> Skip to content

Article  •  16 November 2020

 

Children's books loved by the Obamas

Here's a selection of children's stories that have received a big thumbs up from Barack and Michelle Obama. 

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1967)

One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max's room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are.

The iconic tale of mischievous Max's adventures before bedtime was read and acted out by both Michelle and Barack Obama at the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll in 2016. 

Best for ages: 2-5 years old

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)

When an old sea captain dies in his parent's inn, young Jim Hawkins finds himself holding the key to a vast fortune; a map that will lead him to Treasure Island. Featuring wild beasts, a host of true villains, and the most infamous pirate in all of literature, this classic adventure story has been cited as a childhood favourite of Barack's. 

Best for ages: 8-12 years old

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

During initial lockdowns, Michelle Obama chose some of her favourite children's stories to read aloud via PBS KIDS, and the first book chosen was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. 

In case you're unfamiliar with this beloved picture book (on average a copy is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds!), it tells the story of a little caterpillar with a big appetite and his surprising transformation. 

Best for ages: 3-5 years old

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Book 8) by Jeff Kinney (2013)

Malia and Sasha Obama have been spotted carrying copies of both Hard Luck and Cabin Fever, so we think it's fair to assume they were fans of the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series in their younger years!

In Hard Luck, Greg Heffley's on a losing streak. His best friend, Rowley Jefferson, has ditched him, and finding new friends in middle school is proving to be a tough task. To change his fortunes, Greg decides to take a leap of faith and turn his decisions over to chance.

Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (2010)

Written by Obama whilst he was President, this inspirational picture book is framed as a beautiful letter to his daughters, and a moving tribute to the ideals that have shaped his nation. Accompanied by Loren Long's beautiful illustrations, this book celebrates the potential within all of us to pursue our dreams and make a difference in the world. 


Where The Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

This best-selling classic now comes with an audio CD read by Tom Hollander.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
Gift guide 2019: books for ages 3 -6

Give the gift of time to your little one and choose one of these gorgeous picture books to read together and treasure this Christmas.

Activity
Collage with Eric Carle

Follow the steps to make your own Very Hungry Caterpillar collage.

Article
Locked Down: Real Reader Reviews

We wanted to know what young Kiwi readers thought about Jesse O's book Locked Down (hint: they loved it!). Read on to see their reviews.

Article
Locked Down: A note from the author

When Jesse O wrote Locked Down (then titled Staying Home) back in 2011, she never imagined that almost a decade later, the events of her novel would prove spookily accurate . . .

Article
The road trip that inspired Showtym Adventures 8!

Syd, the Muster Pony tells the story of the Wilson sisters' most epic adventure yet, and it's inspired by a real-life road trip Kelly and her sisters took in 2001! (warning: this article might induce a desperate longing to go adventuring around the country, read on at your own risk)

Article
Suzi McAlpine on the inspiration behind Beyond Burnout

Find out the inspiration behind Beyond Burnout, as well as what you'll learn from reading it!

Article
YA fiction we can't wait to read in 2021!

From contemporary rom-coms, to literary debuts, to the creepiest modern gothic fairytale you could imagine (seriously . . . it is AWESOME!), we've got some stellar YA lined up for you this year. Read on for recommendations for your TBR pile!

Article
This will be hard

In How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates outlines just some of the hurdles between humanity and a net-zero carbon world.

Article
Beyond Hairy Maclary

Hairy Maclary and his friends are known and loved all over the world. But how familiar are you with Dame Lynley Dodd's other creations? There are plenty to discover, and just like Hairy Maclary, they all feature Lynely's uniquely exuberant artwork and gorgeously readable rhymes! Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Article
A sneak peek at our 2021 kids books!

After an exhausting and unusual 2020, we’ve got plenty of reasons to be grateful for a new year, not least because of the stellar line up of children’s books we have coming your way over the next few months!Read on for a sneak peek at some of the best new children’s books we’re bringing to you in 2021.

Article
Beautiful NZ Picture Books from 2020

Sometimes a story is best told alongside a beautiful picture, Here's a small selection of some of our favourite 2020 picture books from local creators. 

Article
Sophie Gray's top tips for a cracker Christmas

If you’re planning to head to the shops for a last-minute Christmas here's what destitute gourmet wants you to think about! 

Looking for more articles?

See all articles