President Obama: Here's a Look at His Childhood Reading List

Obama was a die-hard fan of the Hardy Boys, among other books.

April 30, 2015, 2:22 PM

— -- Want your kid to grow up to be president? Check out a book.

"When I was young, I used to love libraries, love reading. I still love reading,” President Obama said today at during a “virtual field trip” at Anacostia Library in Washington. "These days, I don’t get to read for fun as much as I do for my work.”

The president, who today announced the administration was working with publishers to provide millions of e-books to students nationwide, reminded middle schoolers in the audience that no matter how sophisticated the technology, “the most powerful engine for learning is between your ears.”

“You’re texting all day and you’re looking at Vines and Instagrams and you’re looking at, like, Grumpy Cat, ” Obama said. “You can have the nicest computer in the world, but if you’re lazy and sitting around just playing video games and not really interested in it, well you’re probably not going to be a great student.”

So without further ado, here’s Obama’s childhood reading list -- fit for a commander-in-chief:

1. Dr. Seuss.

“I’m still a big Dr. Seuss fan,” Obama told kids today. “I was into that, the Sneeches and Horton and all that stuff.”

2. The Hardy Boys

“I was into adventure stories,” Obama said. “There was something called The Hardy Boys back in the day -- I know you guys don’t read that probably anymore.”

3. Treasure Island

“If it makes you feel younger,” the sixth-grade host, Osman, reassured the president, “my best friend read 'Treasure Island.'”

Gee, thanks.

4. Lord of the Rings

5. The Hobbit

6. Books about “planets and dinosaurs”

7. Of Mice and Men

“When I got a little older, I started reading some classic books ... novels that focus on, you know, adult experiences,” Obama said.

8. The Great Gatsby

9. Harry Potter

The president began read the Harry Potter series to first daughter Malia, now 16, when she was about five.

10. Alex Rider?

Obama hasn’t yet picked up the Alex Rider series -- but after a plot summary from Osman, it sounds Obama might add the kid spy books to his reading list.

“I could lend you some books, if you need them,” Osman offered.

“I might borrow ‘em!” Obama replied. “Sounds pretty interesting.”

Not so interesting? Obama’s answer to a question about writer’s block.

“I think you’ve kind of covered that question,” Osman interrupted halfway through the president’s musings on the blank page.

“Osman thinks I’ve been talking too long!” the president said. “No, let’s move it along, I gotcha.”

Obama, who today acknowledged he still loves turning the pages of “traditional books,” said kids with computers and e-books “don’t even know how good you’ve got it.”

When asked by a student in the audience what technology he used as a student, the president chuckled.

“When I was in school, we had pencils. And pens. And we had some colored markers and erasers, scissors…,” he said, as the kids giggled.

“And typing was a hassle!” Obama added, pantomiming keystrokes. “You’d still make some mistakes, and you’d have to get this thing called white out, which was like this little liquid, that you’d kind of cross out the letter, then you’d have to wait till it dries and you’d blow on it, whew.”

ABC News’ Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

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