Why We Love LeVar Burton

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    LeVar Burton reading at a 2012 event; photo via the U.S. Department of Education Flickr

    LeVar Burton is an actor (Roots, Star Trek: The Next Generation), director, and author. To library folk and other bookworms, however, he is likely best known as the host and executive producer of Reading Rainbow. Debuting in 1983 and remaining on the air until 2009, the show encouraged 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s kids’ curiosity and love of reading—from its signature theme song to Burton’s now hashtagged catchphrase (#bydhttmwfi “but you don’t have to take my word for it”). In 2012, RR leapt from television to digital devices, inspiring another generation of children to “take a look / it’s in a book” in new, interactive ways.

     

     

    Though both Reading Rainbow and LeVar Burton’s career have evolved over the years, one thing that has remained the same is Burton’s commitment to empower all children to become lifelong readers. He’s still making reading cool.

     

     

    He even helped The New York Public Library out when it asked authors, librarians, and other readers to pick up a book or e-reader and declare #ireadeverywhere, which made us feel pretty special.

     

     

    There are many reasons to love LeVar Burton. Certainly one of them is that he’s taught so many of us that we “can be the expert by picking up a book” and that it’s up to us “to pick it off the shelf.”