A few months ago, I told my dear friend, Associated Press reporter Samantha Critchell, about "Mister Rogers & Me."
"You should interview Marc Brown," she said. "I did a piece on him a few months ago. He said Mister Rogers was a huge influence and mentor."
Marc Brown (as most parents know) is the creator of "Arthur," that adorable aardvark. From Mr. Brown's website:
We are in the business of trying to make children successful. If art truly reflects life, perhaps the same can be said for Arthur and the world of children. We are always on the lookout for issues and problems that are important to children and families and presenting them through books and television, in ways that are helpful, instructive, entertaining and fun.
Arthur is also something of an overachiever. In the past eight years alone he's sold over 50 million books in the United States. His television show is seen by children in more than 60 countries. Successful publishing programs have been established in many of these countries. We are proud that the Arthur books and television series have won numerous awards including The New York Times Bestseller list, several Emmys and The George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting.
In our on-going effort to keep the TV show fresh we add 20 new TV stories each year tackling such issues as dyslexia, asthma, laryngitis, the end of the world and being a good sport. Our publishing program continues to grow on all fronts with new Arthur and D.W. titles from Little Brown, Random House, Bendon, The Learning Company, Fisher-Price, and Publications International. in addition, the very successful Arthur licensing program managed by United Media focuses on products that are helpful to children and families.
I emailed Mr. Brown on Wednesday night. "The integrity with which you've shared Arthur with the world, and the positive message that action -- an he -- so ably delivers," I wrote, "is exactly the deep and simple intention Mister Rogers espoused and demonstrated through example. I hope you'll consider speaking to us for the film."
He wrote back last night.
I would love to talk with you and help honor Fred's legacy.
Let me know how I can help.
Yeeeaaah! The helpers are out there...