Once upon a time, famous actors and authors united during a pandemic to ease children's anxieties through storytelling.
Amy Adams, Josh Gad, Jennifer Garner and more stars are lending their voices to "Operation Storytime" and "Save With Stories," initiatives aimed at lifting kids' — and parents' — spirits amid coronavirus-induced uncertainty.
Here's how it works: Participants post social media videos of themselves reading various children's books aloud to entertain self-quarantined families whose children are no longer in school because of public health concerns.
"In case your day calls for a calming story," Garner captioned her Instagram post, for which she recited Jan Brett's winter wonderland tale "The Mitten," accompanied by her kid-friendly golden retriever.
Gad — who is accustomed to amusing kids as the voice of Olaf the snowman in the "Frozen" movies — opted to read Shel Silverstein's classic "The Giving Tree" and offered some support to families who have committed to social distancing.
"I also want to thank everyone who is in self-isolation right now. I know it's hard not to be out there socializing with everybody. Trust me, I want to be out there too," the "Book of Mormon" alum said. "But it's important that all of us protect everybody who is somewhat fragile right now, or immuno-compromised, so thank you. And now I'm going to read a book that I have a lot of trouble getting through and haven't actually read in a long time because I find it a difficult one."
In addition to partnering with parenting blog Romper for "Operation Storytime," Garner also collaborated with Adams for "Save With Stories," a reading initiative started by nonprofit organizations Save the Children and No Kid Hungry. Similar to "Operation Storytime," "Save With Stories" features Adams reciting her daughter Aviana Olea Le Gallo's "The Dinosaur Princess" and Garner reading Ken Geist's “The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark."
"We are galvanizing as a community to support a new fund for a combined effort between SAVE THE CHILDREN and Share Our Strength’s NO KID HUNGRY," Adams wrote on Instagram. "THIRTY MILLION CHILDREN in the United States rely on school for food. School closures will hit vulnerable communities hard."
Both actresses also encouraged their fans to donate to Save the Children and No Kid Hungry in order to serve kids "affected by COVID-19," who are experiencing food insecurity during the pandemic. Anyone who wants to contribute can do so at savethechildren.org/savewithstories or text "SAVE" to 20222 for a one-time donation of $10.
"All you have to do is watch our stories and please consider donating," Adams said in a joint video with Garner.
Parents can find more celebrity and author renditions of their kids' favorite stories below.
Hey, tomorrow morning (3/15) at noon Pacific I’m going to read my first picture book, Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem, out loud right here on Instagram Live. If you can’t make it, I think it stays up for 24 hours—I don’t know, I’ve never used Instagram Live before, we will figure this out together. Then on Monday at noon I’m going to read my second picture book. I’ll keep going for a while, probably. I’ve got about a month’s worth of picture books, and if we run out I might read some chapter books or something. Who knows? See you tomorrow, maybe!
A post shared by Mac Barnett (@macbarnett) on Mar 14, 2020 at 12:39pm PDT
I’ll be reading a chapter of A Girl, a Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon by me and @jessixabagley and @chroniclekidsbooks every day til I’m done! Sidebars and all. @romper @chroniclebooks #OperationStorytime
A post shared by KarenRomanoYoung #AntarcticLog (@karenromanoyoung) on Mar 16, 2020 at 6:33am PDT