Misty Copeland, Tiffani Thiessen and more launch virtual storytime initiative

Misty Copeland read her picture book, "Firebird," to kick off the campaign.

March 23, 2020, 8:05 PM

A slew of notable stars are joining forces to launch a new initiative to encourage literacy, which they're calling the "Read Together, Be Together" campaign.

In partnership with Penguin Random House and Parents Magazine, Misty Copeland, Danica McKellar, Tiffani Thiessen and more will host virtual story times on their Instagram channels in hopes of encouraging young children to read more.

The program was initially set to launch this summer but it launched on Monday instead to provide entertainment and learning resources to children as the novel coronavirus pandemic forces kids out of schools across the U.S., a press release said.

A ballet dancer and bestselling author, Copeland read her debut picture book, "Firebird," to kick off the campaign.

At the start of the video, she explained why she wanted to take part in the initiative and sent well-wishes to those suffering from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

"To everyone at home, I know we are all in each other's thoughts, and I'm just fortunate to have a home and people around me that care and love me in this time, and I hope that I can give you guys some sense of normalcy and comfort," Copeland said.

"I'm here hosting a virtual storytime for all of you families and little ones and everyone who is watching," she continued.

She explained that she wrote the book after she danced her title role in American Ballet Theatre’s "Firebird."

"The book is not about the ballet story, but the Firebird role was such a big part of my journey as a dancer -- as a black dancer," she said. "The story really is sharing in a relationship and mentorship between a young dancer and an experienced ballerina."

You can check out Copeland's full live-stream here.

As part of the initiative, Penguin Random House will also donate 750,000 books to First Book, a nonprofit that gives learning materials, like new books and educational resources, to children in need.

Keep an eye out for other celebs' storytimes coming later this week.