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2020 Breakthrough Prize - Red Carpet

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Throughout his entire career, actor and television host LeVar Burton has used his platform to inspire and inform. The former host of Reading Rainbow will be honored for advancing literacy. According to CBS News, Burton will be bestowed with the Children’s & Family Emmy Awards’ lifetime achievement honor.

When “Reading Rainbow” made its debut in 1983, the education-focused children’s program transformed the television landscape. Burton served as an executive producer and host of the show—used the platform to underscore the importance of literacy and teach youth about current events. It became the most-watched PBS show in classrooms across the country. “Reading Rainbow” also received hundreds of awards and accolades, including a Peabody Award and 26 Emmys.

In an interview with Esquire, Burton discussed how literature has the power to shape lives. “We already have this powerful, positive association with the activity,” he said. “Then, in the consumption of knowledge and information through books and literature, we really steep ourselves in the lore of what it means to be human. Those are essential pieces of information for our journey as humans.”

To further his advocacy efforts around literacy and celebrate the power of storytelling, he launched a podcast dubbed “LeVar Burton Reads,” in which he narrates compelling stories. He also created a YouTube series titled “This Is My Story,” where he delves into personal experiences stemming from racism in America.

The award isn’t the only exciting thing on the horizon for Burton. He’s slated to host the upcoming Scripps National Spelling Bee. Burton will be honored on December 11 in Los Angeles at the first-ever Children’s and Family Emmys.

“The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has always been a leader in recognizing and celebrating excellence in our industry, and nothing is excelling and expanding more dramatically than the children’s and family community,” NATAS CEO and President Adam Sharp shared in a statement. “Recent years have seen explosive growth in the quantity and quality of children’s and family programming, and now is the perfect time to acknowledge and honor this impactful content with a dedicated competition and celebration.”



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