To Be Real

The richly deserved heaps of accolades festooning Mr. Rogers Neighborhood usually highlights the wonderful work with puppets and make-believe. There’s an aspect of the fred rogers high schoolprogram’s design that is firmly, essentially rooted in reality, children’s realities. The documentary segments produced for them, through the Neighborhood characters such as all the music segments through Joe Negri’s Music Shop, appealed to kids desire to know the real world, about how things are made, and about neighbors. When children were featured as guests, they were never performing, always rooted in their own reality, and respected for it. Though many people don’t make the connection between Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and children’s documentaries, children’s documentary makers share Fred’s perspective, and their best films serve the same purpose. My love of the program is tightly woven with my desire to see more for children on screens that is rooted in that calm and relevant reality

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