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‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton reads ‘Go the F**k to Sleep’

Butterfly in the f**king sky.


Aaron Sankin


Posted on Oct 26, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 8:18 am CDT

“This is one of my favorite children’s stories,” said the man single-handedly responsible for instilling a love of the written word into a generation of American kids. “It’s called Go the F**k to Sleep.”

And then LeVar Burton, the beloved host of the PBS show Reading Rainbow, said a whole bunch of swears as a group of adults sitting cross-legged on the floor listened attentively.

Go the F**k to Sleep, which became an international hit in 2011, was described by author Adam Mansbach as a “children’s book for adults.” A parody of bedtime stories like Goodnight Moon, the book channels the frustration felt by billions of parents around the world when they attempt to get their little ones in bed despite protestations about not being sleepy. The combination of the near-universality of that feeling and the world “f**k” appearing on pretty much every page led the book to hit the top spot on the Amazon Best Sellers list weeks before its official release date.

Burton did the reading as part of a livestream charity telethon put on by video game-focused video production studio Rooster Teeth, raising money in conjunction with Extra Life, an annual 24-hour gaming marathon aimed at helping sick kids.

Burton’s reading of the potty-mouthed story on the livestream was a reward for viewers making $75,000 in donations.

The telethon ended up raising nearly half a million dollars for charity.

23454 posters sold & $243,030 in donations. $442,389 total raised. Words escape us. Thank you, RT Community and friends. #RTExtraLife

— Rooster Teeth (@RoosterTeeth) October 26, 2014

And, if you were wondering, Burton—who recently turned a Kickstarter for a Reading Rainbow app into the most successful project in the crowdfunding site’s history—was wearing a Captain Planet T-shirt to kick the nostalgia factor into maximum warp.

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Oct 26, 2014, 11:58 am CDT