November 7, 2019

Books for neighbors

It’s been more than 50 years since the debut of the beloved PBS television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, but the soft-spoken Pennsylvanian’s enduring legacy has continued to move fans of the show for generations. 

And now, thanks to a slew of recent pop culture tributes, the late Fred Rogers is more popular than ever. With the release of 2018’s critically acclaimed documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the buzzy Marielle Heller-helmed drama A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood set to hit theaters on November 22nd (starring perennial Everyman Tom Hanks, also known as “America’s Dad,” as Rogers), it’s clear that Rogers’ messages of friendship, kindness, and empathy strike a resonant chord in these challenging times. 

On the publishing scene, Maxwell King’s New York Times bestselling biography The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2018. Last month saw the release of Gavin Edwards’ Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever and Shea Tuttle’s Exactly as You Are: The Life and Faith of Mister Rogers. And over in kidlit land, two recent releases, You Are My Friend: The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood by Aimee Reid and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers offer colorful illustrations and sweet encouragement for the littlest readers.

Ready to hop on the neighborhood trolley and take a trip through The Neighborhood of Make-Believe? Check out the flyer below for these and other titles sure to bring a smile to your patrons’ faces (and perhaps a tear to their eyes).

Want to explore titles that aren’t necessarily about Fred Rogers but capture the spirit of his work? Consider pairing NoveList appeal terms like nostalgic, heartwarming, feel-good, or moving with relevant themes like emotions and feelings, making new friends, overcoming fear, being a friend, and (my personal favorite) new to the neighborhood to find books to share with the special people in your life.

Until next time, neighbors!

Kaitlin Conner is a Readers’ Advisory Librarian at NoveList. She is currently reading The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.


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