Reading Rainbow host, Star Trek and Roots star, and wonderful human LeVar Burton launched a Kickstarter yesterday to bring back the groundbreaking kids’ literacy show as an enormous online library of interactive books and video field trips. In 11 hours, he reached his $1 million goal, and surpassed the $2 million mark Thursday afternoon as thousands of dollars rolled in with each passing second. The project has nearly 45,000 backers and many of the highest-ticket packages have already sold out.
Today he hosted a Reddit AMA, and fans used the opportunity to let Burton know how much he meant to their early lives, making for a record-setting AMA in the heart-swelling department (and probably goosing his Kickstarter campaign to boot).
The winning comment for instatears came from Reddit user YayTheRedHead, who relayed a story about struggling with reading in second grade, and overcoming it after being chosen to appear on her favorite show, Reading Rainbow–only to be replaced with another student at the last minute when her teacher decided she “didn’t want me to embarrass myself in front of the Reading Rainbow people because I couldn’t read.” Still devastated all these years later, the commenter asked Burton if she could come on the new Reading Rainbow to read her report, and of course he answered “Yes. This is really touching. Anybody who wants something that badly, I won’t stand in their way. We’ll figure it out. PM my Reddit account for more information and we’ll figure it out.” YayTheRedHead is now a schoolteacher, and there are a hundred things in my eye.
Others shared memories of a chance encounter with Burton that brought him and his father closer together, thank yous for setting people on the paths to writing careers, plans to immerse yet-unconceived children in Reading Rainbow, and countless other expressions of admiration of both the book and Star Trek variety.
Needless to say, Burton responds with friendly gusto to even the most mundane questions (“I’m looking for a good taco recipe, can you help me out?”), and takes many opportunities to thank fans for making his dream of reviving Reading Rainbow come true. Do they give Nobel Prizes to Reddit AMAs yet?