Complete this lyric, “Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high, take a look, it’s in a book, a Reading ________.” If you were a PBS watching kid in the ’80s and ’90s, then you just belted out “Rainbow.”
Reading Rainbow was the book lover’s dream show. Levar Burton hosted each half hour episode. All of the episodes centered around a theme, an animated read aloud, a field trip, and three books suggested by kids. How I longed to be one of those kids at the end of the show who presented a book.
The show ran and reran for many seasons. I definitely had my favorite episodes. I shivered at the mysteries of ancient Egypt presented in Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki. I cried while listening to Perfect the Pig by Susan Jeschke. This book is about a pet pig who can fly, is stolen, and then abused by his kidnappers. It has a happy ending, but I sometimes changed the channel before the end of the story. Listening to stories like Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold and I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité made me want to visit far away places. I still seek out many of these books to share with my students and my son.
If you are feeling nostalgic for Reading Rainbow, I suggest taking a look at these Reading Rainbow–inspired items. But, you don’t have to take my word for it!