The former first lady plans to run a four-week series dubbed "Mondays with Michelle Obama", she announced on Friday.
Amidst the shutdowns across the United States, several activities have moved online. Now, storytime can be held online as well. That is if you would like former first lady Michelle Obama to read to your children. In a statement released on Friday, Obama announced that she would host a reading session for children every Monday for the next four weeks. Dubbed "Mondays with Michelle Obama," the series will feature her reading children's books at noon every Monday starting April 20. The storytime sessions will be streamed live on the Facebook pages of Penguin Random House and PBS Kids. PBS Kids will also stream the sessions on their YouTube channel, The Hill reports.
The announcement comes after the nation's schools closed down as a result of the ongoing pandemic. With more parents working from home, they have to juggle between important meetings on Zoom and tutoring or caring for their children at home. This, Obama recognizes, is no easy task. As a mother herself, she probably just wanted to help out other parents who may be struggling with young children during this time. The live reading sessions are being organized in collaboration with Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children’s Books, and PBS KIDS. In a shared announcement, the three companies revealed that the live sessions will also be available for viewing "on-demand on all of those platforms immediately thereafter."
Over the four scheduled sessions, the former first lady will read some of her favorite children's books. These include The Gruffalo, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Miss Maple’s Seeds, and There’s a Dragon in Your Book. "As a little kid, I loved to read aloud," Obama said in her statement. "And when I became a parent, I found such joy in sharing the magic of storytelling with my own children - and then later, as the first lady, with kids everywhere." This is not the first time, of course, that Obama will be reading aloud to children who aren't her daughters. In the past, the former presidential couple Obama and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have engaged in storytime sessions at the White House for their youngest visitors. Every Easter, for instance, the Obamas would read stories to the children who attended the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. They have held similar reading sessions elsewhere as well.
Obama added, "At this time when so many families are under so much stress, I’m excited to give kids a chance to practice their reading and hear some wonderful stories (and to give parents and caretakers a much-needed break)." The author of the bestselling memoir Becoming now joins a host of other celebrities who have come together to host similar reading events. Earlier this year, country music legend Dolly Parton launched the "Goodnight with Dolly" reading program. Every Thursday night, she reads a bedtime story to young children online. Reading Rainbow host Levar Burton, too, has been hosting a live-streamed version of his popular television show.
Obama took to social media in order to personally announce the series. Uploading a poster for "Mondays with Michelle Obama," she wrote, "I'm thrilled to share some of my favorite children's books and give kids an opportunity to practice their reading (while giving families a much-needed break!)." Needless to say, parents across the country are a little bit relieved that they will have some time to peacefully concentrate on their work or complete some household chores while their children read. Instead of spending time playing games on their screens, children now have the opportunity to enjoy an engaging story. After all, there's no one we trust more than our forever first lady with our kids.