One of the "Best Books" of the year from The Smithsonian, The Washington Independent Review, and more! From bestselling writer David Kamp, the "fun, fascinating, and surprisingly touching," (People) behind-the-scenes story of the cultural heroes who created the beloved children's TV programs Sesame Street, The Electric Company, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Free to Be...You and Me, and Schoolhouse Rock!--which transformed American childhood for the better, teaching kids about diversity, the ABCs, and feminism through a fun, funky 1970s lens. With a foreword by Questlove.
In 1970, on a soundstage on Manhattan's Upper West Side, a group of men, women, and Muppets of various ages and colors worked doggedly to finish the first season of a children's TV program that was not yet assured a second season: Sesame Street
. They were conducting an experiment to see if television could be used to better prepare disadvantaged preschoolers for kindergarten. What they didn't know then was that they were starting a cultural revolution that would affect all American kids.
In Sunny Days
, bestselling author David Kamp captures the unique political and social moment that gave us not only Sesame Street
, but also Fred Rogers's gentle yet brave Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
; Marlo Thomas's unabashed gender politics primer Free to Be...You and Me
; Schoolhouse Rock!
, an infectious series of educational shorts dreamed up by Madison Ave admen; and more, including The Electric Company
It was a unique time when an uncommon number of media professionals and thought leaders leveraged their influence to help children learn--and, just as notably, a time of unprecedented buy-in from American parents.
is full of such nostalgic jolts...it makes the era a pleasure to revisit" (The Wall Street Journal
) and captures a wondrous period in the US when a determined few proved that, with persistence and effort, they could change the lives of millions. It is "a lively and bewitching recounting of a particularly ripe period in television and cultural history" (The New York Times Book Review
) and, as the Los Angeles Times
notes, "a sublime book about a variety of creative people coming together not in the pursuit of fame or money, but to enrich the lives of children."