If you're running out of recipes to bake and TV shows to marathon, former first lady Michelle Obama has a new way for you to pass some of your time. On Friday, April 17, Obama announced on Instagram that she would be doing virtual readings of children's books every Monday from April 20 through May 11. That's right — Michelle Obama will read a book to you during the pandemic, so sign me up. Right now.
Starting on April 20, the former first lady will host "Mondays with Michelle Obama," a four-week series of read-along livestreams at 12 p.m. ET, in partnership with PBS Kids and Penguin Random House. You'll be able to watch the livestreams on PBS Kids' Facebook and YouTube pages, and the videos will remain available on these channels after each reading. According to Obama's Instagram post, she designed these readings "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!)." Around the country, many kids are out of school due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and many parents are juggling work-from-home and childcare.
But it doesn't matter if you're not actually a kid; after all, who's going to know? So get ready, because you could soon be curled up in a blanket and listening to Obama read The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I can't think of anything more soothing during a pandemic.
PBS Kids has already announced the line-up for these weekly readings, per Good Morning America. First up is Julia Donaldson's The Gruffalo, which Obama will read on April 20. Then, during future livestreams, Obama is slated to read Tom Fletcher's There’s a Dragon in Your Book, Eliza Wheeler's Miss Maple’s Seeds, and — you guessed it — Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A classic.
In a press release announcing the read-alongs, Obama cited her own love of reading as her inspiration to host these livestreams. “As a little kid, I loved to read aloud," Obama said in her press release, per the Chicago Tribune. "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."
"Mondays with Michelle Obama" will support #ReadTogetherBeTogether, a movement started by Penguin Random House and Parents magazine to celebrate shared reading experiences and to foster childhood literacy. So if you're struggling to find ways to pass your time during this pandemic, you can join Obama for her first reading on Monday, April 20, or find the video online after her livestream.