan, which CD you'd like and your mailing address.

Video Contest  

Enter a chance to win a copy of The Best Candy in the Whole World which features "A Walk Around the Block". All you have to do is send us an email telling us what your Mom or Dad says whenever you're driving her or him crazy OR send us a picture of something from a walk around your block (or where you'd like to walk). Visit our contest page for all the details.

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