No more Pirates

Hi everyone,

I’m looking down the list of titles that Boyds Mills just took out of their line. I’m going to miss PIRATES and those wonderful paintings by Dan Burr. Its recognitions included: Kansas State Reading Circle List, 2009; NCTE Notable Poetry Books, 2008; nominated for Cybils Award; VOYA’s Nonfiction Honor List, 2009; Texas Bluebonnet Master Reading List, 2010-2011; Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award Master Reading List, 2011-2012; selected by Missouri Center for the Book to represent Missouri at the National Book Fair in Washington D.C., 2013.

Dan and I introduced PIRATES at Texas Library Association in 2008. We had no idea who the guy dressed like a pirate was. He just appeared and stood in behind us for the picture. The Center for the Book held a reception in Warrensburg for Dan and me. Here’s the link. What a great party that was! I didn’t attend the National Book Fair in Washington, D.C. Sandy said I should have gone. Cheryl Harness did you go the year your book was chosen? I think I heard that more than 100,000 people go to those affairs. Here's a poem from PIRATES, published by Wordsong, 2008, (c) by David L. Harrison, all rights reserved.


Nice and easy, Cap’n.
Do nothing you’ll regret.
We’re helping ourselves to all your gold
And we’re not finished yet.

I’ll have your pistol, Cap’n.
Your knife will also do.
Ah, those rings are pretty things!
Hand them over too.

What’ll the king say, Cap’n?
Seems you lost his loot!
Seems you lost your pistol, Sir,
Your knife and rings to boot.

What’ll the king say, Cap’n?
Your kindness can’t be matched!
Let’s hope the king’s as kind as you
And leaves your head attached.


Signing on a crew

Hi everyone,

I’m happy to report that Boyds Mills Press, my publisher of PIRATES, has reached an agreement with Cynthia Gonzales, associate professor of music theory at Texas State University, that will allow her to set “Signing on a Crew” as lyrics for a men’s choir piece. I’ve already seen the first few pages of the score. At one time in my youth I was assistant choir director for Grace Methodist Church in Springfield (got married there too) but these days it’s a stretch for me to read sheet music and hear all the sounds in my head.

Dr. Gonzales has earned three degrees in Music Theory: the Ph.D and A.M. from Harvard University and the M.M. from the University of North Texas. She has been a professional singer for over 20 years, company manager for four seasons with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, and has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.

If you aren’t familiar with the book (brilliantly illustrated by Dan Burr) or the poem, you can go to, click on the cover, and scroll to “Signing on a Crew.” Cynthia found it on the Poetry Foundation website:

In 2013 PIRATES was selected by Missouri Center for the Book to represent Missouri at the National Book Fair in Washington, DC. Other recognitions include Kansas State Reading Circle List, 2009; NCTE Notable Poetry Books, 2008; nominated for Cybils Award; VOYA’s Nonfiction Honor List, 2009; Texas Bluebonnet Master Reading List, 2010-2011; and Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award Master Reading List, 2011-2012. I’m delighted to see a poem from the book transformed into song, sung like no pirates could ever hope to match!

Digital Pirates


Hi everyone,

I’ve just signed a contract for PIRATES to be released in a digital format. I’m pleased that the book will now be available in hard and paperback editions plus as an e-book. I don’t have a pub date yet but will let you know.

As I write this I’m gazing at a large framed picture from PIRATES on the wall about thirty inches from my face. It’s Dan Burr’s rendering of a pirate who has just been marooned. He’s on one knee, his hat and sword on the sand beside him. Here’s the poem.

David L. Harrison

There go me mates,
gone for good.

I’ll never leave this
speck of sand,
this hump no bigger
than a whale at sea.

I’ll never see another soul,
never sail another ship.

Break the rules,
you pay the price —
marooned for life,
however long
or short
me life may be.

Update on COWBOYS

Cowboys cover, 4-9-12

Hi everyone,

I was pleased to learn yesterday that COWBOYS has been selected for the South Dakota reading list for the 2014-15 Readers’ Choice books. Copies of the book will be made available in schools across the state so that kids can read titles on the list and vote next March for their favorites.

I’m flattered to have another book on a state reading list and grateful to the individuals who selected COWBOYS for the South Dakota list.

Anyone who is familiar with this book knows about Dan Burr’s wonderful artwork. Here’s a picture of Dan and me signing together when the book came out in 2012.David and Dan at TLA We were at the Texas Library Association conference. Our earlier collaboration, PIRATES, was on the Texas Bluebonnet list so we signed a lot of those too. The guy posing with us happened to wander by and got himself into the picture. Argg! Here’s an interior picture. I think you can tap on it and make the image large enough to read the poem.



BULLETIN: Taylor McGowan has posted a new poem in the Young Poets section. It’s terrific! I think you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.

Hi everyone,

As some of you know, I teamed for the second time with artist Dan Burr (first time resulted in PIRATES).

This time the result was COWBOYS. I’m pleased with the book and it has sold out at the two conferences where copies were available for purchase. I’ll speak to kids at the Literature Festival of the Ozarks in October and keynote Missouri SCBWI in November so I’m hoping for good receptions then too.

My thanks to those who have fetured the new book on their blog sites. I promised Renee LaTulippe a video of me reading something so I’ll probably select a poem from COWBOYS. Promoting one’s own work is time consuming. I set out with good intentions but before long my mind wanders to other projects and I let too much time pass before getting back on task. I think most of us suffer from the same problem.

If you haven’t checked out COWBOYS yet, and would like to, you can find it on Amazon and B&N websites. And please don’t forget GOOSE LAKE, my lone venture into e-book Land. No one has bought a copy lately so it’s about to slip off the top 100 list. I’m too old to cry but I might sniff a little.