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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Many Ways to Say I Love You [1977]

Seeing as how today is Valentine's Day and all, I figured there was no better time than today to post one of my favorite pieces of Mister Rogers memorabilia I've come across to date. Many Ways to Say I Love You is a book compiled for "people who care about children."

Officially titled Fred Rogers Writes and Sings About Many Ways to Say I Love You for People Who Care About Children, this book is made up of two separate parts. The first half is dedicated to the lyrics of seven of Mister Rogers' songs. For each song, there is a page featuring the lyrics and a page with a message from Mister Rogers to the adults reading the book. The second half of the book contains the official sheet music for each of these songs.

In addition to the lyrics and sheet music, the inside cover holds a 33 1/3 RPM floppy record with audio recording of Mister Rogers singing each of these songs as well.

Won't You Be My Neighbor
There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You
What Do You Do?
A Lonely Kind of Thing

It's You I Like
The Truth Will Make Me Free
It's Such a Good Feeling

What I find most interesting about this book are its religious themes. This book is very clearly written from a Christian viewpoint and does not attempt to mask or water down the faith of Fred Rogers. While the messages from Mister Rogers to adults throughout the book are focused on religious topics, the back cover of the book summarizes this publication's intent most clearly:
Fred Rogers has written this book for parents and others who care about children. He invites adults to reflect upon the many different ways in which love can be expressed. Adults can model these ways of expressing love, even when angry and upset, so that children can learn to be honest and free, accepting themselves and loving others as Jesus taught. 
Mister Rogers communicates this message through the words of the text and through seven songs whose words and music are included in the book. There is also and accompanying record of these songs. 
Fred Rogers is well known for his program on educational television, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Through the years he has helped children to deal with their feelings in an open and honest way. Now he encourages other adults to share in this ministry.
For more on Many Ways to Say I Love You, visit the Neighborhood Archive.

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