Review: 'LeVar Burton Reads' Is 'Reading Rainbow' For Grown-Ups
LeVar Burton inspired a generation to fall in love with books with his kids show, Reading Rainbow. Years later, he called out to those now grown children to give back by kickstarting a new Reading Rainbow. It took less than 12 hours for the campaign to reach its goal, thanks to viewers like you that wanted to make sure Burton’s message about the power of reading, and his gentle voice would be offered to kids around the world. And now, this beguiling bookworm is giving back to us once more with LeVar Burton Reads, a new podcast that’s premise you can probably guess.
I write this after completing the first of three episodes currently available. There are shiny tears dancing down my cheeks, and a broad smile extending to greet them. At the episode’s opening, Burton chuckles, recalling how he’s been asked for years to make “a Reading Rainbow for adults.” He loves to read aloud. He loves short stories, so LeVar Burton Reads allows him to revel and us to relish.
There’s a magic in Burton’s voice. He makes the hectic world around us melt away as we fall into the sway of his warm tone, and the welcoming adventure of his words. The first story he reads in this podcast is “Kin” by Bryce McCallister, from the collection The Girl Who Loved Animals. It begins with the fateful meeting of a boy and an alien. I won’t dare taint the experience with spoilers. But I will venture that this bittersweet sci-fi tale should appeal to fans of Rick and Morty. And once it concludes, Burton reflects on why he chose this story. Why it spoke to him. And this tender bit feels like the bow on a beautiful, thoughtful gift.
Burton knows the world is scary, and adulthood is hard. And just as he urged us to take a look in a book, he now urges us to find some peace in the joys of being read to. He knows some will use LeVar Burton Reads to help them fall asleep. And his soothing voice could be the perfect way to wind down after a stressful day, and into a blissful slumber like that of a baby. But for me, I wouldn’t want to miss one beat, one inflection, one character voice. Smoothly produced and lovingly made, LeVar Burton Reads is a relaxing and enrapturing listening experience. It feels like being held, strongly and warmly by a grandparent. It feels like the sun on your face, and a cool breeze on your back. It feels like home.
Recapture the butterfly in the sky with this miracle of a podcast.