For all those parents wondering what to do with their youngsters with the schools closed – help is at hand. A wide array of writers and celebrities are now reading and recording children’s stories on social media, to assist the many mothers and fathers rapidly running out of ideas.
These celebrity narrations are hoping to inspire and entertain, and maybe, just maybe, grant you some peace and quiet…
1. Dolly Parton
She’ll always be the Queen of Country, but over the past few decades Parton has earned herself a new identity as the ‘the book lady’. Her literacy initiative The Imagination Library has delivered more than 100 million books to pre-nursery age children across the English speaking world, earning recognition from the Library of Congress and many, many awards.
Now Parton is stepping back in front of the camera to helm Goodnight with Dolly, reading weekly children’s stories to help inspire kids currently off school. The weekly episodes will air on the Imagination Library’s Facebook page, starting at midnight on April 12 and continuing for 10 weeks.
2. Amy Adams and others
The brainchild of Hollywood A-listers Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner, #SaveWithStories is reading kid’s books for a cause. In partnership with charities No Kid Hungry and Save The Children, the brand new campaign is encouraging donations by recruiting celebrities to record themselves reading children’s stories on Instagram.
The movement has achieved a lot in two short weeks, and the 100-odd uploads include offerings by Reese Witherspoon, Jonathan Van Ness, Chris Evans, Brie Larson, Jeff Goldblum, Margot Robbie, Jimmy Fallon, Lupita Nyong’o… the list goes on.
The initiative has also coaxed Adams onto Instagram for the first time. The star long resisted fan calls to open an account, but teamed up with Garner to launch the initiative with two readings of their own.
3. David Walliams
Those stuck at home with their kids may be able to relate to ‘The World's Worst Children’. I’ll be releasing an audio story every day for the next 30 days for free. First up is The Terrible Triplets! Enjoy. xxxMarch 23, 2020
Already a colossus among children’s authors, David Walliams is doing his bit for the housebound by releasing 30 free online audiobooks – one per day for a month. So far offerings include best-sellers like Nigel Nit-Boy, Windy Mindy, and Humbert the Hungry Baby – all written and read by Walliams himself.
The programme began on March 23, so that’s 10 down, 20 to go. Enjoy them while they last.
4. Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon made his name writing Pulitzer Prize-winning novels and now helms the new series of Star Trek, but he’s touched temporarily back down to Earth to launch Story Time with Michael Chabon, a set of online webisodes narrating classic children’s tales.
Posted direct to his Instagram, he’s so far tackled school library staples like The Owl And The Pussycat and Where The Wild Things Are, and is uploading new videos almost daily.
5. Storyline Online
Celebrity book readings are not exclusive to the coronavirus era, and YouTube contains a large archive of children’s recordings narrated by A-listers of all kinds. Courtesy of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, Storyline Online hopes to raise literacy in English speaking countries the world over, and claims to record 100 million views per year.
Irish actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd notched up 6.2 million views with his characterful rendition of Arnie the Doughnut, alongside offerings by Oprah Winfrey, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Bell and Chris Pine. Stranger Things star David Harbour stars in the most recent video, recounting the adventures of Snappsy the Alligator.