143 Reasons Mister Rogers Still Matters: Heartwarming Personal Stories from the People Who Knew Him, Learned from Him, and Loved Him

By Debra Englander, Kristin Erickson

Just when you thought you knew Mister Rogers…

Many years after his death, Mister Rogers still smiles reassuringly at us from magazine covers and stamps, graces film and television screens, and continues to bring us words of wisdom and comfort.

Why do we seem to need him more than ever?

143 Reasons Mister Rogers Still Matters reveals some of the answers through never-revealed stories which illuminate his playful sense of humor, his preference for one-on-one encounters vs. crowds, acts of kindness shared with those he swore to secrecy, and his never-ending focus on giving.

Eliot Daley, a longtime friend and former producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1970-75), observed firsthand the public’s reaction to Rogers during countless events the two attended. No matter how famous other attendees were, a hush fell over the room when Rogers entered. Then, Daley says, the entire crowd gravitated toward him. “Fred Rogers was simply the most powerful person I ever met.”

Those who worked with Rogers also recognize his unprecedented gift for seeing situations in ways no one else could. He was somehow able to hone in on the essential details others missed.

Rogers composed untold pieces of music during his life—ranging from whimsical songs he wrote for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to entire operas. Yet he also created symphonies from words. Some of those were our own. By asking the right questions and listening carefully, he brought out our best notes then arranged them precisely until words became music so glorious we long to hear them over and over.

Within all he left us, we’ve come to realize, are the answers to how to live our best lives.