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During the warm months, Robert Brown of Rose Hill is usually found outside in his garden. When his children were younger, they would accompany him, playing, watering with the hose or digging with small garden tools. During one of those times, his son Tyler, who was 3 at the time, was helping pick some vegetables. After placing the different vegetables from the small garden into his wagon, he would repeatedly touch them and call them by color. He then looked at his father and said, “Daddy, you grow colors.”
The children’s book, “Daddy Grows Colors,” was written that evening. Brown tried to get the book published several times, but always received the usual rejection letter, he said. “However, I was even inspired by those. After all, one gets rejection letters from those who are reading the manuscripts. Forever hopeful that one day someone would like my books, I kept submitting,” he said.
After a while, Brown became distracted from his goal to have his writing published due to graduate course work and raising his family.
He continued to write for fun, mostly for himself, but occasionally wrote a poem for teacher friends who were retiring.
Last summer, while shucking corn with his now teenage sons, they recanted past events, often laughing about the boys’ toddler antics.
“It was then that the elicited comment from my son that I could grow colors resurfaced,” he said. “That afternoon the old query letters and manuscripts were removed from storage. It was time to send in a letter once again. Since I had just spent an enjoyable afternoon with my sons shucking corn, I decided to resubmit ‘Daddy Grows Colors.’”
Publish America, which publishes many first time authors, accepted.
Since the venue would not be too difficult, Brown also decided to illustrate the story.
“The excitement was overwhelming as the first draft of an electronic version of the completed picture book was reviewed. Only second in excitement was in reading the ISBN number. Twenty copies of the book are coming my way. I can’t wait to open that box and hold my first bound book,” he said.
Brown, 48, was born and raised in Harrodsburg. He is the son of Peggy Arnold Brown and the late Donald Joseph Brown. He and his wife, Cindy, have two sons, Tyler and Corey. They also have a Labrador named Bennie and a cat, Weasley.
Brown is a 1979 graduate of Harrodsburg High School. He has earned his master’s degree in elementary education and post master’s certification in instructional leadership principal, instructional supervisor and superintendent.
He taught grades 4-8 in Harrodsburg and London for 13 years; he was principal at Harlow Elementary for five years and Washington County assistant/acting superintendent for two years.
He is currently the director of the Education Professional Standards Board in Frankfort, where he has served four years.
He began writing as a hobby in high school and college. One of the past times in his college dormitory was for some of his friends to add new chapters to a science fiction story he had created. While teaching, he wrote a few comic strips based upon the antics of his students. None of his early writing was for public viewing; he just enjoyed making up stories.
“Daddy Grows Colors” was released March 7 and is available at Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million and Amazon.com.
Rachel Dean is a reporter for The Harrodsburg Herald in Harrodsburg, Ky. This story is printed with permission of The Harrodsburg Herald.