> 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

Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson

Puffin Clothbound Classics - stunningly beautiful hardback editions of the most famous stories in the world.

Buy now
Buy now

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

Enjoy Eric Carle's classic story even more with this fantastic book and toy set.

Buy now
Buy now

Hard Luck: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BK8) Jeff Kinney

Jeff Kinney's 8th book of this hilarious and highly successful series, and Greg Heffley and his friends now have a whole new set of adventures.

Buy now
Buy now

Of Thee I Sing Barack Obama

A stunning picture book by former US President Barack Obama that's perfect to share and inspire children to achieve their dreams.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
10 must read books for children under 5!

Filled with adventure, inspiration and humour, these books are sure to take little readers and their imaginations to new and fantastic places!

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
Puffin Summer Book Bingo

Turn reading over the summer into a game! Download and print off our book bingo sheet for inventive ways to enjoy a story and try different genres. Read under a tree; read a non-fiction book, visit a library; are you up to the challenge?

Article
One of Us is Lying: Meet the suspects

Five students get detention, only four leave alive. How far would you go to protect your secrets?

Article
New Zealand's Wild Weather Introduction

From Earth’s very origins, weather has exerted its mercurial influence and shaped the world we know. Wielding tempests and storms, weather has the power to disrupt and destroy; yet at its most gentle, it can relieve and restore.

Article
Kia Kaha profile - Taika Waititi

He kept trying new things, experimenting and, most importantly, he kept making stuff. Creative, unusual and funny stuff. Eventually, Taika thought he’d try to make a short film . . .

Article
Kia Kaha profile - Hirini Melbourne

Hirini never thought he would become a musician. He couldn't read music, but he was good at listening and very dedicated, so he taught himself.

Article
Kia Kaha profile - Meri Te Tai Mangakāhia

Meri worked and worked and worked. ‘I’ll never give up,’ she vowed. She could see a better future for Māori women, and knew they deserved it.

Article
4 epic new YA reads from Penguin Books

Secrets, thrills, heartbreak, and adventure. . . we bet we've got your favourite new read covered!

Article
The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced, with four Penguin Random House novels named.

Article
Te Wiki o te Reo Māori catalogue 2021

Kōrerotia te reo this Māori Language Week 2021 with our selection of Māori Language books.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles