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LeVar Burton
Travels From TRAVELS FROM
California, USA
Speaker Fee Range SPEAKING FEE RANGE ** Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.
$30,000 to $50,000
Book This Core Agency Speaker BOOK LEVAR BURTON
speakers@coreagency.com
PROFILE
  • Most of his life has been dedicated to children’s literacy and the impact that race and culture have had on it.
  • His beautiful approach to sharing his story and the story of others committed to positive race relations, literacy, and children’s education are compelling and inspirational.
  • Burton’s decades of work in children’s literacy and education have given him great insight into the needs, opportunities, and future outlook of literacy and education.
  • For 23 years, he was host and executive producer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow,” one of the longest running children's programs on the network.

LeVar Burton’s first audition landed him the role of a lifetime and an Emmy nomination. In 1977, Burton made his acting debut as Kunta Kinte in “Roots,” the ABC award-winning series based on the novel by Alex Haley. His audition was the first of his professional career. As a result of his performance, he was nominated for an Emmy for Best Actor in a Drama Series; he reprised the role in the 1988 television film “Roots: The Gift.”

Burton’s mother raised him and his two sisters in Sacramento. When he was 13, he entered seminary to become a priest, but when he was 17, he received a drama scholarship from the University of Southern California School of Theatre and attended there, instead. It while he was there that he auditioned for the role in “Roots” that forever changed his life.

Beginning in 1983, Burton became the host and executive producer of PBS’s “Reading Rainbow,” which became one of the longest running children's programs on the network. During its 23 years, the series received more than 200 awards, including a Peabody and 26 Emmys. Burton won 12 Emmys as host and producer of the show.

Dedicated to improving children’s education through storytelling, Burton wanted to continue the good work of “Reading Rainbow” when it went off the air in 2006. He and his business partner acquired the rights to the brand and formed RRKIDZ, a new media company targeted to children. In 2012, in keeping with the way children were consuming media, “Reading Rainbow” was re-imagined into an iPad app and within 36 hours, became the number one educational app. The all-new Reading Rainbow is a digital reading service with more than 400 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, video field trips, and other content. It’s the number one educational app on iTunes and a recipient of numerous awards. Burton continues with the brand as curator-in-chief, ensuring continued high standards for projects produced under the brand.

In 2014 Burton started a Kickstarter campaign to bring Reading Rainbow back to the web. His desire was for the new Reading Rainbow to be integrated—for free—into elementary schools across the country. The campaign met its goal of raising $1 million in less than 11 hours, and became the most popular Kickstarter campaign with a final tally of more than $6.4 million. RRKidz will launch a new Reading Rainbow EDU version with supplemental learning content for teachers and students.

Burton also portrayed La Forge in feature films based on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” beginning with “Star Trek: Generations” in 1994 through “Star Trek: Nemesis” in 2002. In addition to acting in episodes, Burton also directed several episodes within the Star Trek franchise.

He is a recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Awards. He also serves on the board of directors for the AIDS Research Alliance, a medical research organization dedicated to finding a cure for AIDS. Burton’s first children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, was published in 2014.

VIDEOS
PROGRAMS

Using storytelling and race as a backdrop for his presentations, Levar Burton eloquently shares how these topics have influenced him, and the impact he sees them having in and on culture today. When asked about the societal impact of “Roots,” he says, "Blacks and whites began to see each other as human beings, not as stereotypes.” Burton’s range of presentations call on his background in both acting and literacy, and include the topics of race, how storytelling impacts personal narrative, and how technology and literacy can work hand-in-hand.

Technology and Storytelling: Making a Difference in the Digital Age
Join LeVar Burton as he shares the powerful impact that his mentors, technology, storytelling, and science fiction have had on his life and how each has helped shape his incredible life's work. Be there as he concludes the session with a personal demonstration of how he employs today's latest technologies in his efforts to educate and enlighten—a world premier peek at his latest project, the Reading Rainbow App.

Martin Luther King Jr.: The Man and the Myth
In this presentation, Burton explores the conflicting nature of the man who was Martin Luther King, Jr., versus the mythical Dr. King. For example, Burton says the quote, "Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter" is one of the most famous quotes attributed to Dr. King, except there is no evidence that he said those words. Burton also looks at the implications of legacy and its impact on our world today.

The Power of Storytelling: Written, Spoken, Lived
In this inspirational presentation, Burton discusses his three storytelling mentors: Alex Haley, Gene Roddenberry and Fred Rogers. He talks about their influence on his life and the world at large, and also discusses the power of personal narrative. Other Topics Include:

  • The Importance of Literacy
  • The Influence of the Media in Education
  • The Power of Imagination
  • On Reaching One's Full Potential
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