March 20 – Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day



Fred Rogers was born on March 20, 1928.  During his life he was a minister, songwriter, author, and puppeteer.  But he is most well-known and loved internationally as the sweater-wearing, soft-spoken, child-advocate.  Mr. Rogers became an icon of PBS and the Children’s Television Network with Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Fred Rogers was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 2002, Fred Rogers received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was recognized by two Congressional resolutions the following year.  First, the US Senate unanimously passed Resolution 16 to commemorate the life of Fred Rogers, who ‘through his spirituality and placid nature, was able to reach out to our nations’ children and encourage each of them to understand the important role they play in their communities and as part of their families’.  Then again, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed Resolution 111 honoring ‘his legendary service to the improvement of the lives of children, his steadfast commitment to demonstrating the power of compassion, and his dedication to spreading kindness through example’.

Many of his characters from the original show live on today in the animated Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS.  char_dan_aln
 Mr. Rogers began every episode singing his theme song, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ and changing into his sneakers and one of his trademark sweaters. He has said that every one of his sweaters had been knit by his mother.  One of his sweaters is displayed in the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.

Let me suggest that we celebrate Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day, by wearing a sweater, a comfortable pair of sneakers, and being kinder to each other.

Oh, and I almost forgot my picture book recommendations for today… In addition to several books written for parents, Fred Rogers wrote books for children too.  Here are just a few.

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