Levar Burton is known for many roles throughout his decades-long career, including ones in the miniseries “Roots” and the “Star Trek” franchise. However, he might be most beloved for the children’s television program “Reading Rainbow,” which he hosted for 26 years. Now, Burton will receive a very special Emmy award for his work on the show.
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) announced that the Children’s and Family Emmys would debut in December 2022. NATAS reports that Children’s and Family content represents the fastest-growing genre, prompting the academy to create the first new stand-alone Emmy awards show since 1979.
As part of the inaugural award show, Burton will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The academy shared the news on Twitter as part of a thread announcing this year’s class of Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award honorees.
“The 1st Annual Children’s & Family Emmy Awards ceremony, Dec. 11 in Los Angeles, will honor @levarburton,” The Emmys tweeted. “The longtime literacy advocate and host of ‘Reading Rainbow,’ who taught a generation about the joys of reading, has won more than 20 Emmy Awards.”
The 1st Annual Children's & Family Emmy Awards ceremony, Dec. 11 in Los Angeles, will honor @levarburton. The longtime literacy advocate and host of “Reading Rainbow,” who taught a generation about the joys of reading, has won more than 20 Emmy Awards. #EmmyIcons pic.twitter.com/J0u9yLPtur
— The Emmys (@TheEmmys) April 26, 2022
Burton shared a one-word response to the announcement.
“Whoa…” he tweeted, along with an astonished face emoji.
In 2017, the long-time literacy advocate started “LeVar Burton Reads,” a podcast on which he reads pieces of short fiction for adults. He is also the author of two books: “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” and “Aftermath.”
The host, actor, director and author has been nominated and won numerous awards throughout his career, including several Emmys, a Grammy Award for Spoken Word Album, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Image Award, the Fred Rogers Award and a Webby Award for his podcast.
“The selection of Mr. Burton as host aligns with the mission of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,” Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, said in a statement. “To have such a prominent advocate for children’s literacy involved in this special and unique competition is a perfect match. We have the same goals: to educate tomorrow’s leaders and build reading competency in all young people.”