An account of the life of this humble giant of children’s television.
Children know about emotions perhaps before any other concepts—big emotions, too, like fear, sadness, frustration, joy, love. Fred Rogers understood this and used the medium of television to connect with children and help them manage and accept their emotions. From a childhood often spent inside and isolated from other children who bullied him to his career change from ministry to children’s media, Rogers’ life was punctuated and driven by the emotions he felt, recognized, and then used to add authenticity and tenderness to his television shows. Using second person, as well as Rogers’ iconic phrase, “Hello neighbor,” Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. Words describing emotions are italicized throughout for emphasis and recognition by children, and myriad details offer touchstones for grown-ups familiar with the show. Bold colors spotlight each spread, especially an array of individual panels that illustrate the feelings children experience daily. The book ends as it began, with a message validating each reader’s intrinsic worth; it’s one we should all have in our hearts, every day of our lives. A note from the author offers additional biographical details. It’s an excellent companion to You Are My Friend, by Aimee Reid and Matt Phelan (2019), with a personality all its own.
Bright, well-researched, and welcome. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)