I guess this has got to have been one of those "happened to be in the right place at the right time" moments. This week when I was in Pennsylvania presenting a workshop for the Keystone Reading Association, a smiling gentleman strolled by and I noticed his name tag read, "Kent Brown, Boyds Mill Press." What children's writer hasn't seen Kent's name as he is was editor of Highlights for 22 years and now heads up the Highlights Foundation and is the publisher for Boyds Mill Press? I introduced myself to Kent (of course mentioning my connection to SCBWI and that I had won the June Author Award from Highlights) and he graciously invited me to join him and several other friends for dinner that evening.
The dinner party that Kent put together included a teacher and her boyfriend, two other authors (Suzanne Bloom who one the PA "One Book for Every Young Child" award for her book, "A Splendid Friend Indeed") and Sneed Collard, who has written a TON of nonfiction for kids), and two university professors from East Strousburg University. Interesting man, Kent Brown. Although he has his Masters in English Education he taught 7th grade for only one year and then was basically fired because it was 1969 and he didn't want to use a 1939 grammar book! He went from there to farming and ended up in publishing. He knows so many people in children's publishing but is just about the most unassuming person Santa Claus-without-the-beard type person you'd ever meet. His take on agents: you don't need them. His take on the Chautauqua Writer's Workshop: every writer should go. My take on him: a generous man.