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The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  21,593 ratings  ·  3,502 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.

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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Harry N. Abrams
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Becki The whole book is boring. It is poorly written and repetitive with many tangents that have little to nothing to do with Fred Rogers. Which is disappoi…moreThe whole book is boring. It is poorly written and repetitive with many tangents that have little to nothing to do with Fred Rogers. Which is disappointing as a bio of his life could have been interesting if better written.(less)

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Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: celebrity, biography
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
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: edelweiss, abandoned
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%
"One of the most radical figures of contemporary history never ran a country or led a battle. . . . He became a legend by wearing a cardigan and taking off his shoes. . . . Rogers was a genius of empathy . . . fearless enough to be kind." - Mary Elizabeth Williams, journalist

Not much needs to be said to introduce a reader of this review to the legendary figure of Fred Rogers. Many of us grew up with him; those who did not tune into him weekday mornings will likely be familiar with this cherished
Miranda Reads
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fred Rogers, creator, director and actor of Mister Roger's Neighborhood was a truly beloved television figure that was instrumental in shaping millions children's lives.

His premise was simple - look at life as a child would, seek to educate and teach them how to be the best possible person they can be.

And when he first started his show, people definitely gave him a side-eye. It was during the time of Tom & Jerry and other similarly violent children's cartoons.

But Roger's gentle patience and unre
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
While I didn't grow up watching Mr Rogers (sadly!), I've since heard so much about him.

This book makes all the more obvious that he was a decent and good man who wanted to bring positive to everyone.

With that said, I can't say this was an "enjoyable read" but it was interesting to learn more about his life and career.

*I don't give ratings to this type of book.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hello Neighbour! Many of children and adults alike have come to know the wonders of Fred Rogers during a long career in children’s education television. Maxwell King seeks to revive an interest in Mr. Rogers and his extensive impact that touched the lives of thousands over a career that spanned six decades. The young Fred Rogers was quite introverted and bullied, choosing to hide away in his family’s third floor home, where he had his own puppet theatre. King writes of how Rogers would use his t ...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
Elyse  Walters
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Paul says he’s not even married to me...haha...
Because I’m sooo mean!
But... he didn’t exactly like this book either.
We’ve been listening to the audiobook together and I quit....I can’t take anymore.

I’ve had enough talk about how Fred’s wealthy family was not pretentious. It’s pretty easy not to be pretentious when you have a cook, a driver, a housekeeper, and a 2nd house in nantucket.

Yep...Fred’s family were good- kind- humble -down to earth good neighborhoods!
I get it! Yippy!
Really... wonder
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.
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
“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 cons
Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites-2019
Check out my review of this book (and the A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood movie) on Booktube! ...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 spent a summer in an air conditioned room because of his asthma. I don't need to hea
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, won’t you be mine, won’t you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?

Just hearing this opening line brings back so many wonderful memories for me! Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of the shows I used to watch almost religiously back as a child growing up in the 1980s. Even though I moved on to other shows when I became an adult, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had left such an impression on me that many of the “lessons” I had lea
Scott (on temporary hiatus)
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
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
"Please, think of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their day care, their health, their education--please listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them." (PG. 242)

"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." (PART IV)

"It's really quite simple: The man you saw on the show, that's who he was
Jason Koivu
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
I'm not crying! You're the one who's crying! ...more
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
Elizabeth A.G.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An American icon in children's television programming, Fred Rogers is portrayed in Maxwell King's book The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers as the same genuine person in his "real life" as the public saw him on TV. We learn of the privileged background, the family ethic of hard work and generosity, the influence of his maternal grandparents, the childhood issues of loneliness as an only child (until his parents adopted his sister when he was about 11 years old,) shyness, and feeli ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, nonfiction
I feel like the world would benefit from watching more Mister Rogers episodes. I certainly think I might have! I did watch it quite a bit, but was never one of the devotees who considered themselves one of his "neighbors." But he was a quiet genius, and inspiring man, and he said and did some wonderful things. Part of his genius was that he made it seem so effortless: by talking so slowly and simply to children, the more cynical among us missed the fact that he was helping kids deal with tough a ...more
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
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
Christina Knowles
Nov 07, 2018 rated it did not like it
I’ve never read a more boring biography. Fred Rogers was a wonderful, generous, and moral man born into privilege, and he paid it forward. Now you don’t have to read it. Zero conflict. Zero percent interesting and highly repetitive. It could have been thirty pages long without leaving anything out.
Amanda Hupe
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-reads, bookclub
I think that The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King is a great way to kick off November. It is a month of being grateful, cherishing our loved ones, and being thankful for everything we have in our lives as we head into the craziness of the holiday season. This book goes through the life and work of the incredible Fred Rogers, whom we all know as Mr. Rogers, from the TV show, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He was someone who was able to connect and empathize with everyone he met, especially children. He de ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This biography of Fred Rogers is unconditionally laudatory. The focus is on his ground-breaking work in children’s television. Although we learn a bit of the personal life of Rogers as a child, we learn almost nothing of him as a husband and father. I would have liked more insight into the private face of this man. I also wish the editor had eliminated the relentless repetition of details about Rogers.
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. ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Our two children, born nearly five years apart in the 1960s, were dedicated "Sesame Street" and "Electric Company" kids. But that was long enough ago that every once in a while they'd catch an episode or two of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" as well. And while I, too, tended to prefer the blinkin' lights, in-your-face constant action of those first two, I admit that the calmness and serenity that Fred Rogers brought to his show was very welcome. Whether or not it was our favorite, though, there's ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
My kids were not big fans of Mr. Rogers, but I always admired the man. I still do after reading this book, which really makes him sound larger than life. I found out some things about him that I didn't know before, but the book was way too long. It was repetitive in spots, I found myself skimming some of it. Also, it seemed to me that the author was just a little snarky in spots, perhaps trying to give it a more balanced read. It just annoyed me. For instance, why bring up the question of Mr. Ro ...more
MissBecka Gee
If you were not already in awe of Fred Rogers (I was) you will be after reading this.
The guy was even more wonderful and kind than he seemed on his show!
The audio is narrated by LeVar Burton.

Audio gets my rec!
Diane S ☔
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
Thoughts soon.
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There is nothing like reading a history or biography book and being so completely transported to another time and place that you find...
76 likes · 24 comments
“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.” 23 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.” 15 likes
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