You are Special: Words of Wisdom for All Ages from a Beloved Neighbor is a book of quotes that was written by the great Mister Fred Rogers. As with many people my age, I grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and learned invaluable lessons that have guided me throughout the years. Although this book was written in 1994, I think it is still a powerful source of encouragement and growth for readers today.
Growing up near Pittsburgh, I know Mister Rogers as our greatest local hero that ever lived. I even visited the studio where Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was filmed when I was very young. His show both entertained me and helped be through difficult times in my youth. You are Special reminded me that Mister Rogers’ wisdom is not just for children.
The book is relatively slim at 171 pages (plus a short introduction), but it is packed with quotes that are divided into many different sections. The general topics of the quotes are divided into eleven sections including relationships, childhood, discipline, learning, difficult situations, growing in adulthood, and others. Some of Mister Rogers quotes are short and sweet, such as “You can’t really love someone else unless you really love yourself first,” while others are more like brief, one-page stories. One of the most touching stories is about Mister Rogers visiting an old friend on her deathbed and her summation of the meaning of life.
Whether Mister Rogers quotes are focusing on a topic that is happy, sad, or somewhere in between, his words are always poignant and helpful. Probably the best part of the book is the general sense of optimism and encouragement drives Mister Rogers worldview. Even the most jaded reader will come away with the sense that Mister Rogers truly believed in the human race and our ability to achieve whatever we want. In a world that is often defined by ugliness and disappointment, Mister Rogers provides an alternate view that instead preaches tolerance, peace, and love.
Whether you are in need of encouragement or simply want to find out more about this incredible man, You are Special is a wonderful read. It can be a fast read or a lengthy one depending on how much time the reader chooses to spend with each of the quotes. In writing You are Special, Mister Rogers speaks to us both collectively and personally at the same time, just as he always did on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.