Cooking up old memories

Hi everyone,
When Kent Brown published my first book of poetry — SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK — in 1993, he followed up by sending me a box of note cards with Betsy Lewin’s art on the cover as well as a cooking apron also decorated with her work.somebody-catch-my-homework

I sent the last of the cards long ago but after all these twenty-three years I remain the proud owner of the apron and wear it from time to time when I’m grilling.
Over the holidays our son Jeff Harrison was cooking and needed an apron to protect his sweater.betsy_lewin_2013 Out came the treasured apron and my camera. So here we have the second generation preserving good memories made possible by an old friend and one of the best publishers I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

Summing up the poetry workshop

Hi everyone,

It was a long trip home with flight delays in Scranton and Chicago. By the time I got home, visited with Sandy, opened mail, and found my bed it was 2:00 this morning. I gave myself an extra hour of sleep but now it’s time to get started.

My thanks to everyone who attended and participated in the poetry workshop these past few days. To my special guests, Pat Lewis, Rebecca Davis, and Renee La Tulippe,Pat Lewis with chocolate mustache
rebecca-davis I thank you personally and on behalf of the fifteen poets who sat in your audience and profited greatly from your expertise and generous sharing of your time. Renee LaTulippe reading

To each of you who attended the workshop, thank you for coming and for joining together into a family of poets who shared willingly and openly during our time together.

Thank you, Joy Acey, for always finding ways to encourage and stimulate fellow writers, from coded golf balls scattered around the property to the group reading of “Shirley the Shark.”Poetry Workshop at Honesdale, 2012, Joy 2

Thank you, Jeanne Poland, for loading your car with the sounds of music. I seriously doubt that many other workshops can boast of forming a percussion band to play and sing under a gorgeous, starlit night.Honesdale, David and Jeanne

Thank you, Matt Forrest, for divulging your secret recipe for smores.

Thank you, Jo Lloyd, for taking care of each and every detail to make it all work so smoothly. To Chef Joseph and your staff, I blame you for the extra three pounds I brought home, but I bet I’m not the only one who couldn’t resist going back for seconds and who kept shoveling down dessert night after night.

To Kent Brown, Jan Cheripko, Larry Rosler, and other distinguished guests who came by to share meals and sit in on sessions, my sincere gratitude. Janet Fagal, thanks for driving out for a visit and to meet the rest of the group. I hope that you can sign up for next year’s workshop.
Back view of The Barn at dusk
Speaking of next year, the date has been set for September 29 – October 2. I think we already have a few names on the list so let Jo Lloyd know if you might be interested. If you thought that your workshop experience was worthwhile, I hope you’ll share your thoughts with others who might enjoy the experience. As anyone who has been there knows, it’s hard to imagine a more inspiring setting for a workshop than The Barn and surrounding land that beckons from the home of the founders of Highlights Magazine for Children.My cabinBrook at Boyds Mill Walking in the woods

I have four spots left

BULLETIN: OUR WORD OF THE MONTH FOR APRIL IS FRAGRANCE. Thanks to everyone for providing so much fun in March with the word “snake.” We had 164 poems and comments. It has been quite a while since we’ve had so much activity.

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a good weekend. Some of you may have received a note last week from Kent Brown. Kent started Boyds Mills Press when he was editor-in-chief for Highlights. These days he heads up the Highlights Foundation and directs the Founders Workshops. His note was to encourage folks to sign up for one of the poetry workshops being offered this year on the Highlights Founders schedule. Here’s what Kent had to say.

Quite a few years ago, I fancied myself a budding poet. My grandparents and my mother all spurred me on.

Sometime about the fifth grade, my mother had an assignment to go down to the Carolinas and interview Carl Sandburg. She tucked into her purse one of my best poems. I don’t remember the poem, but I doubt it was more than eight lines. My mother told me she was going to share my poem with Mr. Sandburg.

Well, she got to the interview, had a fascinating time, and came home to write up the interview. But, sadly, she admitted she had forgotten to present my work to the master.

I’ve thought about what I missed back then, and even today I have some wistful regret. I’m sure that if Sandburg had read my poem, my whole life would have changed. “Bring the boy to me,” he begged in my fantasy. “He has talent far greater than mine.”

I drifted away from poetry after that and became a juvenile delinquent. Hated school. I got back to writing some when I was in the army, far from home. My epic work, “The Court Martial of Razzy B. Jackson,” was never published. I squeaked through college, farmed a few years, and ended up as an editor.

I now know that I should have had some training in poetry. And read lots of it. And worked harder. Some little part of me wonders how it would have come out if I had schooling in poetry. And perhaps a little more humility.

YOU have a chance, however.

I’ve known a few poets in my day. Two I know well will be coming over to my corner of Pennsylvania this year. There is David Harrison, the only person I know who has a school named for him, and, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, a great poet and a great teacher. Also, Writing the Poetry Novel with Helen Frost and Kelly Bingham will enlighten those of you who take your word skills in that direction. Their workshops here are in April, May, and September.

To secure your spot, or for more information, contact Jo Lloyd at 570-253-1192, e-mail , or request an application online.

To view more 2013 workshops, which take place near Honesdale, Pennsylvania, please visit .

Please feel free to share this e-mail with others who might have an interest or to include the information in blog posts or through other social networking forums.

The Highlights Foundation is a public, not-for-profit 501®3 organization. We dedicate our efforts to connecting, nurturing, and inspiring children’s book writers and illustrators.


Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 251-4500
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I haven’t checked with Rebecca or Helen and Kelly so I don’t know how many more they can accept. I think I can handle four more people. If you’re interested or know someone who might be, this seems like a good time to make decisions.


Highlights Foundation Founders Workshops

BULLETIN: Check out Joy Acey’s blog yesterday and today for her lovely treatment of COWBOYS. Thank you, Joy! Here’s the link:

Hi everyone,

Kent Brown is one of my all time favorite people. There are many reasons for this. Kent not only served for years as publisher of Highlights for Children, the world’s foremost magazine for young people, but he also imagined and then turned into reality a new line of books called Boyds Mills Press that would include America’s first and only imprint of poetry books for children — Wordsong.

It has been my pleasure to work with Kent and numerous fine people at the company since 1993 when SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK was published. COWBOYS, which came out early this month, marks my 28th title with Boyds Mills Press, 16 of them with Wordsong.

Another of Kent Brown’s passions is to foster and encourage the development of countless budding artists and authors of children’s literature. He is not alone in this work. His family and their company have long been known for their generosity and steadfast efforts to bring new generations of creative people into the world of children’s books.
I’m sorry that this photo came out dark. The facility is new and lovely.

For the past few years, The Highlights Foundation, now headed by Kent, has been moving toward the establishment of a place to serve the needs of emerging writers and artists who come to the company founders’ property near Honesdale, Pennsylvania to study under a variety of people who are successful in their fields. That dream is now a reality and I’m pleased to introduce Kent Brown to tell you more about it. Kent?

Dear David,

We are in full bloom at our new Barn in Boyds Mills, and are holding 32 workshops this year. A number of our long-time faculty from Chautauqua are going to join in.

See the full list at .

Look forward to welcoming you, Eileen Spinelli, Rebecca Dotlitch, and Becky Davis to The Barn next month.


Kent L. Brown Jr.
Executive Director
Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale Pa 18431
570 251 4500