LeVar Burton: 'We Form A Very Strong Bond With The Books We're Exposed To As A Child"

It can be hard to find a good book to read to the young children in your life. "Reading is really such a question of personal taste" one of our guests told us on our Friday, March 21 hour, and we had to agree.

We also had to agree that LeVar Burton knows children's books pretty well. The actor, cultural icon and longtime host of the children's program "Reading Rainbow" (which still lives on in an iPad app, by the way) joined us from Palm Springs, California, where he was about to go on stage (and read to a group of children, of course).

"We are still promoting books at Reading Rainbow," Burton said. "Whether they are books that are bound or books that are digital, I simply want children to read."

Burton — besides fulfilling a few On Point Radio producers' childhood dreams — had a lot to say about the kinds of books and stories that can ring true to young children, even in an increasingly digital age.

"Children who are read to, children who are spoken to, perform much better in a school and an educational situation," he said. "Literature and the sharing of stories is just as much a part of us as is breathing."

Burton also talked to us about the recent discovery and publication of a new collection of Margaret Wise Brown's poetry, and why her famous "Good Night, Moon" is so potent a cultural icon for so many people the world over.

"It is simple, yet elegant, and very powerful work," Burton said. "A child can really begin to put a frame around the world with that little story."

Throughout the day and during the hour, we asked you on Facebook and Twitter for some of your favorite childhood reads, and you came up with a very big and very wonderful list of ideas. We've included as much as we could below, and we hope to add more as you send them in. On air, LeVar Burton told us his go-to books for reading to children include Mary Hoffman's "Amazing Grace,"  Derek Munson's "Enemy Pie," and anything by Shel Silverstein.

"Shel Silverstein was a master with words," Burton said.

What's your favorite childhood book? Do you read it as an adult to the children in your life as a way to connect with childhood memories? Were you a "Reading Rainbow" fan?
Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook, Tumblr and @OnPointRadio.

Books You Loved As A Child

  • "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak
  • "The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf
  • "Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel" by Virginia Lee Burton
  • "The Cat In the Hat" by Dr. Seuss
  • "Make Way For Ducklings" by Robert McCloskey
  • "One Morning In Maine"  by Robert McCloskey
  • "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey
  • "Eloise " by Kay Thompson
  • The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein
  • "The Lovely Doll" by Dare Wright
  • "The Big Green Book" by Maurice Sendak
  • "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White
  • "The Ugly Vegetables" by Grace Lin
  • "The Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson
  • "Frog and Toad" by Arnold Lobel
  • "The Monster at the End of This Book" by Jon Stone
  • "The Boy Who Wouldn't Eat His Breakfast" By Elizabeth Brozowska
  • "Curious George Goes to the Hospital" by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
  • "The Trumpet of the Swan" by E.B. White
  • "The Wind in the Willows" by  Kenneth Grahame
  • "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • "Scruffy The Little Tugboat" by Gertrude Crampton


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