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LeVar Burton's 'Power' in Being 'Himself' on “Reading Rainbow” Ascends in New Doc Trailer (Exclusive)

LeVar Burton's 'Power' in Being 'Himself' on “Reading Rainbow” Ascends in New Doc Trailer (Exclusive)

The documentary, 'Butterfly in the Sky', explores the phenomenon of 'Reading Rainbow' and its impact on millions of children

Reading Rainbow will always be remembered and cherished for inspiring generations of children to develop a love for reading. Now, the beloved ‘80s and ‘90s PBS show is being celebrated with the feature documentary Butterfly in the Sky.

The documentary, debuting in select theaters on March 17, will explore the creation and production of Reading Rainbow, which aired from 1983 to 2006 with LeVar Burton as its host.

Throughout its run, the series featured many celebrity guest stars — Maya Angelou, Angela Bassett, James Earl Jones, Martin Short — and received 26 Daytime Emmy Awards for categories including outstanding children’s series and outstanding performer in a children’s series for Burton's motivational performance.

Butterfly in the Sky’s trailer, provided exclusively to PEOPLE, opens with Burton, 67, reading the illustrated children’s book Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch, surrounded by shelves of library books.

Related: LeVar Burton Immortalized with Figurine Designed to Encourage Kids to Read

<p>XTR</p> LeVar Burton reading the illustrated children's book 'Amazing Grace' in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

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LeVar Burton reading the illustrated children's book 'Amazing Grace' in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

“Do you want the Reading Rainbow treatment?” asks Burton. “Here we go.”

As Reading Rainbow’s iconic theme song sung by Tina Fabrique hums along, one narrator explains how the show wasn’t just about “learning to read” — it was about “loving to read.”

“I said, ‘We will get kids reading more, because they will watch Reading Rainbow, and they will go get those books,” says one woman. “Nobody believed us.”

“I thought what a great idea,” Burton says of the show’s creation.

Related: 'Reading Rainbow' 's LeVar Burton Reads for Kids and Adults on Twitter Livestream amid Pandemic

<p>XTR</p> LeVar Burton during an episode of 'Reading Rainbow.' as seen in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

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LeVar Burton during an episode of 'Reading Rainbow.' as seen in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

"Reading Rainbow wanted children to know there’s all kinds of stories out there,” Whoopi Goldberg adds. “While it may not be stories from your neighborhood, it's stories from a neighborhood you should know about.”

Skipping to a montage of scenes from the series showing Burton snorkeling and riding a race horse wide-eyed, one former Reading Rainbow crewmember recalls they would bat around activities for its host to do on-camera “without worrying about how dumb they were” or “how difficult to achieve they were.”

“I did everything they asked — I mean everything,” Burton admits. “I became very adamant that since they had hired me, then what they got was me.”

“He wasn't talking down to you. He was talking as, like, let's have this conversation,” actor Kenny Blank recalls.

Related: LeVar Burton to Release 2 New Books: 'It's Time for Me to Speak' (Exclusive)

<p>XTR</p> LeVar Burton hosting an episode of 'Reading Rainbow.' as seen in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

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LeVar Burton hosting an episode of 'Reading Rainbow.' as seen in the trailer for 'Butterfly in the Sky.'

“He was on TV as himself, and that's power,” author Jason Reynolds explains. “It was saying your stories matter. Your voice matters, which means that I get to watch the show and say, huh, maybe I have a voice maybe I have an opinion. Maybe I have a story.”

As Reading Rainbow’s theme song reemerges then tapers off, a younger Burton from yesteryear smiles onscreen, adding: “But you don't have to take my word for it.”

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Butterfly in the Sky premieres in select AMC theaters on March 17, followed by a full run in New York and additional cities. The documentary will also be available to watch through video on demand on services including Prime Video and iTunes beginning April 30.

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