Over three decades Fred Rogers was a beloved fixture in American homes. He spoke directly to children—and their parents—about the marvels of the world, the things that worried them, and above all, the importance of being themselves.
In his signature cardigan and sneakers, Rogers offered a wholesome message of generosity and love that changed the landscape of television and shaped a generation of children.
Intriguing books often inspire movies. Here’s a case of an intriguing movie – and an iconic personality – inspiring, well, at least two books.
With the upcoming TriStar Pictures film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood releasing in November, in which Tom Hanks stars as the warm and welcoming Rogers, two fascinating titles are hitting the market today.
Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever by Gavin Edwards (Dey Street Books) pays tribute to this cultural icon: the unique, gentle man who embodied the best of what we could be.
Part guide for living, part self-help journal, part biography, Kindness and Wonder is an exploration of his philosophy and an appreciation of his role in our world and our popular culture.
The first half of the book, “Let’s Make the Most of This Beautiful Day,” is a biography of that remarkable man, while the second half, “Ten Ways to Live More Like Mister Rogers Right Now,” offers guidelines on how you can incorporate the lessons of his life into your own daily existence.
Looking back at the history of the show and the creative visionary behind it, pop culture aficionado Edwards reminds us of the indelible lessons and insights that Mister Rogers conveyed—what it means to be a good person, to be open-hearted, to be thoughtful, to be curious, to be compassionate—and why they matter.
Featuring dozens of interviews with people whose lives were touched by Fred Rogers, this book is a heartfelt homage to this unforgettable cultural hero and role model, and the beautiful neighborhood he created.
Also releasing today, a second book, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: A Visual History (Clarkson Potter) offers an inside look into the beloved television show from Fred Rogers Productions, and explores the show’s storied journey from its humble beginnings to the new film. The book is co-written by Tim Lybarger, Melissa Wagner and Jenna McGuiggan.
Chronicling the 50-year history of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood with never-before-seen photographs; a guide to the characters, puppets, and episodes; and original interviews with Yo-Yo Ma and the cast and crew, this comprehensive book celebrates Mister Rogers’ enduring legacy.
Readers will discover whimsical anecdotes and rare ephemera from special guests, actors, directors, producers, and those who devoted their careers to working with Fred Rogers.
The book also includes a peek at the making of the movie, with details on how the cast and crew immersed themselves in Fred Rogers’ Pittsburgh neighborhood to accurately recreate the world of Mister Rogers.
In the book’s foreword, Tom Hanks writes of Fred Rogers, “His programs were studied and precise works meant to address the infinite fears and questions faced by children: Can I get sucked down the drain of my bathtub? Am I safe in an airplane? Why am I so sad sometimes?”
“What many people cannot fathom in Fred Rogers is that his affection, delight and care for children was sincere…That each of us is special in our own way, that what is essential in life is invisible to the naked eye, and that he really did want us to be his neighbor.”
About Gavin Edwards:
Gavin Edwards is the New York Times bestselling author of 11 books, including The Tao of Bill Murray, Last Night at the Viper Room, The World According to Tom Hanks, and the wildly successful ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series of misheard-lyrics collections. A longtime contributor at Rolling Stone, he has written for the New York Times, Wired, Billboard, Details, and GQ; and appeared on television programs including the Today show, Entertainment Tonight, and Jeopardy!
About Tim Lybarger, Melissa Wagner and Jennifer McGuiggan
Tim Lybarger is the creator of The Neighborhood Archive, an exhaustive online fan site for all things Mister Rogers. He is also school counselor in East-Central Illinois.
Melissa Wagner is a writer and editor who had the honor of working with Fred Rogers on several books, including The Mister Rogers Parenting Book and Mister Rogers’ Playtime.
Jennifer McGuiggan is a writer and editor who has worked with The Fred Rogers Center. She lives in Greensburg, PA, the city next door to Fred Rogers’ hometown of Latrobe.