Tom Hardy has joined one of several celebrities who are using their visibility for good by returning to an old passion project: reading children’s books to kids on the television. That’s right: Tom Hardy is returning to the British TV network CBeebies, a BBC-owned television channel, for the first time in a few years to read bedtime stories to the United Kingdom’s kids.
Hardy’s going live every day to read one story to kids from Monday, April 27 to Friday, May 1. The books listed so far include Hug Me by Simone Ciraolo, There’s A Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart, and The Problem with Problems by Rachel Rooney and Zehra Hicks.
Hardy will be joined by his French Bulldog, Blue, for the nightly readings, and will keep reading after April 1, though the books on the docket after that point have not been yet announced. He’ll be reading from his garden and the stories will air at 6:50 p.m. local time every night.
It’s worth noting that Hardy is not alone in joining the bedtime story beat. Dolly Parton, the prolific country music star, actress, author, humanitarian, and all-around American legend, is adding storyteller to her list of career-long accolades. The nine-time Grammy award winner whose career has spanned over five decades has begun reading bedtime stories to kids in a new live-streamed series called “Goodnight with Dolly.”
Parton, who already runs her own book donation charity called the Imagination Library, where she gifts free books to kids in need, will select kids books that are available through her charity and read them on Facebook Live and YouTube every Thursday at 7 p.m. EST. Her series, which will run for 8 more weeks, started with “The Little Engine That Could.” Dolly is specifically picking books that help kids during this particularly trying time.
Parton joins a whole host of authors and celebrities that will take to the internet airwaves to read to fans and audiences. LeVar Burton is bringing a thrice-weekly show to Twitter Live in which he reads to kids, young adults, and adults through the free and open use of the HarperCollins library. Non-profit Save the Children just launched a new initiative, called Save With Stories, in which celebrities read stories on Instagram and Facebook in order to raise money to feed kids who struggle to find meals outside of school.
Olivia Wilde, Rose Byrne, Tony Hale, and even Glenn Close have read on the platform so far. Michael Chabon, acclaimed author and Pulitzer Prize Winner, among other accolades, has done daily story time sessions for kids that he’s posting on Instagram that can be accessed at any time. As of this point, he’s read 13 books so far. Chabon has read “The Leaf Men” by William Joyce and “Olivia” by Ian Falconer, a huge throwback and major classic. Mo Willems has offered up all of his books to be read out loud by educators and librarians in live streams. Mornington Peninsula Libraries in Australia are doing weekly live-streams every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. their time on Facebook Live, and the East Gwill Public Library in Canada is doing live sing-a-longs and book-readings on their Facebook as well.
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