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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers
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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,791 ratings  ·  451 reviews
Fred Rogers (1928–2003) was an enormously influential figure in the history of television and in the lives of tens of millions of children. As the creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he was a champion of compassion, equality, and kindness. Rogers was fiercely devoted to children and to taking their fears, concerns, and questions about the world seriously.

The G
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
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Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, celebrity
I grew up watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood, and suffice it to say, most Americans who turned five by 2001 probably did as well. My husband watched the program to help him with his English when he first came to this country. Mister Rogers is by all accounts an American icon, so, when I saw on my goodreads feed a few months back that a new biography on Fred Rogers would be published this year, I knew that it was a book I just had to read. The Good Neighbor, written by a longtime Rogers acquaint ...more
Katie B
I recently saw the documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? and absolutely loved it. Like weeping in the middle of a crowded theater type of love which kinda caught me off guard because although I watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood growing up, it wasn't exactly must see tv for me. But learning more about this man and how much good he put into the world, just really brought up all these emotions in me. While the film focused primarily on the tv show, this book is the definitive Fred Rogers biograph ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I never watched a ton of Mister Roger's Neighborhood growing up (I was more of an Arthur and Goosebumps type of kid and I lost TV access when I was in the third grade, haven't had cable, satellite or streaming since), but it's impossible not to recognize this endearing guy. More than just a famous TV show host, Fred Rogers truly did care about his viewers by all accounts, and in an unfortunate age of the scandals of Bill Cosby and the illegal stunts of Justin Bieber, it's great to read a story a ...more
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
I was anxious to read this biography as my older kids really grew up with Mr. Rodgers and I admire him as a person and role model. However the writing in this biography is so mediocre and repetitive that I just can't finish. It's a shame because this could have been so much better.

So DNF for me at 60%
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers had told his young viewers, “my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”
Yes, there are. Fred Rogers was proof of that. A man born with privileged demographics along with considerable
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I admit I was skeptical, but this was as substantive and wholesome a biography as I could have asked for.

If there is one 'takeaway', if any, it is how much Fred Rogers cared about the work of educating children. He paid for his early programs himself, and he steadfastly refused to license any merchandise. He kept an extensive correspondence with the educational psychologists and teachers of his day, and the section which analyzes how he frames a sentence was a brilliant illustration of his tech
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Ok, this book may only "speak" to those from the generations of children in America and Canada who watched Mr. Rogers on TV, but while it will tug on our nostalgia, it will also speak to those today who are tired of negativity everywhere we turn.

Mr. Rogers was a breath of fresh air in the past and he is still that today. I am SO GLAD that this wasn't a salacious tell-all about Mr. Rogers. He really WAS the person who sang to his tv neighbors every episode. He really WAS that loving and giving an
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: 2018
I really want to like this but IT NEEDS AN EDITOR SO BAD. I do not need to hear six times, in six different contexts, about how Fred stayed in an air conditioned room all summer one summer because his asthma was so bad.

I'm still reading it, because I want to know more. But I really hope there's a little more editing prior to the actual publication date....OR IS THIS JUST HOW AVERAGE ADULT NONFICTION READS? I have been spoiled by the likes of the 57 Bus and Vincent and Theo.
Stacie C
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, e-book-arcs
What memories do I have of Fred Rogers? I remember his show and I remember puppets but I don’t remember much of the man. Regardless I was intrigued by this biography and the concept of learning more about this man, whose songs I remember but whose life I do not. I feel like everyone remembers the man in the cardigan but no one knew him. After reading this book I feel like I know him and more than that, I miss him. I wish that I had incorporated him into my child’s life at a young age. I wish I c ...more
Scott S.
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another outstanding biography (the short list also includes Matthew Polly's Bruce Lee: A Life and Jonathan Eig's Ali: A Life, in my opinion) published since last autumn, King's The Good Neighbor is a double-barreled salvo in presenting the detailed life story of TV host Fred Rogers AND a certain nostalgia factor for a large but relevant audience from North America. A nice, heartwarming refrain throughout the book was that Rogers was a 'what you see is what you get'-type of man -- devout, well-me ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir-bio
"i'm very much interested in choices, and what it is that enable us human beings to make the choices we make all through our lives. what choices lead to ethnic cleansing? what choices lead to healing? what choices lead to the destruction of the environment, the erosion of the sabbath, suicide bombings or teenagers shooting teenagers? what choices encourage heroism in the midst of chaos?"
the good neighbor: the life and work of fred rogers is a comprehensive biography of mister rogers, one of th
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
At the heart of this work lies the questions: How did Fred Rogers do it? How did he create hundreds and hundreds of shows over the course of three decades? Part of it was his family’s wealth, that allowed him to adopt great patience and perfectionism. But it was also a lineage of renowned child psychologists, from Doctor Spock to Margaret McFarland, who gave input into many of the challenging subjects that Rogers tackled over the years. The most fascinating part of the book is the description of ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
First things first, I listened to the audiobook- which is narrated by LaVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow fame) so that was immediately exciting.

Second my biggest complaint has less to do with Roger’s story and more to do with the author of this story. The book is needlessly repetitive, almost as if the author wanted the book to be longer than it needed to be. Several times as the listener I am told the SAME THING. I found this disappointing because it took away from the narrative of Fred Rogers li
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, adult, biography
I have a hard time calling Fred Rogers anything but Mister Rogers, and that speaks to how much of a cultural symbol he has become for anyone who grew up watching his show--it’s difficult to believe that beyond the Neighborhood, there was a real man who had worries and troubles of his own. King’s loving portrait shines a light on the complexity of Rogers’s life while also revealing that off-camera there was a man just as kind and tender as he appeared on screen. THE GOOD NEIGHBOR is a biography ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didn-t-finish
What a disappointment.
5 stars for the subject, 1 star for the writing. I tried so hard, but did not finish at 40%.

This was so repetitive it's not even funny. It was like a high school term paper that required 1000 words but the student only needed 500 words. So we get filler. Repeatedly. Sometimes the same statement is repeated 3 times in a single chapter with slightly different wording. Great, yeah we know Fred spend a summer in an air conditioned room because of his asthma. I don't need to hea
Abby Johnson
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a great book and a terrific audio recording. Pair LeVar Burton with Mr. Rogers and it's nostalgiafest 2018 (in a good way!). If you grew up watching Mr. Rogers, this is a must read.
Passenger B.
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Testament of an extraordinary man who was a leading example of kindness and on how to be a more compassionate, helpful and overall better human being.
The writing leaves a little something to desire (for me) here and there which is why I gave it 4.5 stars instead of 5.
But overall this is definitely one of the better biographies I've read, especially of the ones I read that were published this year.
An absolute keeper!
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Subject: 5 stars
Writing: 3 stars

When I saw the ARC of this title pop up in Edelweiss, I almost broke my finger hitting the download button, since I had just been talking to my husband about how there weren't any really great biographies of Mister Rogers out there. Unfortunately . . . that might still be true.

I feel like the book accomplished what a biography should, in that I now know much more than I did about how Mister Rogers came to be Mister Rogers -- his life and family and the developmen
Patty Smith
Thanks to Netgalley, Abrams Press, and Maxwell King for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy.

Fred Rogers is beloved by millions of people - children, now adults, who remember Mr. Rogers with fondness. His program was the most successful children’s program on public television due to his vision, commitment and singular ability to talk to children on their level. His message of loving you “just the way you are”
Xavier (CharlesXplosion)
The Good Neighbor is a tenderly, written homage to a well-know, yet obscure figure, but subsequently, is far to long and overly repetitive.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the wonderful story of a wonderful man. Loved this audiobook and its narration by Levar Burton.
Enchantress  debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
5 stars! I love it! I requested this title from NetGalley just a few days before it was published, after seeing it on my home feed a few times on GoodReads. I instantly knew I would love it after only reading a few pages. I did not get to complete it before the publish date, but I got a notification from Hoopla, the library app, that it was available in ebook and audio. I thought I'd check the audio out as I am in the car a lot for my commute. So excited to find Lavar Burton of Reading Rainbow n ...more
An enjoyable listen with Levar Burton narrating. While the author sometimes repeats the same story or quote in more than one chapter, overall this is an informative and entertaining biography of a man who's influence is still felt 15 years after his death.
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could have met him, but from the sound of it Mr. Rogers on TV was Mr. Rogers in real life.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fred Rogers is my hero. He’s kind and gentle and clever and, best of all, he listens.

I read this book with trepidation. Would my hero be dethroned? Would this be the story of a person wildly different from the Mister Rogers I adore?

I can tell you, happily, that it is not. Every person, without exception, who met Rogers found him to be exactly as he presented himself on television. He wasn’t a saint—-sometimes he lost his temper and he had troubles with his sons when they were teens—-but he was
Rebecca McPhedran
What a beautifully written tribute to our favorite sweater-wearing neighbor.

Many of us know of Mr. Rogers, and if we don't, it's because we we raised under a rock for most of our formative years. His music, his voice, his make-believe characters are all things we fondly remember from childhood. Immensely talented, and incredibly humble, Fred Rogers talked the talk and walked the walk. He was never one to want the spotlight, but because of his talents, and his passion for early childhood educati
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Revisiting the life of one of my childhood heroes, read by one of my other childhood heroes. So comforting.
This book was not probably the smoothest written biography in the world, but Fred Rogers' life was so fascinating, and deliciously boring, and cheerful, and good. Such a good man. I can only hope, and try, and learn to be more like him. And at the end of the day, I know he would think I was enough. Just the way I am.

Someone TELL ME when the next episode marathon is! I NEED in on this!
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, audio
This meticulously written biography chronicles Mr. Rogers’s life and career as a pioneering children’s entertainer and educator. He was honest with children in a way they could understand without making them feel small. I sincerely wish I had watched him more as a child.

LeVar Burton was the perfect narrator choice, however, due to the book’s pacing, I had to speed up the audio to 1.75x.
Sep 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit to being a little afraid to listen to this. What if Fred Rogers turned out to be a horrible person when he wasn't in the Neighborhood?!?!

Thankfully, that was not the case.

(This is not a coherent 'review' by any means. It's hard to type when you're crying lol.)

This was meticulously researched and at times feels like a big hug. It's trippy to hear about Mr Rogers before he was Mr Rogers, especially his college days (when he once dated more than one woman!). The chapters covering his tim
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
There are three ways to ultimate success:
The first way is to be kind.
The second way is to be kind.
The third way is to be kind.
― Fred Rogers

Oh, that the world had more people like Fred Rogers: a truly gentle man whose life's work was devoted to kindness, authenticity, and deep-seated values. As a child of the '80s, I adored his quiet, slow-paced show. What I couldn't articulate then is this: it was heavenly programming for the introverted kid. He was the calm voice when everything else in life wa
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Oakville Reads: The Good Neighbor 1 15 Oct 17, 2018 08:19AM  
“You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.” 5 likes
“Mister Rogers speaks directly into the camera to the little children who are quietly, intently watching: “It helps to say that you’re sad. Often it even helps to cry . . . let people know how you feel.” This is Rogers’s signature message: feelings are all right, whatever is mentionable is manageable, however confusing and scary life may become. Even with death and loss and pain, it’s okay to feel all of it, and then go on.” 3 likes
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