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The New 'Reading Rainbow' Documentary Is Pure Nostalgia

Take a look, it's in a...documentary...a Reading Rainbow!

The children's literary TV show Reading Rainbow is the subject of the upcoming documentary Butterfly in the Sky. Described as "inspiring and nostalgic," the film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022, tells the story of the beloved PBS program and its iconic host LeVar Burton.

"Having both grown up in Texas, Reading Rainbow not only reflected the diverse cultures that surrounded us, but LeVar Burton also introduced us to other worlds in colorful and magical ways," the documentary's directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb have said. "We believe Reading Rainbow is among the most important shows ever produced and a true unsung hero of children’s programming. It’s important for us to honor its legacy and teach a new generation about this milestone in television history."

Burton has expressed his hope that "audiences walk away with the same warm, fuzzy feeling I did when I watched this documentary for the first time."

Before Burton gives viewers the "Reading Rainbow treatment," here is everything to know about the Reading Rainbow documentary, including release date.

What is the Reading Rainbow documentary called?

The documentary is titled Butterfly in the Sky, which is a nod to the program's theme song.

Related: Classic Reading Rainbow Clips Will Bring Back Memories

What is Butterfly in the Sky about?

Butterfly in the Sky will provide "an inside look at the challenges" Burton and the Reading Rainbow creators "faced in cultivating a love of reading through television." The film will also take "audiences behind the scenes" of the PBS children's series.

What is the Butterfly in the Sky release date?

The film will have a limited theatrical release starting March 17.

When did Reading Rainbow originally air?

The children's show debuted in 1983 on PBS and ended in 2006.

Who was the host of Reading Rainbow?

Actor LeVar Burton hosted the program for more than 20 years.

What happened on Reading Rainbow?

Reading Rainbow encouraged children to read and love books. Speaking to Parade in the past, Burton shared, "When the idea for a children's television show that came on during the summer to steer children back in the direction of literature, the written word, was presented to me I just thought it made so much sense. I think Reading Rainbow captured the right thing at the right time. Nothing had come along yet that was really about fostering a love of reading."

He continued, "And the idea originally was to combat what teachers call the summer loss phenomenon, a child when they are cracking the code, when they're learning how to read and they take that three months summer vacation, their reading and comprehension skills, their vocabulary, it all plummets. So the idea was, let's go to what I call the point of purchase. Let's go to where the kids are, and use this very powerful technology of TV."

Who sang the Reading Rainbow theme song?

Tina Fabrique is the singer behind the show's theme song. "I loved the song. And they were using a new sound to simulate the butterfly wings," she's previously said of the tune (via NBC News).

Is LeVar Burton in the new Reading Rainbow documentary Butterfly in the Sky?

Of course Burton is featured in the new documentary, along with Goldberg, Jason Reynolds, Twila Liggett, Larry Lancit, Cecily Truett Lancit, Tony ButtinoSteve Horelick, Ed & Orly Wiseman, in addition to staff who worked on Reading Rainbow and kids who were featured on the program.

Related: Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton on How to Teach Kids to Love Reading

Is there a trailer for Butterfly in the Sky?

Yes! In it, guest star Whoopi Goldberg points out that Reading Rainbow "wanted children to know there’s all kinds of stories out there,” adding, "While it may not be stories from your neighborhood, it's stories from a neighborhood you should know about."

Did Reading Rainbow win any Emmys?

According to the show's website, Reading Rainbow garnered more than 250 awards, including 26 Emmy Awards, during its run.

Where to watch Reading Rainbow now?

The first 12 seasons of Reading Rainbow are available on Prime Video with the PBS KIDS add on.

How to watch Butterfly in the Sky

The film will be released in select AMC Theatres starting March 17, followed by a full run in New York and other cities. Find a theater near you here.

Butterfly in the Sky will be available on TVOD (transactional video on demand), including iTunes and Amazon, starting April 30.

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