Looking for Your Next Celebrity Storytime? Try These!

While we may all get a little tired of being told that we must use these odd times for self-improvement and intense personal growth, there is no denying that many people have taken both comfort from and interest in reading. Libraries are realizing that the rural Bookmobile concept is actually pretty amazing, something I knew as a child when the magical delivery service visited my aunt’s house. It was like a traveling Scholastic Book Fair. Amazon is, of course, doing a rip-roaring business, but they aren’t delivering only books, as people are shipping everything including a kitchen sink (if Amazon doesn’t have one that suits the shut-in home-improver, I’m sure Home Depot or Lowe’s will). Local bookstores, many of which are only doing online or appointment sales, are a nice choice, and a good idea if you’d like that bookstore to be there this time next year.

One of the most popular ways to enjoy a good book, though, is to hear it read aloud. There is something magical about the read-aloud. It conveys safety and connection for many of us, reminding us of our childhood and of family reading time.  I may have complained mightily about reading any chapter in which I had to do my extravagant voices for Voldemort, Bellatrix, Dobby, and/or Snape, but I wouldn’t trade those sore throats for anything, as reading the Harry Potter books aloud to my children remains one of the most precious experiences we have shared (and I do still do the voices sometimes for laughs, although my daughter has truly made Luna her own. My grandchildren will have a ball with that one).

Celebrities are, of course, taking up the task of bringing storytime comfort, and the Wizarding World has been featuring appropriate readers for Philosopher’s Stone. Daniel Radcliffe, the Boy who Lived to most filmgoers, has read us the first chapter. Noma Dumezweni of Cursed Child took on “The Vanishing Glass.” Newt Scamander himself, the delightful Eddie Redmayne, reads chapter 3, and has an Aunt Petunia voice I truly envy. Artwork from contributors adds to the reading, but Spotify also has all–auditory versions. Many other famous voices are lined up to read aloud each chapter over the coming weeks.

While we wait for the next chapters to be read by the next celebrity readers, you may be in need of another reading companion.  Thankfully, there are some wonderful choices available. Here are a few I like and which you might want to try, but also hope you’ll comment below with suggestions if you have found some that you have discovered and enjoyed.

  1. Gail Carson Levine: While probably best known for Ella Enchanted, Levine has an array of fantasy novels thattake place both in Ella’s kingdom of Kyrria and in other fantastic places, as well as historic fiction. A favorite at our house is Fairest, an original treatment of Snow White’s themes. My daughter loves many of Levine’s novels, and she’s not alone. There are plenty of readers of all ages who adore her work. To connect with them, and perhaps reach more readers, Levine’s been reading chapters on her facebook page. If you’ve never read any of her novels, I do recommend Ella Enchanted as an entry point.
  2. Also on facebook is the incomparable Sir Patrick Stewart. Whether he’s Captain Picard or Professor X, Sir Patrick is a class act. His current project is no exception. He is reading a Shakespeare sonnet a day on his facebook page, and also has offered other readings from the bard. Of course, his voice is one that could create a fascinating reading from the ingredients on toothpaste, but his demeanor is at once charming and professional while also putting us completely at ease. Sir Patrick often has a beverage (and once sported a T-shirt for Gillian Welch, a wonderful musician whose work I also enjoy), sometimes he has to start over, and sometimes he doesn’t get his reading done until late in the day. No matter, his daily sonnets are a boon. I’m a fan of #29 in any case, but you can go to Stewart’s profile page to listen to your favorites or start at the beginning to catch up and have one every day.
  3. If you want something more polished, Neil Gaiman’s website and Harper Collins Publishers both are promoting an older selection that holds up well: Gaiman reading aloud his Graveyard Book. It’s a charming and brilliant book, of course, but more so with his reading, and there is something nice about experiencing that story just when so many people are worried about so much. Like whistling past the graveyard, a story about a graveyard may be just the jaunty thumbed-nose to pandemic panic that you need. And if you need something even funnier, try reading yourself Sir Terry Pratchett’s Johnny Maxwell series, particularly Johnny and the Dead. I very much wish Sir Terry was around to read aloud now, as he would certainly help us all with humor and perspective, whether with Johnny or Discworld’s Death, including his cats and ALL CAPS.

There are loads more choices, of course, so I hope you will share some of your favorites, and I hope you’ll read some things for yourself, and if you are fortunate enough to be in the house with people you love, please read aloud to them. Do the voices. You’ll be glad you did.


  1. What’s up, this weekend is good designed for me, as this time i am reading this wonderful educational paragraph here at my house.

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