Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama know how much parents need a break these days, so on Thursday, they hosted an online storytime to give kids something to do. Barack posted a video on Twitter with a caption about how he and Michelle wanted to help parents out by providing some wholesome entertainment for their kids.
Michelle and I want to do our part to give all you parents a break today, so we’re reading “The Word Collector” for @chipublib. It’s a fun book that vividly illustrates the transformative power of words––and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did. pic.twitter.com/ADYbL6Dzg4
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 14, 2020
In the video, the Obamas took turns reading from a book called The Word Collector. The former president said in the video that he chose the book because it demonstrates “the transformative power of words.” He went on to say, “I love words.” The story is about a child who makes a scrapbook of all the new words he hears.
Though this is the first time both Obamas have collaborated to do an online storytime for kiddos stuck at home during the pandemic, it wasn’t the first time that Michelle has done an online storytime. On April 20, she made an Instagram post announcing that she would be reading some of her favorite children’s books online. She said that she was partnering with PBS Kids to do a four-week storytime series. The videos of Michelle reading some of her most beloved children’s books streamed on the PBS Kids Facebook page and were added to their YouTube page as well.
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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!
In the post, Michelle talked about how one of her favorite parts of being a young mother was rediscovering her favorite books with her daughters. She shared that some of her fondest memories with her daughters centered around the time they spent reading together, bringing beloved characters to life. She added that some of her proudest moments as a mother were when her daughters started to read with her.
The former first lady’s storytimes with PBS Kids streamed every Monday at 12 p.m. EST from April 20 to May 11. The last storytime streamed this past Monday. For the series, Michelle read The Gruffalo, There’s a Dragon in Your Book, Miss Maple’s Seeds, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Obamas aren’t the only celebrities doing online storytimes to give parents a break and give kids something to do during these difficult times. Celebs like Kristen Bell, Rashida Jones, Bradley Whitford, Sarah Silverman, and Haylie Duff can all be heard reading children’s classics and some more obscure titles on the website Storyline Online.
LAist put together a list of celebrities who have been hosting online storytimes, including Dolly Parton reading bedtime stories, LeVar Burton reading selections from his podcast twice a week, and Patrick Stewart reading a sonnet a day on Twitter. The publication also mentioned the Save With Stories project by Save The Children, which Amy Adams, Jennifer Gardner, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee-Curtis, Robin Wright, and B.J. Novak are participating in.