The former First Lady will share some of her favourite children’s books for “Mondays with Michelle Obama,” in partnership with PBS Kids, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books. The four-week series kicked off at noon EST on Monday, 21 April, with Obama reading Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo to hundreds of thousands of people stuck at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a little kid, I loved to read aloud. And when I became a parent, I found such joy in sharing the magic of storytelling with my own children — and then later, as First Lady, with kids everywhere,” she said in a statement.
“At this time when so many families are under so much stress, I’m excited to give kids a chance to practise their reading and hear some wonderful stories (and to give parents and caretakers a much-needed break).”
Additional instalments of “Mondays with Michelle Obama” will include readings of Tom Fletcher’s There’s a Dragon in Your Book (27 April); Eliza Wheeler’s Miss Maple’s Seeds (4 May); as well as Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar (11 May).
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As a young parent, I found so much joy in rediscovering my favorite children’s books with my daughters. The time I spent reading with them, creating voices for our favorite characters and beaming with pride as they started to recognize words and read along, is something we all still cherish to this day. As First Lady, I had the privilege of sharing my love of stories with children everywhere, and today, I’m excited to pick that back up with “The Gruffalo”—my first read-along in what will be a four-week series with @PBSKids and @PenguinRandomHouse. I hope you’ll tune in today with your family at 12pm ET on PBS Kids’s YouTube channel or Facebook page!
The series was originally scheduled to launch in the summer of 2020, with the Bookseller noting that the family-friendly initiative debuted earlier in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Amid the health crisis, children’s publishers and celebrities are providing parents virtual learning opportunities during this time in self-isolation.
Earlier this month Dolly Parton launched “Goodnight With Dolly” on the YouTube channel for Parton’s Imagination Library, with new instalments of the bedtime-story series dropping every Thursday evening over the next two months.
The initiative finds the country icon reading books “carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time,” including There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake by Loren Long, Llama Llama Red Pajama by Anna Dewdney and Max & The Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper.
“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honour for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think,” Parton said of her new livestream series.