March 20th is the birthday of Fred Rogers, the creator of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. He hosted 895 episodes and composed over 200 songs for the show. The message of his life and his work was consistent and clear: treat everyone with kindness and respect and you can make the world a better place. “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

Celebrate with us as we honor his work and his message on Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day. Saying hello to someone new or offering someone a kind word is a great place to start. Make your neighborhood a more beautiful place. There are some great ideas for how to do that here. You can download a sign to color, celebrating your neighborhood. Hang it in your window to spread the feeling to passers-by.

If you are interested in learning more about this man, who was widely respected and loved for his thoughtful, generous work, a great place to start is with this recording of his testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce Subcommittee on Communications.

If you are interested in learning more about his work as a committed pacifist, this book sheds light on him in political and social context.

This definitive biography was the 2018 Goodreads choice award winner for history & biography. It is also available in audiobook (bonus: the audiobook narrator is Levar Burton!)

Or read him in his own words. “In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.”

There are many more books and audiobooks in the collection by and about Fred Rogers. And if you’re feeling nostalgic, maybe you’d like to spend an afternoon listening to some of his many songs. Here are some fun facts about the man behind the cardigan: He was a vegetarian, a registered Republican, and a dedicated swimmer. He weighed 143 pounds for most of his adult life. He was quite shy, and had been terribly bullied as a child. He had a Bachelor’s degree in music and was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. He was declared unfit for service after his military physical. He had honorary degrees from 43 colleges and universities, and was awarded both the Presidential Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He napped daily.