As coronavirus lockdowns increase, people all over the country are adjusting to new realities of working from home. And that often means keeping young children entertained while staying sane yourself.

To help out in trying times, celebs like Josh Gad (your kids may know him as the guy who voices Olaf in the Frozen movies), Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner have recorded videos of themselves reading children’s books and short stories out loud.

Known as “Operation Storytime,” the initiative is meant to provide some much-needed distraction for both kids and their caregivers as well as raise funds for kids who rely on free school lunch programs.

Here are some children’s stories you can watch and listen to right now:

Josh Gad reads “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

As a special treat to little ones who are obsessed with “Frozen,” the actor who voiced Olaf posted a Twitter video of himself reading Shel Silverstein’s classic children’s book “The Giving Tree.”

“We’re going to do this for, it seems, at least a little while longer,” Josh Gad says in the video, referring to the lockdowns. “So gather up the kids or yourselves or your millennial friends and start a fire if it’s cold.”

Jennifer Garner reads “The Mitten” by Jan Brett

You may know her from “Dallas Buyers’ Club” and “13 Going On 30” but your kids will like Jennifer Garner’s calming voice as she reads a classic story about a lost mitten.

“If you drop a white mitten in the snow, it will be hard to find,” Garner reads in the two-minute video she posted on her Instagram account.

Jan Brett reads “Cozy” by Jan Brett

If your kids liked the video of Garner reading “The Mitten,” good news. Jan Brett, the best-selling author who wrote the book, posted a video of herself reading a sample from her new book “Cozy” — a book about a musk ox set to debut in October.


Amy Adams reads “The Dinosaur Princess” by Aviana Olea Le Gallo

Known as one of the highest-paid actresses in the world, Amy Adams posted a video of herself reading “The Dinosaur Princess” — a book written by her 10-year-old daughter Aviana Olea Le Gallo and illustrated by her husband Darren Le Gallo. Adams and Garner also encouraged their viewers to help out children who rely on the food provided by their schools to not go hungry.

“Thirty million children in the United States rely on school for food,” Adams wrote in the caption for her video. “School closures will hit vulnerable communities hard.”

Mac Barnett reading a book a day

Beloved children’s book author Mac Barnett has committed to reading a book a day for the next little while. His most recent video is one of him reading “Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem.”

Reese Witherspoon reads “Uni the Unicorn” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Actress Reese Witherspoon recorded a video of herself reading a unicorn story — “Uni the Unicorn,” a best-selling children’s book about a unicorn who dreams of one day meeting a little girl.

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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