If I Read These Books, Will I Be More Like Mr. Rogers?

Back in 2018, I wrote about my experience of seeing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”, the documentary about Mister Rogers. The film, which has a 98% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, was phenomenal.

I also wrote:

To say he was one of the kindest, gentlest men I have ever seen would be an understatement.

I also noted that I was strongly considering buying a cardigan (or two) to wear whenever I taught as a tribute to Mister Rogers, and to remind me of what kind of teacher and person he was. My wife/Santa brought me two cardigan sweaters the next Christmas, and I’ve worn them proudly on many of the days that I’ve taught. The students got to know those sweaters pretty well.

Instead of wanting to be like Mike, I wanted to be like Fred, and dressing like him was part of the process.

Today, thanks to fellow accounting educator and Internet curator extraordinaire, Bob Jensen, I have more guidance as to how to be like Fred (beyond the obvious things like being kind and respectful).

Bob posted a link to a story from Open Culture that provided a list of Mr. Rogers 10 favorite books. The list was put together in response to a request Mr. Rogers had received from someone who was putting together a book that would be a compilation of the favorite books of famous people.

Here is Mr. Rogers response to that request, including the list of his favorite books:

I must admit I have not read any of the books on the list, at least cover to cover.

Sure I’ve read many passages from the Bible, and I’m familiar with many of the works of Shakespeare, and I’m sure I’ve read many poems by Robert Frost. But the other ones, I’ve never really heard of.

It’s an interesting list, and provides some further insight into the kind of person Fred was, as does the language of the letter itself.

So I guess if I want to be like Fred, it looks like I’ve got some serious reading to do.

I’m curious if anyone is familiar with any of the books listed 1-6; is there one you might recommend I get started with?

27 thoughts on “If I Read These Books, Will I Be More Like Mr. Rogers?

  1. I can’t help with any review of the 1 – 6 items on the list, but I am surprised you glossed over the fact that “The Vegetarian Times” made the list. He is iconic as a personality, and beloved as a person. A fine choice to emulate in our own lives. Great post!


  2. The Little Prince has been translated from the original French, Jim, and is a delightful and very famous story for children. The Secret Garden is my favourite children’s classic of all times, filled with mystery and delight, it is also a favourite of my son, Gregory’s. They are both children’s books. I don’t know the others.


  3. The Secret Garden is a must read for anybody of any age. I still quote from it today. Once you read it, I’ll share my favourite quote with you.


  4. I’ve read Le Petit Prince, it’s excellent and worth reading. I compiled a list of my top ten recipe books for a publication on the top 100 recipe books. It was difficult to do. I wonder if he found his list difficult as well?


    1. thanks for the suggestion, Tandy. I’m sure it is hard to narrow down to a list to just 10 items when you are talking about something you are passionate about. Any vegan recipe books in your top 10?


  5. the little prince. i’ve also read and enjoyed the secret garden, but the little prince is a powerful little book.


  6. I got nothing to recommend. Never read or heard about the book before or the man you mention. But thanks for sharing, it’s a simple post but somehow calm. Anything book related calms me 😄


    1. I just assumed everyone has heard of Fred Rogers; he was the host of a children’s TV program. If you get a chance, I’d recommend the documentary!


      1. Thanks Jim. 😄 I’ll look it up.

        When was he a children tv host and where? Another reason why I never of him probably is because I was born mid-80s and I never even seen a TV before I was 12. 😂 And I grew up in the Philippines. They rarely show American programs in local channels back then…


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