The last session I attended today at ALA Virtual Conference was author Matthew Cordell talking about writing his first picture book biography, Hello, Neighbor about Fred Rogers.
I have the book sitting in my house ready to review (positively), and it was fun to get a peek behind the scenes.
He played the opening song for us, and we were all transported back to our childhoods.
He talked about the things he loved about the show as a child: Special guests, how people make things, Trolley, the Neighborhood of Make Believe.
In 2008, he became a father. When his daughter watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, he noticed new things to love about it: Calm, quiet moments, crafts, feeding fish, showing warmth and wonder, music everywhere, appreciating the arts, love and admiration for children, and inclusion and diversity.
When he did a little research, he found out that was Fred Rogers’ true personality showing on his show and he wanted to write and illustrate a picture book biography about him.
It was his first nonfiction book, so he “looked for the helpers” to make it happen.
Through all of this, it was fun to see slides of his drawings and pictures of his research trips to Pittsburgh where he saw some things actually used on the show.
Figures like Fred can bring peace in these times.
Look out for each other!