08/04/10 — Teacher, author becomes one of his characters

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Teacher, author becomes one of his characters

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on August 4, 2010 1:46 PM

The Wayne County Public Schools' Teacher of the Year got a surprise recently when he found himself depicted as a character of one of his children's books.

Gregory Brown, a first- and fourth-grade Reading Recovery teacher and reading specialist at North Drive Elementary School, has had five children's scripts published. Each is designed to help students develop strong reading skills.

Liliane Grenier, illustrator for his four Playbooks, Inc. scripts, lives in Canada, where Brown visited this summer as part of the travel stipend awarded him as Teacher of the Year.

The two had hoped to carve out a meeting time in Quebec, but transportation plans fell through, Brown said.

Since Ms. Grenier couldn't create a visit with the author, she did the next best thing -- she allowed him to become part of a virtual time travel of his own.

"As if by magic, she has transformed me into a painted image standing beside the characters I created for my 'Rhyme Travel' series,'" he said. "I'm with Marcus, Kelly and Melinda, who have time travel adventures in their classroom.

"When I opened the package and saw my image, it was almost surreal. ... How many people get to stand next to the characters they created? Liliane has blessed me with this gift."

Brown said he enjoys his role as literary coach at North Drive and has many great things planned for his students this year.

But he also has a "secret dream" of writing a Reader's Theater piece that can be enjoyed by students in all the elementary schools across the county.

"I'd love to invite students to visit our school and perform with our kids, and vice versa," he said. "I believe this would bridge a lot of gaps. I also know that our students would love it."

This past school year he took a break from writing to focus on teaching and his family, but anticipates getting back to being an author soon.

One of his first projects, Brown says, will be holiday-themed scripts for his "Rhyme Travel" characters. He's also weighing the possibility of incorporating more music into his work.

"With encouragement from my very talented and award-winning singer/songwriter cousin, John 'Hound' Brown of Goldsboro, I'm exploring some lyric writing with some photographic tie-ins," he said. "He's given me a renewed faith in something I've always loved, using poetry, photography and music to capture a personal family moment. I've always said that any success I've had depended directly on the guidance I've wholeheartedly welcomed from other talented, loving people.

"There's always something to learn and ways to improve what you do."