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Kidsville News!  is a fun, educational resource for children grades kindergarten through sixth grade, parents and teachers. With nationwide circulation of more than 600,000, Kidsville News! is taking the nation by storm.

Keep reading to learn more about who we are and what we do here at Kidsville News!, and why Kidsville News! is the fastest growing children’s newspaper and educational resource in the country.

Bill Bowman

Bill is a 45-year resident of Fayetteville, N.C., and a former sales and marketing representative for Pitney Bowes, Inc. His education, background and experience is in business, sales and marketing. In 1996, without any prior experience or training in journalism, publishing or the newspaper industry, he created Up & Coming Magazine, which later transitioned to his community’s first weekly community newspaper, Up & Coming Weekly. Two years later, he created the Kidsville News! literacy and education initiative. Today, both publications are award-winning and respected voices of the Fayetteville community and now the nation.

Bill created Kidsville News! as a local publication in 1998. Then he created a new company, Kidsville News Inc., to take the publications national in 2005. This allowed other newspaper publishers, educators and business entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring Kidsville News! to their communities. Since then, Kidsville News! has expanded into 11 states and boasts an audited monthly readership of more than 1.5 million children, teachers and parents nationwide. Bowman’s vision, mission and mandate for Kidsville News! is to provide a quality literacy and education resource to all children locally and nationwide that will impact, enhance and encourage a child to read, study and have fun learning. Since October 2015, Merrigold Publishing, Inc. has been providing content for Kidsville News! With a passion for reading, literacy, character development and education, Bill believes that building better and stronger communities for future generations should be everyone’s top priority.

Bill is very active in his community and currently serves on several local, state and national boards. He is a past chairman of Cumberland County United Way and has served on the boards of the North Carolina Press Association, Independent Free Papers of America and Southeastern Advertising Publishers Association. He is also a national speaker and member of the Leadership Institute faculty of the Association of Free Community Papers.

Bill and his wife Merrilyn have been married for more than 32 years. They have a 31-year-old son, Grady McLeod Bowman. Grady, a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, now lives and works on Broadway, as does his wife, Kate. A lifelong singer, dancer and actor, Grady opened four Broadway shows: The Pirate Queen, South Pacific, Billy Elliott and Wonderland. He most recently was the assistant dance captain and assistant director to Julie Andrews in a new musical, The Great American Mouseical.

Bill’s hobbies are riding his Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle across the country and maintaining his status as a nationally ranked billiard player.
Philosophy: Children are the future of our nation. Twenty-four percent of our children do not read at their grade level. A child who cannot read does not have a chance to succeed. Anything that promotes and encourages young children to read and learn is worth a community’s investment.

Merrilyn Bowman, 
Merrilyn Bowman was born in Kyoto, Japan, and wound up in Fayetteville married to Bill.

Merrilyn retired from a 30-year career with the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension Service. She is excited about joining Kidsville News!, truly making it a “family” publication. She is also extremely proud of her two sons, Leonard and Grady. She has one grandson, Nicholas, who is one of her favorite people!

Merrilyn’s favorite color is green, she loves gardening and the outdoors and her favorite thing to do on a sunny Saturday afternoon is to read a good mystery novel! Her favorite thing to do on a not so sunny afternoon is a good crossword puzzle.

Stephanie Crider, National Associate Editor (
Currently the Editor of Up & Coming Weekly, Stephanie joined Kidsville News! team as the National Associate Editor in 2012 because she believes in the mission and mandates of Kidsville News! A mother of three children, she believes that reading is the most important skill we can teach our children. As associate editor, she works with children, educators and parents to create the content children, teachers and parents look forward to reading every month. Working in concert with the National Editor, Janice Burton, Stephanie helps create the annual editorial calendar to ensure that is in line with the National Common Core Curriculum.

Stephanie has been a member of the company since 2006 and loves finding fun and interesting things to share with kids, parents and teachers.


Erinn Crider, Staff Writer (
Erinn started as an intern at the company in 2008 and recently joined the staff as a writer. Her vibrant spirit, fresh outlook on life and love of learning help her to deliver top-notch articles that Kidsville News! readers enjoy and look forward to each month.

As a high school student, Erinn spent time peer teaching and working with elementary-aged school children. Her day-to-day contact with our readers gives her fresh insights about what today’s young students find both interesting, valuable and important. Erinn brings excitement to Kidsville News! because of her love of children and her dedication to literacy and quality education. Erinn is now completing her junior year at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Karen Pope Binns, National Education Adviser
Karen Binns is a full-time education facilitator for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. During her work day, she mentors and coaches teachers at K-6 schools, helping them find dynamic and innovative ways to teach the curriculum in their classrooms. Binns, who started out in the newspaper industry before seeking her teaching degree, has been a teacher for more than 20 years. She holds a master’s degree in education and is seeking a second master’s in education administration.

Binns was on the state team charged with developing and implementing the Core Curriculum in North Carolina, and as the National Education Advisor, helps set the themes and develop content for the National office. Binns also creates the Brainworks worksheets that complement each issue.

A mother of twins, Damon and Delana, Binns spends a lot of time not only teaching, coaching and mentoring, but also as a parent working with her children to help them with their school work. She spends a lot of time on volleyball courts with her daughter, and on baseball and football fields with her son. A talented photographer, Karen’s favorite subjects are her children and friends.

Dan Nelson, Artist and Creator of Truman
Dan Nelson is a gifted artist and the creator of Truman the Dragon, the friendly mascot of Kidsville News! and the covers you see each month. Interested in art from a very early age, Dan earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from a small college in the Midwest. His real education, however, took place during the 15 or 20 years when he sat at his desk drawing whatever the telephone (ad agencies, mostly) told him to draw. Most Americans would have stumbled upon Dan’s work at some time during the ’80s or ’90s in restaurants and sporting goods stores, at summer camps and public libraries, from IBM to hospitals and book covers to billboards. “I’m really famous,” he used to tell his kids, “just nobody knows it.” Dan now divides his time between illustration and fine art. He loves painting large pieces of work and he loves an audience, so doing 8 x 10-foot murals in public is one of his favorite activities. You may see some of his wide-ranging work at

Truman the Dragon, Mascot

Truman has been a part of the Kidsville News team since the very beginning. As the mascot for Kidsville News!, the nation’s fun, family newspaper, Truman is the spokesdragon and icon for reading, literacy, character development and education. Truman loves children and he is passionate about spreading the word that reading is fun and essential for successful career development.

Even as a young dragon, Truman enjoyed reading about far off places and new ideas. He shares these ideas with tens of thousands of children each and every month. Truman stays incredibly busy visiting schools, libraries, hospitals and local community events. He never turns down an invitation to visit schools and strut his stuff to his catchy theme song. (Click here to learn Truman’s Song!). When Truman does get a chance to relax, he enjoys visiting his friends and, of course, reading a good book.

Kidsville News
For more information about Kidsville News, and availability in your community, call us at 910-222-6200 or 877-458-6397. Or, send a message to Truman Be our guest and view the latest edition of Kidsville News. You can subscribe free to our monthly electronic online edition. Do it today. We would love to hear from you.

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