Butterfly in the Sky shares beginnings of Reading Rainbow

Feb 2, 2024Gail Crutchfield
Butterfly in the Sky

A still from the documentary “Butterfly in the Sky” shows host LeVar Burton in a scene from the film. The film will be shown on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the James C. Bailey Center at Wallace State Community College. Admission is free and open to the public.

Butterfly in the SkyHanceville, AL — The next film in the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Films to be shown at Wallace State Community College may bring back a lot of memories for children of the 80s and 90s. “Butterfly in the Sky” is a documentary about the beginnings of the PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow, its host LeVar Burton, and the challenges its creators faced in cultivating a love of reading through television.

The television show introduced millions of kids to the wonder of books, including its filmmakers.

“We believe Reading Rainbow is among the most important shows ever produced and an early example of distance learning before distance learning was on everyone’s mind. It’s a true unsung hero of children’s programming, and we want more than anything to tell its story in a way that honors its legacy and teaches a new generation about this important milestone in television history,” reads a statement from filmmakers Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb.

“As a Mexican American growing up in Houston, Texas, I was surrounded by diversity,” Thomason said. “More than any show on television, Reading Rainbow reflected the cultures that surrounded me. I also loved to read but lacked the discipline to do so.

“Something about the way the books were represented made me want every single one,” he continued. “When the book fair came to my school, I went straight for the Reading Rainbow titles. I didn’t know it at the time, but the show’s mission statement was manifesting itself in me. I devour books to this day, and I know Reading Rainbow had a hand in that.”

Thomason is scheduled to be on hand for the screening at Wallace State on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 2:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the James C. Bailey Center.

Along with interviews with Burton, the film also features Reading Rainbow creator and producer Twila Ligget; directors and producers Larry Lancit, Cecily Truett Lancit and Ed Wiseman; co-creator and executive producer Tony Buttino; composer Steve Horelick; and writer Ellen Schecter.

See a clip from the movie at https://vimeo.com/724991207

Remaining films scheduled in the series include:

  • “Master of Light” on March 14
  • “Hollow Tree” on April 18

All films are free and open to the public. They are an extension of Wallace State’s Burrow Museum offerings in conjunction with Wallace State Student Engagement.

Media Contact

  • Kristen Holmes
  • Vice President for Students and Chief Marketing Officer
  • 256-352-8233

submit a Marketing request

Other Stories