Charlie Bumpers vs. The Teacher of the Year

by Bill Harley (2013)

Read to Them is excited to introduce a new series to all our current and prospective schools and districts looking for the perfect entrée into Family Literacy.

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year follows a long line of successful titles that put student readers in the classroom with their protagonists – stories like Frindle, The Lemonade War, and The World According to Humphrey.

For a school story to be successful, it needs a nice blend of the current and the sweet, characters who interact realistically, teasing each other, not always being perfectly respectful or polite. Somehow each author manages to spin a tale with wholesome, memorable lessons that keep you coming back for more, sharing, re-reading, and gobbling up the sequels.

Charlie Bumpers does all of these things with easy grace and style. Harley’s genius is to make sure we see the world through kids’ eyes. The adults are there primarily as foils.  They just don’t understand about homework, about what’s cool and not cool, and about what motivates students to make relatively innocent mistakes.

Charlie Bumpers will be accessible for new read-aloud families, while being funny and stimulating to ALL our readers. The prose is simple and declarative, and yet rich, too. Harley makes it look easy and can drop a memorable simile anytime, like when Charlie describes the ever-alert Mrs. Burke as an egret on the lookout for minnows.   And, he accomplishes all of this while pacing his tale with plenty of carefully honed single-sentence paragraphs that ensure each chapter has unflagging momentum.

Some may know of Bill Harley from his many recordings, or perhaps from his award-winning middle schools titles like The Night of the Spadefoot Toads.

We’d like all our One School, One Book and One District, One Book schools to take a good look and meet Charlie Bumpers. We expect he’ll be just as popular as the redoubtable Humphrey the hamster, and perhaps even more accessible. Introduce the Charlie Bumpers series to your families and feed their hungry reading habit with 7 titles, and counting.  And help us make the culture of literacy that much more pervasive.

If you’re looking for the next Humphrey, his name is Charlie Bumpers.