LeVar Burton: Inspiring the Next Generation

LeVar Burton speaking at Book People  Image of The Rhino who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton

Woke up singing the Reading Rainbow theme music this morning, y’all. Meeting LB last night at Book People and listening to him read a book live and in person was one of the COOLEST experiences of my life. I felt like I was 5-years-old again. When we got into the book signing line and it was my turn to meet him, I knelt down in front of him, folded my arms on the desk, and rested my chin on top. I wanted to look at him at eye-level, just like I did when I was a kid. A real childhood hero in the flesh.

I didn’t know that I would be so emotional. Tears were flowing from my eyes all evening (even now as I write this!). He represents a time of pure innocence, a time when anything was possible, once you opened a book. He was kind and compassionate, funny and patient. He took his time answering questions, and gave special attention to the young people. A class act.

One young girl asked him what his favorite Reading Rainbow episode was, and we all eagerly awaited his answer. He responded, “You’re trying to get me in trouble aren’t you?” Everyone laughed. He said they were all special to him, but the ones that stood out the most were when he visited Kīlauea, the most active volcano in Hawaii, and when he learned to fly a plane, and learned how to scuba dive, among countless others.

After listening to the RR theme music for the 20th time this morning, I found his Kickstarter campaign video, and if you haven’t watched it — DO IT NOW! It’s hilarious (many of us reacted to meeting him just like these people in the video!), and above all, he inspires hope. Like LB said, our children are growing up in very different times from just 20 years ago…and they need quality educational tools to inspire them. Just like he did for us.

You can still donate to the Kickstarter campaign here. Their goal is to get the program in ALL schools and be able to grant licenses ad infinitum instead of the current single school year: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/readingrainbow/bring-reading-rainbow-back-for-every-child-everywh

“Take a look, it’s in a book…a Reading Rainbow…” God bless you, LeVar Burton.

Photo credit: Amelia Isabel

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