On May 2014, the Reading Rainbow kickstarter began with a goal to raise $1,000,000 to help over 10,000 classrooms by bringing Reading Rainbow to the multiple platforms such as the web and mobile devices. Today the kickstarter has raised over $5.4 million and as part of the $300+ pledge packages, Reading Rainbow hosted a series of Reading Rainbow Live events with Levar Burton and the stars of Battlestar Galactica and Veronica Mars. The last event was held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles and hosted a couple well known Star Trek stars, William Shatner and Sir Patrick Stewart.
Reading Rainbow Live was an amazing event for both adults and children with guests from out of the country. Adults relived the days when they sat in front of the television to watch the TV show and Reading Rainbow Live was a great way to get children interested in books. To start off the event, Burton introduced the audience to a young lady named Danay Ferguson who started her own book donation program called, “Reading Heart.” The program is meant to give books to children in hospitals and in areas with with limited access to books. To support her program, Burton surprised her with a wagon full of books the event’s guests brought for her program.
With Shatner and Stewart as special guests, the final Reading Rainbow Live featured space themed video field trips and books for the day. The books were “Miss Martin is a Martian” by Colleen Murray Fisher and Jared Chapman and “Watch Out for Wolfgang!” by Paul Carrick and were read by Shatner, Burton, and Stewart. There could not have been a different set of voices for story time with Shatner’s wise-cracking voice, Burton’s warm, genuine voice, and Stewart’s strong, booming voice. Growing up to Reading Rainbow myself, watching the video field trips and hearing a story read out loud reminded me why I fell in love with books at a young age.
After story time, Shatner, Burton, and Stewart played a game of “Guess the Word” with three lucky people in the audience that tested their knowledge of Star Trek. The game was hilarious to watch with only Burton’s partner being able to show off his vast Star Trek knowledge while the other two gave hilarious answers to what they were trying to guess.
Stewart: “They assimilated people.”
Guest: “The Assimilators!”
The word was “Borg.”
Shatner, Burton, and Stewart then opened the floor to Q&A and the audience asked questions ranging from Star Trek to their favorite children’s book growing up. Stewart ended the night by telling the audience the reason he loves books was because, “Books will take you into a place that no movie or television can take you and that is the best place to be.”
If you would like to be part of the Reading Rainbow campaign or donate books to Danay’s book donation program, please click the links below and help bring the joy of books to children everywhere.