“A meaningful contribution to the growing body of work sharing Mister Rogers’ inspiring life and message that will delight readers of all ages.”
In the midst of detailed articles, an award-winning documentary (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), and an acclaimed feature film (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), this picture book biography about Fred Rogers not only holds its own but adds to the body of quality media paying tribute to an exemplary life. Opening with a depiction of Rogers’ iconic set for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood—complete with his familiar sneakers sitting unlaced by the bench—it flashes back to Rogers’ childhood. With beautiful alliterations, the biography describes Rogers’ discovery of music as an outlet for his strong emotions: “Worry fretted and fussed . . . and faded.” And “Sadness wailed and whimpered . . . and waned.” The story also notes the impact of his Grandfather McFeely’s reassurance: “You made this day a really special day just by being yourself . . . and I happen to like you just the way you are.” Tracking Rogers’ life through influential episodes in high school, college, and early television programming, it climaxes with Rogers’ visit to the U.S. Capitol, where his recital of his song “What Do You Do with the Mad That You Feel?” secures public funding for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for years to come. Throughout, Renauld skillfully weaves memorable stories with Rogers’ theme of coping with emotions, while Barrager’s gouache and colored-pencil illustrations are whimsical and fittingly full of emotion, displayed literally on many pages with waves of hearts and lines flowing from Rogers.
An inspiring picture book biography about the inimitable Fred Rogers, beloved creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely; at other times, he was playful and joyous. But when Fred’s feelings felt too big, his Grandfather McFeely knew exactly what to say to make him feel better: I like you just the way you are.
Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the television program that would go on to warm the hearts and homes of millions of Americans. But one day, the government threatened to cut funding for public television, including Fred’s show. So, Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capitol Hill to make his feelings known.
In a portrait full of warmth and feeling, Laura Renauld and award-winning illustrator Brigette Barrager tell the story of Mister Rogers: a quiet, compassionate hero whose essential message—that it is okay to have and to express feelings—still resonates today.
This book is not associated with or authorized by Fred Rogers Productions.
When Mister Rogers was a boy, he expressed his feelings through music. How do you express yourself when you are happy? Sad? Angry? Excited?
Freddy’s grandfather gave him a life-changing message: “I happen to like you just the way you are.” Describe a time when kind words changed your day.
Fred Rogers learned that one person can make a big difference in someone else’s life. How are you helpful in your family? Your school? Your community?
Brigette Barrager is an award-winning artist, character designer, illustrator and writer of children’s books, best known for illustrating the best-selling Uni the Unicorn. Brigette earned a degree in Character Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, where she now teaches. She is always in search of stories that are both emotionally resonant and whimsical. Brigette lives and works in Los Angeles with her handsome husband Sean, a grumpy little dog, and two rascally gray kitties. www.brigetteb.com • @missbrigette (Instagram)
For Mom and Dad, who, as Fred Rogers said, loved me into being
To Dylan and Daniel
“Many families will welcome the affirming messages in this affectionate portrait.”
“Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. . . . Bold colors spotlight each spread, especially an array of individual panels that illustrate the feelings children experience daily. . . . Bright, well-researched, and welcome.”