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 and ZOOM. 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.
“Sunny Days 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.”