9 of the Best Books About Mister Rogers for Children and Adults
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood charmed viewers of all ages for over 30 years. And even though young viewers today may not be familiar with Fred Rogers and his neighbors, the spinoff series Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is still educating kids on neighborliness today. In recent years, fans of Mister Rogers have been able to learn more about the series and the man behind it through the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and the biopic A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks.
What is it about Mister Rogers that resonates with audiences two decades after the end of the show? Although the show’s quiet music, calm narration, and quaint puppetry may seem outdated next to modern children’s television, Fred Rogers’s lessons are timeless. Whether changing his shoes or riding the trolley to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, Mister Rogers always found a way to emphasize the importance of kindness, respect, friendship, and being a good neighborhood. Each episode ended with the most important reminder: You can make the world a better place just by being yourself.
Throughout his career, Fred Rogers penned over 50 books for both young and adult audiences. Some of his most popular books can be found on the list below. You can find a full list of books by Fred Rogers here. Most of the books on this list, however, are written by viewers, teachers, historians, and cast members. Children’s books about Mister Rogers teach timeless lessons on being a good neighbor through the star’s life, lyrics, and style. Adult books about Mister Rogers dig deeper into his history, the making of the show, and how his teachings for children can be translated into advice for adults.
Whether you’re looking to introduce a young reader to Fred Rogers or hoping to find a little peace for yourself in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, this list will help you find the perfect book on being a good neighbor.
Children’s Books About Mister Rogers
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers, Illustrated by Luke Flowers
Mister Rogers’s sweet, gentle songs were a hallmark of the beloved show. But when you look at the lyrics more closely, you’ll find beautiful poetry. This book combines the poetry of Fred Rogers’s songs with delightful illustrations to create the perfect picture book. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood breathes fresh life into the songs familiar to viewers.
Who Was Mister Rogers? by Diane Bailey, Illustrated by Dede Putra
Part of Penguin Workshop’s Who Was? series, this picture book is the perfect introduction to Fred Rogers. Whether or not young readers have seen Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, they’ll enjoy learning about the star’s commitment to kindness. From Rogers’s childhood interest in puppet making to his success on the small screen, Who Was Mister Rogers? tells the history of everyone’s favorite neighbor.
Be My Neighbor by Maya Ajmera and John D. Ivanko
This children’s book takes Mister Rogers’s lessons on being a good neighbor and takes them to an international stage. Be My Neighbor has a foreword from Fred Rogers, where he emphasizes that no matter where we live, it’s important to be kind and helpful to your neighbors. Then, young readers can learn about homes, schools, places of worship, and public spaces with pictures from diverse communities around the world. Most importantly, it teaches that no matter how different neighborhoods may look, we all have a responsibility to care for each other.
Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers by Laura Renauld, Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
One of Fred Rogers’s biggest priorities was to help children better understand and embrace their feelings. This picture book explores emotions while also teaching children about Mister Rogers’s life and work. From his childhood, to creating Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, to advocating for public television funding in front of Congress, Fred’s Big Feelings honors Mister Rogers’s work beautifully. Colorful illustrations paired with a robust history of Fred Rogers’s life make for an unforgettable book.
Memoir/Biography Books About Mister Rogers
The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers
In times of trouble, many people look to Mister Rogers for a way to process their feelings. Published posthumously, this book collects some of Fred Rogers’s timeless wisdom from speeches, books, interviews, letters, and transcripts from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The resulting text holds answers to some of life’s hardest questions. From friendship and love to honesty and respect, The World According to Mister Rogers is full of advice for being kinder to yourself and others.
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King
Many writers have drawn inspiration from Mister Rogers; the list of books about his legacy is incredibly long. But this book, published in 2018 by the former Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center, is the only official biography of Mister Rogers. King draws on original interviews, oral histories, and archival documents to paint an expansive portrait of Fred Rogers’s life. The biography is rich in detail, including moments both personal and professional that shaped the life of an iconic figure.
Officer Clemmons: A Memoir by Dr. François S. Clemmons (May 5, Catapult)
Officer Clemmons, a friendly police officer who also ran a neighborhood singing and dance studio, is one of the most beloved and remembered characters on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Dr. Clemmons played the role for 25 years, where he made history as the first African American with a recurring role on a children’s television show. In this new memoir, he shares the story of the choices and sacrifices that made him such an iconic figure. From his childhood in Alabama and Ohio, to embracing his sexuality during college, to his lifelong friendship with Fred Rogers, Officer Clemmons tells the story of the man behind a character that changed history.
Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood by Melissa Wagner, Illustrated by Max Dalton
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood may have been created for a young audience, but many of the lessons he taught are just as important for adults. This book revisits some of Mister Rogers’s most timeless lessons on topics like kindness, empathy, respect, love, and self-care from an adult perspective. Paired with colorful illustrations and touching quotes, this book is like a warm, cardigan-clad hug from Fred Rogers himself. If you watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as a child and are looking to relive the wholesome magic as an adult, this book is a must-read.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: A Visual History by Melissa Wagner, Tim Lybarger, and Jenna McGuiggan
Instead of exploring the life and lessons of Fred Rogers, this book goes behind the scenes to explore the making of his iconic show. Including photographs, interviews, and articles, this visual history pulls back the curtain to learn how the show has deeply impacted viewers and American culture. Chapters explore cast and crew, set design, puppets, and the lasting legacy of the show. Readers will learn that it takes a village to create a show like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and how Fred Rogers and the show creators’ motivations endure today.
We hope you enjoy this reading list of books about Mister Rogers for readers of all ages! Read more on Book Riot about Mister Rogers:
10 Mister Rogers Quotes to Give You Hope for the World Again
Mister Rogers on the Importance of Early Childhood Literacy
Kidlit These Days: Look for the Helpers, the Essential Workers