Some of my dearest childhood memories occurred in my grandmother’s cozy living room. Curled up on the floor in front of a 1970s-style console television, watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
, I would observe my best adult friend change into a sweater and sneakers, play music, and sing. He’d introduce me to talented people, show me how crayons and applesauce and wagons are made, and let me peek into a colorful world where no one is perfect but everyone is accepted and appreciated. Then he’d tell me I was one of a kind and that people could like me just for being me.
Revisiting the shows as an adult, I realize there is a depth and intention behind Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
that I didn’t notice as a child. Hidden in plain sight are displays of some of my most deeply held beliefs and the messages I want to share with my daughter: You have value, and so does every other person, so treat yourself and others with care and respect. People’s differences should be acknowledged and welcomed. It’s okay to talk about the things that make us feel bad. Don’t get so busy that you stop recognizing beauty and learning about the world.
In this book, you’ll find quotes and anecdotes taken directly from television visits with Mister Rogers, his neighbors, and the familiar faces of the residents of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Mister Rogers was always focused on children, but his words are just as important and meaningful to adults.
Copyright © 2019 by Melissa Wagner and Fred Rogers Productions. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.