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Fred's Big Feelings

The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers

Illustrated by Brigette Barrager

About The Book

An inspiring picture book biography about the inimitable Fred Rogers, beloved creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely; at other times, he was playful and joyous. But when Fred’s feelings felt too big, his Grandfather McFeely knew exactly what to say to make him feel better: I like you just the way you are.

Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the television program that would go on to warm the hearts and homes of millions of Americans. But one day, the government threatened to cut funding for public television, including Fred’s show. So, Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capitol Hill to make his feelings known.

In a portrait full of warmth and feeling, Laura Renauld and award-winning illustrator Brigette Barrager tell the story of Mister Rogers: a quiet, compassionate hero whose essential message—that it is okay to have and to express feelings—still resonates today.

This book is not associated with or authorized by Fred Rogers Productions.

About The Author

As a child, Laura Renauld enjoyed being one of Mister Rogers’s television neighbors. A Vermonter at heart, Laura now lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two sons, who are very special indeed. Visit her at

About The Illustrator

Photograph by Janine Ker

Brigette Barrager is an artist, designer, writer, and the illustrator of Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville as well as the New York Times bestselling Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She attended the California Institute of the Arts and spent some time working in animation before taking the plunge into book illustration, where she’s lived happily ever after. She resides in Los Angeles with her handsome husband, cute doggy, and terrible cat. Visit Brigette online at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (January 14, 2020)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781534441231
  • Grades: P - 3
  • Ages: 4 - 8
  • Lexile ® AD740L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

* “Renauld's lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. . . . Bright, well-researched, and welcome.”

– Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The brightly colored, cartoon-style, gouache-and-pencil drawings chronicle the subject’s life with whimsical details, such as confetti-like streams of hearts occasionally emanating from Rogers, his cast, guests (including Officer Clemmons and Koko the gorilla), and audience members as they connect with his message that ‘there’s only one person in the whole world like you.’ . . . Many families will welcome the affirming messages in this affectionate portrait.”

– Publishers Weekly

“Charming, lovingly illustrated. . . . The book teems with vocabulary words that capture emotions: affection, compassion, respect, generous, worried, selfish, shocked. Children will relate to the portrayal of their emotional experience while adults will find many comforting reminders of Rogers’s well-known catchphrases and references to the tone of his show. Barrager’s bright, cheerful gouache and colored pencil illustrations, featuring a trail of hearts on almost every page, add warmth and depth, emphasizing that Mr. Rogers was a beacon of love and acceptance. A welcome addition to the growing number of books about Mr. Rogers.”

– School Library Journal

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List Intermediate Title
  • Crown Award Nominee (TX)
  • Eureka! Excellence in Nonfiction Gold Award (CA)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this illustrator: Brigette Barrager