My Reading Rainbow Story

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014 in Blog, kickstarter, nostalgia | Comments Off on My Reading Rainbow Story

Reading Rainbow

Check out the Reading Rainbow Kickstarter. It ends July 2nd.

Reading Rainbow didn’t make me a reader, but it told me that I was not alone in my love of books. These days, we have social media and places like Goodreads and LibraryThing and thousands of book blogs. Back in the ’80s, as a kid? I had the B. Dalton at the mall and the Hanford Library. My mom loved to read her Louis L’Amours and Harlequins (the latter, to my mortification). My brother had his Sky and Telescope magazines and read a variety of fiction and nonfiction.

As for me, I read every single horse book I could find.

When I watched Reading Rainbow, I loved connecting with people outside of my family who loved to read. Nothing delighted me more than recognizing books I had read, or finding a new one that we just had to seek out at our next trip to the library.

The episode that I always think as my ‘the first Reading Rainbow’ is the one where James Earl Jones reads Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema.

I mean, holy cow, Darth Vader is reading gorgeous poetry, along with vivid illustrations. It still gives me chills.

A few of my other favorite episodes include Conan the Librarian using might and magic to create library cards (no video on YouTube, alas!), Gregory the Terrible Eater, and probably my favorite episode of all time: on the subject of teamwork, where the featured book was A Chair for Mama. Yes, I remember this off the top of my head. Because I LOVED this episode. I would get this song stuck in my head for weeks. NOW TO INFLICT IT UPON YOU.

At school, I cheered when a teacher would roll in that big black stand with the TV and VCR and put on Reading Rainbow. I’d unabashedly sing along with that theme song.

When I was a kid, we were too poor to support the PBS pledge drives. When I saw this Kickstarter, it hit me in a profound way. The effort’s about the love of books, but for me, it’s also about saying “thank you” for a show that had such a major role in my childhood and made me who I am today.

“Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high…”


The Clockwork Dagger, out September 16th, 2014 from Harper Voyager.