HELLO, NEIGHBOR!: THE KIND AND CARING WORLD OF MISTER ROGERS, by Matthew Cordell, Neal Porter Books; Illustrated edition, April 6, 2020, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Today is World Kindness Day. It was created in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement “to highlight good deeds in the community focusing on the positive power and the common thread of kindness which binds us.”
And who better to celebrate kindness with than Mister Rogers.
For more than 30 years, Mister Rogers entered our homes bringing light, wonder and compassion.
“It’s our insides that make us who we are, that allow us to dream and wonder and feel for others. That’s what’s essential. That’s what will always make the biggest difference in our world.” —Fred Rogers
In difficult times, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood provided a refuge for children and their families alike; a way to understand and talk about what was happening, and find hope for a brighter tomorrow.
Groundbreaking in a quiet, generous way, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood introduced a generation of children to the wonders of the world in the comfort of their own living rooms. Fred Rogers took young viewers to art museums, introduced them to different professions, and talked through difficult subjects like losing a loved one, or experiencing parents’ divorce, with compassion and reassurance. — Synopsis provided by Neal Porter Books
Hello, Neighbor!: The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers is the only authorized picture book biography of Fred Rogers, and it’s easy to see why it is the authorized biography. Caldecott Medalist Matt Cordell takes on Fred Rogers’ story with the same respect and care Mister Rogers showed throughout his life.
In fact, Hello, Neighbor! feels like an extension of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Cordell’s muted illustrations are a mix of reality and whimsy. He captures the sets and characters in such a way that you can’t help but be drawn in.
I grew up with Mister Rogers. My 6-year-old grew up with Daniel Tiger. She’s seen a few episodes of the original show — enough to understand they’re connected. When Hello, Neighbor! arrived, she was immediately drawn to it. When we read it together, it elicited a number of questions and side conversations, and I was able to pull up video clips of scenes that play out in the book. She loved everything about it. And later, when Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood came on PBS she watched — even though she says she’s too old — with Hello, Neighbor! in hand.
Not many people can elicit that kind of a response, but Mister Rogers does every time. His joy, curiosity and kindness will never go out of style.
© 2020, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.