Mark Binder

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Mark Binder
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BornSeptember 1962 (age 60–61)
Newton, Massachusetts
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Master of Arts
Alma mater
  • Columbia College (New York)
  • Rhode Island College
  • Author
  • Storyteller
  • Political activist
Known forKnown for a diverse body of written, recorded and live/spoken work for adults, children and families
Political partyIndependent politician
Spouse(s)Heather Binder
  • Parents' Choice Award (2016)
  • Digital Book World Publishing Innovation Award (2014)
  • National Jewish Book Award (2007

Mark Binder (born September, 1962) is an American author, storyteller[1], and political activist.[2] He is known for a diverse body of written, recorded and live/spoken work for adults, children and families.

Education and training

As an undergraduate at Columbia College (New York), Binder studied storytelling with Spalding Gray, playwrighting at the Hammerstein Center, and mythology with Theodor Gaster. After graduation, he spent two years exploring Etienne Decroux dance theater with Margolis Brown Adaptors Company. In 1987 he moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he attended the Theater Conservatory at the Trinity Repertory Conservatory, Providence, RI. He received his Master of Arts from Rhode Island College in 1990. He studied Aikido (1991 to 2011) with Glenn Webber, Lou Perriello and Fumio Toyoda.

Political campaigns

Infuriated by the Iraq War, in 2004, he ran in the Democratic Party primary for United States House of Representatives in Rhode Island's 1st congressional district against Patrick J. Kennedy.[3]

In 2012, he ran as an Independent for the Rhode Island House of Representatives in District Four against then Speaker of the House Gordon Fox. Appalled with corruption and displeased with Fox's record on the 38 Studios scandal, Binder also took up the cause of Same-sex marriage, forcing Fox to put it on the calendar, where it was finally passed in 2013.

Author and storyteller

Early writing and performing career (1991 to 1998)

Binder's plays, The Adventures of Three Headed Max and Bill and The Next Step were performed as staged readings at Theater for the New City in 1986. Real Life in the 1990s was performed at AS220 and Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub.

Binder founded and directed the Real Fun Theater Company from 1991 to 1992, at the Columbus Theatre (Providence, Rhode Island). His work included Your Mother Wears Liberace's Army Boots,[4] The Ballad of Duane and Vincenca and A Fistful of Fingers.

During that time, Binder also worked at Providence's The Phoenix's NewPaper as the Urban Eye columnist and reported on politics, features and local news. He was the editor of FDM - the magazine of the food distribution trade (1993-1994), and was twice the editor of the Rhode Island Jewish Herald newspaper (1992, 2008). His freelance writing appeared in Pizza Today, MacHome Journal, Modern Brewery Age, Conjure Magazine, and The Providence Journal.

His first book of humor, Crumbs Don't Count – The Rationalization Diet was published by Avon Books in 1994.

Fiction and storytelling (1999 to present)

In 1999, Binder wrote The Everything Bed Time Story Book[5], which contained 100 classic and original tales from around the world.

During this period Binder began the 'Life in Chelm' series of books and stories. Set in the fictional village of Chełm, these stories follow the humorous adventures of Rabbi Kibbitz, Mrs. Chaipul, Reb Cantor the Merchant, Rachel Cantor and more. From 1999 to 2001, Binder's novel, The Brothers Schlemiel was serialized in 100 weekly installments in Houston's Jewish Herald Voice newspaper. It became the first novel to be serialized by email. [6][7]

Binder's professional storytelling work started in 2001 with programs at libraries. He spent ten summers, beginning in 2002, as a touring performer with the ReadBoston Storymobile[8]. Over the years Binder developed a wide variety of stories and tales to suit any audience of every age. "storyteller Mark Binder said his job is to 'transport listeners and readers on an adventure, fire their imaginations, and bring them home.'"[9] His programs include classic stories, tall tales, "autobiographical lies," stories for peace, tales of Chelm and holiday tales. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, he regularly presented more than 100 storytelling and author programs a year in schools, libraries, community centers, synagogues and churches. His festival work includes appearances at the Jonnycake Festival (Wakefield, RI), The Life Is Good Company Watermelon Festival (Boston Common, Boston, MA), New England Folk Festival (Natick and Mansfield, MA), Three Apples Storytelling Festival (Bedford, MA), and the Sneem Storytelling Festival (Sneem, Ireland), PVDFest (Providence, RI) and Jewish Book Week (London, UK).

Books, audio books, and storytelling audio recordings

Binder's writing and storytelling overlap and often intertwine. He has produced more than two dozen books and audio recordings for a variety of audiences. Frustrated with the time it took for traditional publishers to release work, Binder covertly founded the imprint, Light Publications, which has since published several other authors, and produced work that has both won awards and been consistently well reviewed.

The audiobook, The Brothers Schlemiel from Birth to Bar Mitzvah (Light Publications, 2002) was recorded "In the spirit of Sholem Aleichem "[10]. Tall Tales, Whoppers and Lies (Light Publications, 2003) was recorded live over two years at the New England Folk Festival. His studio album, Classic Stories for Boys and Girls (Light Publications, 2004) received rave reviews, "Armed with a soothing voice and a gift for humor—both broad and subtle—Binder captivates"[11]

Cinderella Spinderella (Light Publications, 2014) was illustrated by Steve Mardo and published with both Kickstarter funding and a grant from The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. "Binder began creating Cinderella Spinderella when he was telling stories to ethnically diverse audiences and disabled youngsters."[12] Initially released as an interactive ebook in line with We Need Diverse Books, the graphic novel for young people won five major ebook awards and was described as "an educators dream and is sure to delight any reader."[13]

Binder's "Life in Chelm" series continued with the audio book, A Chanukah Present (Light Publications, 2005). In 2008, The Brothers Schlemiel was first published in an abridged young adult edition by Jewish Publication Society.[14]. It was followed by Matzah Mishugas (Light Publications, 2010). A complete and unabridged edition of The Brothers Schlemiel was released in 2013.

The most recent work in the "Life in Chelm" series is The Misadventures of Rabbi Kibbitz and Mrs. Chaipul (print and audio, Light Publications, 2019) "conveys the joyful charm of these vignettes."[15] It received a 2020 Storytelling World Honors Award.[16]

Beginning with It Ate My Sister (Light Publications, 2008), Binder developed the "Groston Middle Adventures" stemming from his work in elementary and middle schools. This included the live comedy storytelling album, It was a dark and stormy night… (Light Publications, 2010), which was cited as "…a fine mix of comedy and horror."[17] The most recent book in this series was The Zombie Cat (Light Publications, 2017).

He returned to storytelling with the audio book, Transmit Joy (Light Publications, 2016), which was awarded a Gold Parents' Choice Award for Best Audio Storytelling. He was also featured in the Audible series "Story Party Live" (Amazon Audible, 2017).

A darker side of Binder's work began to emerge with the print and audiobook publication of Loki Ragnarok (Light Publications, 2017). An epic poetic reinterpretation of Norse mythology, it tells the story of Ragnarök from the point of view of Loki. Released the day before the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Ragnarok, the audio book was a finalist, nominated for a 2019 Audie Award for best original work.

In late 2017, Binder's The Bark Minder Project began with the writing and recording The F**k Ups, the first novel to be serialized weekly on Spotify from January 1 to May 2018. The F**k Ups was a reboot of Binder's Groston Adventures, transforming the middle grade and middle school characters from the past into high school seniors in 2018. A limited edition printing was released in early 2020, but was pulled due to the Coronavirus. It has been retitled as The Groston Rules.

The Groston Rules is currently scheduled for a release in late 2020, early 2021.


  • Audie Award Nominee for Best Original Work Loki Ragnarok (2019)
  • Parents' Choice Award Gold Winner for Transmit Joy! (2016)
  • Digital Book World Publishing Innovation Award Finalist for flowing children's ebook Cinderella Spinderella (2014)
  • National Jewish Book Award Finalist for A Hanukkah Present (2007)
  • Storytelling World Honor for A Chanukah Present (audio, 2005)
  • Children's Music Web Award for Best Audio Storytelling Classic Stories for Boys and Girls' (2004)

Books and audio

  • The Groston Rules (Late 2020)
  • The Misadventures of Rabbi Kibbitz and Mrs. Chaipul (2019)
  • The Bark Minder Project (2018)
  • The Zombie Cat (2017)
  • Loki Ragnarok (2017)
  • A Dead Politician, an Undead Clam and an Ancient Horror (2016)
  • Transmit Joy! (audio, 2016)
  • Every Hero Has a Story (2015)
  • Cinderella Spinderella (2014) illustrated by Steve Mardo
  • The Brothers Schlemiel (unabridged 2013)
  • Genies, Giants and a Walrus (2012)
  • Kings, Wolves, Princesses and Lions (2012)
  • The Buddha Who Wore Keds (2012)
  • Stories for Peace (2011)
  • A Holiday Present (audio, 2010)
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night... (audio, 2010)
  • Matzah Mishugas (2009)
  • The Bed Time Story Book (2008)
  • It Ate My Sister (September, 2008)
  • The Brothers Schlemiel (abridged/YA, 2008)
  • A Hanukkah Present Finalist (2005)
  • A Chanukkah Present (audio, 2005)
  • Classic Stories for Boys and Girls (audio, 2004)
  • Tall Tales, Whoppers and Lies (audio, 2003)
  • The Brothers Schlemiel from Birth to Bar Mitzvah (audio, 2001)
  • The Everything Bedtime Story Book (2001)
  • If Wishes Were Fishes (Novella, 1995)
  • Crumbs Don't Count — The Rationalization Diet (1994)

In the media



  1. De Fazio, Veronica (June 8, 2017). "ClefNotes". School Library Journal.
  2. Binder, Mark (March 6, 2015). "Hey, Rhode Island: Don't get fooled again". The Providence Journal.
  3. Donnis, Ian. "Talking Politics: Democrat challenges Kennedy on support for war". The Providence Phoenix. No. 09/09/2004.
  4. {{cite web |title=The Comedy of Hamlet - from "Your Mother Wears Liberace's Army Boots" at The Columbus Theater | url=}
  5. Binder, Mark (1998). The Everything Bed Time Story Book. Adams Media.
  6. Donnis, Ian and Kate O'Sullivan (June 1, 2001). "Wired Words Electric Prose". The Providence Phoenix.
  7. Seavor, Jim (July 17, 2000). "Schlemiels in cyberspace". The Providence Journal.
  8. "ReadBoston Storymobile". ReadBoston.
  9. Murphy, Linda (August 4, 2016). "Lifestyle Editor". Fall River Herald News.
  10. "THE BROTHERS SCHLEMIEL FROM BIRTH TO BAR MITZVAH". AudioFile Magazine. August 30, 2002.
  11. "Audio Reviews". Publishers' Weekly. No. 05/10/2004.
  12. "Children's Fiction". Publishers Weekly. No. 05/10/2004.
  13. Pilkington, Mercy (January 19, 2014). "eBook Review: Cinderella Spinderella by Mark Binder". GoodEReader.
  14. Kramer, Lauren (January 16, 2012). "The Brothers Schlemiel". Jewish Book World.
  15. "The Misadventures of Rabbi Kibbitz and Mrs. Chaipul". AudioFile. January 30, 2020.
  16. "2020 Storytelling World Resource Awards". Retrieved 2020-08-11.
  17. Chen Dean, Kitty (October 1, 2010). "It was a dark and stormy night". School Library Journal.

External links

This article "Mark Binder" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.