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Virtual storytimes to watch with your kids during social isolation

Here’s our running list of authors and celebrities reading your favourite children’s books, plus a free audio book resource.

By Sasha Emmons

Virtual storytimes to watch with your kids during social isolation

Photo: Dolly's Imagination Library via Facebook

Let’s hear it for reading books, which is a kid distraction activity you can do while sitting down. But who says it always has to be mom and dad reading? Authors and celebs, who (let’s face it) might have more funny character voices in their repertoire than you, have been going live or recording themselves reading books during social isolation. Whether you want to tune in live or catch the replay, we’ve rounded up the best virtual storytimes around the internet.

It's no secret that former first lady Michelle Obama cares about the kids of the world. To help ease the difficulty of social isolation, she's teamed up with PBS and Penguin Random House to read to kids stuck at home on Mondays at 12 noon EST starting on April 20. You can tune in to the livestream on the PBS Kids and Penguin Random House Facebook pages (here and here, respectively) or the PBS Kids YouTube page.

Celeb moms Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner have teamed up with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry to present Save With Stories, an Instagram series of celebs reading their fave stories. From Gabrielle Union reading “Hair Love” to Pink sharing “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rose,” these celebs are hoping you’ll enjoy these free stories and then donate to help kids facing food insecurity.

Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers has contributed text or illustrations to new kid classics like “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “This Moose Belongs to Me.” Every weekday, he’s reading from one of his books in his lovely Irish accent and sharing stories about the inspiration behind them.

Audio books giant Audible has launched Audible Stories, a free service which lets you access hundreds of free audiobooks with no login, among them “Anne of Green Gables,” “The Call of the Wild,” and “Robinson Crusoe.” They’ve also added the first Harry Potter book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone,” in six languages. The English version is performed by English actor and writer Stephen Fry.

You know him from The Office but did you know actor B.J. Novak is also a children’s author? He took to Facebook Live for his virtual storytime to read his “The Book With No Pictures” but you can still watch the replay.

Starting April 2, country legend Dolly Parton will be going live on Facebook each Thursday at 7pm EST to read a book selected from The Imagination Library, her charity that provides free books to kids. She’ll start with “The Little Engine That Could,” one of her personal favourites.

If you’re not familiar with this fabulously over-the-top reading series, here’s our feel-good mini-doc on it. While Fay and Fluffy’s in-person storytimes are on hold, John Paul Kane is uploading virtual storytimes to YouTube.

A joint initiative between US-based Parents magazine and Penguin Random House, this literacy movement shares a live reading every day at 3pm on Instagram. Check the link above for the schedule.

This article was originally published on Apr 06, 2020
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