Michelle Obama launches weekly read-aloud series for children in isolation

The former first lady of the United States will read from her favourite picture books, to be live streamed every Monday at 12 p.m. ET.
Michelle Obama to launch a series of online video readings for kids in 2020. (Gerald Herbert/Associated Press)

In an effort to promote literacy among families sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Michelle Obama has launched a weekly read-aloud series.

Mondays with Michelle Obama features the former first lady of the United States reading from her favourite picture books, streamed live on the PBS Kids Facebook page and YouTube channel and Penguin Random House's Facebook page every Monday at 12 p.m. ET.

This is the latest celebrity read-aloud series to launch in the midst of the pandemic. 

"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)," Obama said in a statement.

In partnership with Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children's Books and PBS Kids, the series premiered April 20 and will run through to May 11. 

It is part of Penguin Random House's new "Read Together, Be Together" campaign and PBS Kids' Read-Along initiative.

In the first instalment of the four-week series, Obama read The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, which tells the story of a quick-witted mouse who takes a journey through the woods and evades danger along the way.

"As a little kid, I loved to read aloud," Obama said in the 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 first lady, with kids everywhere."

The program will also include literacy activities, tips and resources for each of the books featured on Mondays with Michelle Obama.

The former U.S. first lady's memoir, Becoming, was the bestselling print book in Canada in 2018, according to national sales figures collected by BookNet Canada.

In the weeks to come, Obama will read from There's a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott; Miss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

Find the full schedule below.

  • April 27 at 12 p.m. ET: There's a Dragon in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott

  • May 4 at 12 p.m. ET: Miss Maple's Seeds by Eliza Wheeler

  • May 11 at 12 p.m. ET: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

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