Although I was born in the late 1980’s, I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. His calm demeanor and easy manner spoke to me, like thousands of other children. Fred Rogers has been long away from this world, since 2003, but the impact of his works still stands. Those of us who adore him, and aspire to live what he taught, are all part of the legacy of Mr. Fred Rogers.
Another part of that legacy is Fred Rogers Productions. Shows produced by Fred Rogers Productions include Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat, Odd Squad, Through the Woods, and of course, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. These shows all contain a type of informational aspect, but that doesn’t necessarily mean education focused (reading, writing, and arithmetic). Similar to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, some of these shows focus on emotion education. Fred Rogers believed that teaching children about their emotions was just as, if not more important, than education taught in schools. He showed us years ago, and is still showing young children today, that feeling sad, mad, happy, confused, and irritated is a normal part of life. Just make sure your responses and actions are responsible. Feel mad, but don’t hit. Feel sad, but share with a trusted person what bothers you. These shows are much more than I can describe in one article. You can see for yourself by watching them. To find out more about these shows, visit your local library, view the Fred Rogers Productions website (https://www.fredrogers.org/), or visit the websites for the shows mentioned.
It isn’t only the shows produced by his company that make an impact. It is his life as a whole. In the last year, many publications have been released focusing on Fred Rogers, his life and works. Last year, a new biography on his life was published. The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King is a fabulously written book about Mr. Rogers. This biography doesn’t only share the most well-known pieces of his life, as some biographies of famous individuals do, but his whole life. It includes Fred as a child, the development of his relationship with his wife, and so much more. Fun fact for anyone that also loved the show Reading Rainbow, Levar Burton narrates the audiobook version (available on Overdrive)!
Released around the same time as the biography mentioned above, is the documentary film, Won’t You Be My Neighbor. In this documentary, you hear stories from those that knew Fred Rogers personally, including his wife and those that worked on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood television program. Clips of the show and outtakes are shared in the documentary, giving the viewer a taste of nostalgia and a behind the scenes peek.
These publications are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all things Mr. Rogers. Check out these items also; A beautiful day in the neighborhood : the poetry of Mister Rogers, lyrics by Fred Rogers ; illustrations by Luke Flowers, The World According to Mister Rogers : important things to remember by Fred Rogers, and much more. Don’t forget to also check out the items mentioned throughout the article.
Coming to theaters, in November, possibly, is a movie starring Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers. This film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, is one I am anxiously awaiting. If you are a Mr. Rogers fan also, check out the trailers and images already released of this movie, which are stunning.
Remember to visit your favorite library to find all things Fred Rogers and much more! New fans will find treasures awaiting and old, long time fans will find memories abundant. I will leave you with this as said by Mr. Rogers himself, “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”