Project Description

Teacher’s Guide

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Teacher of the Year

Part of Charlie Bumpers

by Bill Harley
illustrated by Adam Gustavson

Charlie Bumpers’s worst fear is confirmed: he has Mrs. Burke for fourth grade. How will he survive a year with the strictest teacher in the whole school?

Shortly before school starts, Charlie Bumpers learns that he will be in Mrs. Burke’s class. It doesn’t matter that she’s been named Teacher of the Year. He’s still afraid of her. Last year when he was horsing around in the hall, he accidentally hit her in the head with his sneaker (don’t ask). The exasperated teacher declared that if anything like that ever happened again, Charlie would be banned from recess forever. How will he survive a year under a teacher who is just waiting for him to make another stupid mistake?

This fun series for young readers from Grammy Award-winning author Bill Harley uses humor to illuminate important values such as tolerance, helpfulness, kindness, and making the best of a bad situation. For more on this series, visit the Charlie Bumpers website here.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8
Publication Date: 9/1/2013
Page Count: 160
Size: 5-1/2″ x 7-1/2″
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Price: $6.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-824-0
Publication Date: 9/1/2014
Page Count: 160
Size: 5″ x 7-1/8″
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English
Format: CD
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-770-0
Publication Date: 9/1/2013
Time: est. 2 hours
Size: 5-7/8″ x 5″ x 7/8″
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English
Format: eBook
ISBN: 978-1-56145-847-9
Age Range: 7 – 10
Language: English

Purchase this eBook through the following vendors:

Barnes & Noble

Purchase this Digital Audiobook from the following vendors:


AR Level: 3.5
GRL: Q, Gr 4
Lexile: 510L
BISAC 1: JUV019000 JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
BISAC 3: JUV017030 JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Halloween


“The swift-paced story is powered by peppy repartee between Charlie and the people in his life, as well as his droll internal monologue… Dynamic and skillfully drafted ink-and-watercolor spot illustrations from Gustavson, who illustrated Harley’s Lost and Found, help chronicle the hijinks.” ―Publishers Weekly

“While Charlie seems incapable of avoiding mishaps, he also has some very good qualities, like helpfulness, which will have readers cheering him on…this is a fast-paced, enjoyable first entry in a new chapter-book series.” ―School Library Journal

“Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you. Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid.” ―Kirkus Reviews

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“Narrator Charlie is personable and well-rounded as a Ramona Quimby-esque protagonist who faces a series of kid-familiar challenges in trying his best to do the right thing…readers will welcome him as a bumbling but generous addition to the ranks of novels for novices.” ―The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“An engaging school story in which kids face kid-sized problems like strict teachers and playground disputes. Charlie’s poor judgment often results in sitcom-type humor, but he’s such a kindhearted kid–in a believable way, not a too-sweet way–that readers care about him and share his empathy for others.” ―Common Sense Media

“Kids will relate strongly to the well-meaning but trouble-bound Charlie. All the characters in this book are extremely realistic, and the pen-and-ink drawings will make kids stop reading for a moment just to admire the pages. There’s plenty of humor, and everything that happens in this book is written in a way that makes you think it could actually happen.” ―Blue Owl Reviews

“Young readers will have no problem relating to Charlie and will see the humor in Charlie’s series of blunders. Will easily appeal to the elementary school boy.” ―Boys to Books

“Charlie Bumpers is a cute book that is sure to get the kids laughing… Yes, Charlie sometimes doesn’t think things through but hey, don’t we all! I would recommend this book to any teacher, parent or kid. This would be a fun book to read aloud in the classroom, or great for bedtime read aloud, or even silent reading.” ―Gidget’s Bookworms

“The writing and story in this novel are pitch-perfect for younger middle-grade readers. Charlie and his friends feel like real kids, struggling with real problems. As always, Harley captures childhood perfectly, with a nice dose of his trademark humor and plenty of warmth. This series is sure to be a hit with kids who like reading about real-life kids like themselves and fans of the Horrible Harry series who are a little older now.” ―Great Books for Kids and Teens

“I really enjoyed the character of Charlie Bumpers. While I’ve never been “teacher of the year”, I’ve had several Charlies. Really sweet, good kids that just don’t have it all together… I could see myself (or others) including this book on a unit on Realistic Fiction, Back to School, or to teach the different ways you learn about a character (through their words, their actions, how others treat them/treat others, etc). Or, just for fun!” ―Maestra Amanda’s Bookshelf

“Solid little elementary school reader. We’ll be adding it to our juvenile collection at MPOW and I will recommend it for purchase at the school libraries I assist with collection development. I also plan to buy a copy for my cousin’s child as I think she’ll strongly identify with Charlie.” ―Amy Tureen, Netgalley

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Parents’ Choice Recommended Award ―Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2013

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate) ―Kansas National Education Association 2014

Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award ―Oregon Association of School Libraries, 2015-2016

Virginia Readers’ Choice (Master List) ―Virginia State Reading Association, 2015-2016

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Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―Arkansas Department of Education, 2015-2016

Delaware Diamonds (Nominee, Grades 3-5) ―Diamond State Reading Association, 2014-2015

Flicker Tale Children’s Book Awards (Nominee, Intermediate) ―North Dakota Library Association, 2016

Golden Sower Award (Nominee, Intermediate) ―Nebraska Library Association, 2015-2016

Great Kids Can Read Award (Nominee) ―Greater Kansas City Association of School Librarians, 2015-2016

Massachusetts Children’s Book Award (Master List) ―Salem State College, 2015-2016

Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards (Nominee, Grades 3-6) ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2014-2015

Rhode Island Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―Rhode Island IRA Chapter, RILA, REIMA, 2014-2015

Sequoyah Book Awards (Children’s Master list) ―Oklahoma Library Association, 2016

South Carolina Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―South Carolina Association of School Librarians, 2015-2016

Horned Toad Tales (Nominee) ―Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, 2014-2015

Gate City Book Award (Nominee) ―Elementary School Librarians of Nashua, New Hampshire, 2016-2017

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Meet the Author

Bill Harley is a two-time Grammy Award-winning storyteller, musician, and writer who has been writing and performing for kids and families for more than twenty-five years. He is the recipient of Parents’ Choice and ALA awards. He won a 2007 Grammy Award for his children’s storytelling album Blah Blah Blah and a 2009 Grammy Award for his children’s spoken-word album Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live. He lives in Massachusetts. You can visit his website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Adam Gustavson is the illustrator of more than twenty books for children, as well as numerous periodicals. He holds a master of fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York, and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey. You can visit his website here.