Library corner: ‘ReadingRainbow’continuestoinspirereaders
Butterfly in the sky! Yes, there may very well be many a butterfly in the sky now that summer is in full swing. However, to many of us who were either growing up during the ‘90s or had children growing up during that period, those words are the iconic first lyrics to the theme song of the beloved literature show “Reading Rainbow”.
The PBS classic, hosted by “Roots” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star LeVar Burton, ran for an amazing 23 years and was a staple on local PBS channels for many a child’s before and after-school viewing. The show formula was simple: Guest celebrities would read a book, often a Newbery or Caldecott Award winner. Accompanied by the beautiful, occasionally animated, book’s illustrations, the stories would come to life before the viewers’ eyes. The host would also visit other countries and communities giving kids an early look at the diverse cultures and people around the planet, as well as feature delightful reviews of stories by other children. You can likely still find books with “As Seen on Reading Rainbow” stickers on their covers at your local library.
“Reading Rainbow” stopped production of new episodes in 2006 and ceased reruns in 2008, but the program and its values have clearly made a lasting impact on those who watched in the past. It is poised to make an even greater one in the near future. Burton recently hosted a Kickstarter campaign to bring the “Reading Rainbow” app to the web as well as make it available to a multitude of other media and streaming devices. In addition to that, the goal was to create a classroom version of the app and make it available for free to over 7,500 underprivileged classrooms. The Kickstarter was a massive success, meeting its initial goal of $1 million in less than a day! It went on to hit a later $5 million goal, with an additional $1 million pledged by Seth Macfarlane upon successfully hitting the latter goal. All totaled, the campaign raised $6.5 million, making it one of the most funded Kickstarter campaigns and now holds the record for most backers ever at over 100,000 individual donors!
What a great show of a mutual love for reading and the desire to promote literacy in all children! As a longtime fan of the show, I decided to be a donor. I would love for as many children growing up today as possible to be able to experience it for themselves and develop a love of reading as I did. As a child, I checked out lots of the books I saw on that program to have my parents read to me or to try to read myself. Many of them came from the William Jeanes Memorial Library, and lots of my old favorites can still be checked out here — “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash” by Trinka Hakes Noble, “The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth” by Joanna Cole and “Stellaluna” by Janell Cannon. You can also check out other Reading Rainbow feature-worthy and award-winning books from here that you’re sure to enjoy.
The William Jeanes Me- morial Library and Nicholas and Athena Karabots Center for Learning is located at 4051 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill, and serves Whitemarsh Township and the surrounding communities. If you have any questions about our services, please visit our website at jeaneslibrary. org.