If you’re anything like us, you spent a good portion of your childhood learning about books from LeVar Burton and his award-winning show Reading Rainbow on PBS. The addictive song, the colorful graphics, the encouragement to step into a story and live the adventure alongside the characters was so effective for kids in the 80s and 90s that it seems only natural for Burton to be publishing his first children’s book in collaboration with the show. Reading Rainbow will publish the book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, this October. He wrote the book in collaboration with Susan Schaefer Bernardo, and it is illustrated by Courtenay Fletche. It hits shelves October 7.
The synopsis of the story (provided by Amazon) also lets us know that we’ll probably love his new book as much as we loved Reading Rainbow:
When little Mica Mouse is scared by thunder booming outside her cozy home, Papa Mouse reaches for just the right story to comfort her. Hugging her close, he begins to read The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm. In this poetic book-within-a-book, a happy little rhinoceros is overwhelmed by a storm that sweeps away everything he loves. Swallowing the storm just makes him feel worse, so Rhino sets off on a whimsical journey toward healing. Along the way, he meets many friends, including a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale. With their help, Rhino lets go of the storm inside and learns to see the light in a world turned gray. Mica Mouse is soothed by the story and Papa’s gentle reminder that even though bad things sometimes happen, the world is full of people who care.
The last year has definitely been an eventful one for the actor with the overwhelming success of his first Kickstarter to fund a relaunch of Reading Rainbow for a new generation. The campaign raised $5.4 million from 105,857 donors in 35 days, and will hopefully bring new readers of all ages to embrace reading, storytelling, and a tradition of fostering the imagination. The goal of the new Reading Rainbow is to bring kids to literacy through any method available to them. In 1983, that meant putting books on TV. In 2012, it was the launch of an award-winning mobile app. And with the Kickstarter, it will put Reading Rainbow on the web, mobile devices, game consoles, connected televisions and directly into classrooms.
We can’t wait to see Reading Rainbow inspire more kids than ever. Did you watch Reading Rainbow as a kid? Tell us your favorite book growing up in the comments below!