Actor and director LeVar Burton, best known for hosting the renowned children’s television series Reading Rainbow from 1983-2009, is now hosting his own podcast. LeVar Burton Reads, which was first released on June 2, features Burton’s baritone voice booming its way through a piece of short fiction.
“People have asked me for years and years, ‘When are you going to do a Reading Rainbow for adults?’ and it’s always been something that’s on my mind,” Burton said during his first podcast, during which he read Kin by Bruce McAllister.
Combining two of his interests, reading aloud and short fiction, Burton reads bedtime stories to adults. There are three episodes available now, and the latest is a reading of Daisy Johnson’s The Lighthouse Keeper.
His impressive storytelling voice is supported by a score to help set the tone. In the final minutes of each episode, Burton provides his take on the story. After Kin, he reflected on what the piece means to him.
“I spend a lot of time in my life focusing on fulfilling my potential, and this is genuinely a story about how one recognizes one’s potential in life,” he said. “It is incumbent upon us to grow up and decide, define, discover what it is we are supposed to do, what gift we are supposed to give.”
His review of The Lighthouse Keeper touched on the subject of feminism and how the “struggle is real.”
“[The Lighthouse Keeper] highlights one of the ills of our culture, which is the idea that women have a specific place and specific roles in society and that it is unacceptable for them to cross over, to follow their own path, their own dreams,” he said.
Burton is also known for his Emmy-nominated role as Kunta Kinte in the ABC drama series Roots and his role as Lieutenant Junior Grade Geordi La Forge in the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series. And while the award-winning Reading Rainbow ended in 2009, Burton now provides the same lessons taught in the series through online books, videos, and games that are also available on the iPad and Kindle Fire.