Montclair makeup mogul Bobbi Brown has been reinventing her career — launching her own lifestyle brand JustBobbi; working on The George, a boutique hotel opening soon in Montclair; and becoming a health coach.
That creative spirit and willingness to reinvent comes in large part from her father Joe Brown, who, in 2005 at age 70, became an author of children’s books after practicing law for 50 years.
Joe Brown will be meeting and reading to third-grade students at Bradford Elementary School on Monday, December 11th at 2 p.m. and at Watchung Elementary School on Thursday, December 14 at 10:30 a.m.
Brown will also join his daughter Bobbi on Facebook Live on Wednesday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m. on Bobbi’s @justbobbi.com FB channel where they will talk reinvention and what it means to start over.
Around the time his daughter Bobbi was eight years old, Brown saw a French adventure film and was inspired to create his own adventure tale, stories he could tell his children, that were rooted in rhyme. The main character was Marceau, a New York City taxi driver, who uses his imagination to take amazing journeys.
“I remember writing the first line, ‘Marceau is my name, this is my tale; traveled the seas on the back of a whale,'” says Brown. He began creating and sharing his fanciful tales with his three children, who became big fans of the stories.
“They started asking me to tell them the same story I told them last week, so I started writing them down,” says Brown. He eventually typed up all 10 stories, but later, and as the kids grew up, he forgot all about the stories, which sat in a box in his attic.
In 2005, Brown was in Telluride celebrating his 70th birthday. On the way to dinner, his grandson, Dylan, asked him to stop at a local bookstore. Sitting on one of the bookshelves was a bound, hardcover copy of “The Flights of Marceau.” His daughter Bobbi had made 100 copies of the tales as a birthday gift. When he got back to his home in Chicago, Brown began giving copies of the book to friends who shared the stories with their children and grandchildren and started asking him for new Marceau stories.
The moment was an epiphany for Brown who decided to start his second career as a children’s book author. Today, Brown has not only written several books in the Marceau adventure series, he also writes for Scholastic and gets inspiration from his 13 grandchildren.
“I remember one of my grandchildren talking about Hurricane Katrina and wondering who would take care of the animals,” says Brown. That inspired Race to the Rescue, a story about animals in a zoo during a hurricane.
Almost as much as writing, Brown enjoys reading his books aloud to children and talking about them.
“The most fun I have is talking to kids about imagination,” says Brown, who adds that it was his daughter Bobbi who helped him get comfortable with public speaking, by telling him to just have his first sentence ready and that the rest would come easily.
He brings free books for every student and teacher, and reads to children in classrooms, hoping to inspire more children to use their imagination.