Last month, former first lady Michelle Obama partnered with PBS KIDS and Penguin Random House to launch an, and “Mondays with Michelle” became a hit. This week, she gave fans a bonus story with a very special surprise guest: former President Barack Obama.
After Mrs. Obama read “Giraffe Problems” to viewers watching at home, her husband joined the read-along, which is live-streamed on the PBS Kids and Penguin Random House social media pages. The couple joined forces to read “The Bear Ate Your Sandwich” by Julia Sarcone-Roach.
Taking turns to read each page, the Obamas channeled their inner storytellers — a role they’ve played before as parents to now-grown-up Malia and Sasha. The couple also read to kids at the White House, notably reading and acting out Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” to children at the annual Easter Egg Roll in 2016.
In a press release about the read-alongs, Mrs. Obama said she loved to read aloud as a kid, “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.”
The “Mondays with Michelle” schedule was released last month, with Mrs. Obama set to read a new book to kids each week for four weeks, including “The Gruffalo,” “There’s a Dragon in Your Book,” “Miss Maple’s Seeds,” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
After much success, “Mondays with Michelle” was extended for two extra weeks, each with two new books to be read aloud by the former first lady. This week’s episode featured very famous guest star, but it is unclear if anyone will join Mrs. Obama next week, when she’s scheduled to read “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” and “Can I Be Your Dog?”
The reading sessions are being offered while many parents are juggling working from home and keeping their kids on track with at-home schooling during the coronavirus pandemic. Many companies like Scholastic have created virtual learning opportunities for kids, and other celebrities are using their time at home to live-stream read-alongs.
This virtual story time is part of Penguin Random House’s literacy initiative, “Read Together, Be Together” and PBS KIDS’ “Read-Along” effort on Facebook and YouTube. Both initiatives encourage parents and kids to read together, and have adjusted to these unprecedented times by offering virtual tools and digital events during stay-at-home orders.