Growing up in an artistic household, Joel Harper was encouraged to express himself through music and writing. Prior to becoming an author, publisher, and music teacher, Joel worked as a social worker at Boys Republic, an all-boys school for troubled adolescents located in Chino Hills, California. Boys Republic, founded in 1907 seeks to give adolescent youth with behavioral, educational, and emotional difficulties an opportunity to achieve their maximum potential for responsible, self-directed life within the community. Today, Joel Continues to support his passion for building stronger communities by managing his publishing house, Freedom Three Publishing and working with various local, national, and international environmental organizations and initiatives advocating for marine conservation and social justice.
Joel has independently published four titles. Restless Spirit: The Eyes of a Child (February 2003) is a collection of Joel’s poems and photographs, accompanied by guest illustrators, that illuminates his personal journey and interaction with the world around him. All the Way to the Ocean (February 2006), Joel’s second book, inspires children and adults around the world to protect the marine environment and stop pollution from entering storm drains and local waterways that we now know lead all the way to the ocean. It has been translated into Mandarin and Spanish. Joel’s third publication, Sea Change (April 2015), is about a child’s reaction to the marine litter she discovers while playing on the sandy shore. To bring attention to the problem she creates an art project using the litter she finds on the beach. In 2018, Joel debuted his fourth picture book titled Frankie Finds the Blues about a child’s discovery of the origines of hip-hop as he finds a new passion for playing the guitar, and the history of blues music.
When Joel is not writing and publishing, he is found playing any musical instrument he can get his hands on! Joel believes that everyone should learn to play an instrument, and seeks to inspire people through the use of music and writing to tap into their creative side through an artistic form of expression. “One of the things I enjoy most about working with music is watching someone’s eyes light up the very first time they hit a note on a Native American Flute, make a sound on the Didgeridoo or bang a beat out of a drum. Because I know their lives will forever be that much more enriched by the experience.”
Joel currently resides in his hometown of Claremont, California.