Who will tell the story?

Howard Brown 

Howard Brown, publisher of the Kenosha News, was an important part of Battle of the Books.  The Enrichment Program students who founded this Kenosha reading program realized that they would need publicity and support.  The students presented the Battle of the Books Tournament and its needs to Mr. Brown.  He immediately gave the students his support and offered to provide the prizes for the winning teams as well as publicity.  It was the beginning of a long and committed relationship.  Each year as an honored guest and speaker, Mr. Brown would visit team battles, lead the Parade of Teams to the auditorium while waving to viewers along the route, give a speech recognizing the importance of reading, and personally hand each winner a prize.  Mr. Brown was famous for his annual speech about the Gutenberg movable printing press, predecessor of the modern printing press, and the Gutenberg Bible as the first book published for the masses.  He connected Gutenberg’s significant invention to the reading of the tournament books and to most important of all, the Kenosha News.  His homily provided a lesson connecting the past with the present. He closed each speech with one of his famous sayings, most often with “Be of good cheer.”  After the announcement of Mr. Brown’s passing, planners asked, “Who will tell the story of Gutenberg’s printing press?”  Since his Gutenberg story is a Battle of the Books tradition, it will be told.  However, no one will ever tell it with the same passion and conviction as Howard Brown.  Kenosha’s Battle of the Books lost its most ardent supporter.  However, his commitment to the reading of good books will live on in each child whose life is enriched by a book and in every adult who inspires a child to read.  Howard Brown will forever be an honored guest at the Battle of the Books Tournament.