Biographies are not my favorite books to read, but as soon as Maxwell King’s biography of Mr. Rogers came out, I knew I would be reading it soon! Watching Mr. Rogers was a special part of my day as a child, and as an adult with my children. His segments on how things are made were especially interesting to me–you just don’t see the inside of factories or how something like paint, buttons or thread are manufactured on ordinary television shows. “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” was appropriate for preschoolers, but elementary school siblings, teenagers and adults could also enjoy and benefit from the programs. If I were to find it on the guide station sometime, I would probably watch it now–A beautiful day in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood just makes you feel good!
I am finding this biography to be a delight, from learning about Fred Rogers early years as an only child playing with puppets, college and changing his mind on what to do with his life, his early success in broadcasting at NBC. He left that to help start the first community-based public television station in the USA, WQED/Pittsburg in 1953. I especially enjoyed the story of Daniel Tiger, a gift from General Manager Dorothy Daniel, the night before the station went on the air, April Fool’s Day, 1954–Daniel Tiger, named after Dorothy, started Fred’s show, The Children’s Corner.
At this time of sadness, and with love and prayers for all my Jewish friends and neighbors, I will leave you with one of my favorite sayings of Fred Rogers.
When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”