I’ve always been a big reader. (No surprise, given my profession.) I remember as a child staying up to read by the light of my nightlight. It was a tabletop porcelain nightlight shaped like a child praying. I’m told my poor eyesight resulted from those late-evening reading sessions with too little light. But I just wanted to keep reading!

So, I let my daughter stay up to read if she wants. I’d rather save her eyesight. And we all know that, unlike with screen time, when she gets tired, she’ll simply fall asleep.

Reading was always a solitary activity for me. A way to escape into a new world. It still is, but when I had my daughter, it became a bonding activity. I’ve been reading to her since the day she came home from the hospital. I read to her every night until the past couple of years, when she started reading on her own sometimes. But we still often read books together. Right now, we’re reading The Tunnel of Bones, which was a gift from Kristine Kathryn Rusch. It’s a wonderful book.

And with everything that’s going on with the world right now, reading is a much-needed escape (as long as you’re not obsessively reading news articles about COVID-19, that is).

In fact, reading has turned into an online activity of its own in these days of social distancing. Many famous authors and performers are reading stories online, streaming content online for free, and offering book readings and even illustration lessons. There are so many opportunities right now, that I thought I’d share with you some of our favorites.

Some of my 9-year-old daughter Nola’s favorites:

Some of my favorites:

  • Patrick Steward reads a Shakespeare sonnet every day. https://twitter.com/SirPatStew
  • LeVar Burton has turned his podcast “LeVar Burton Reads” into a livestream Twitter event, which has him reading children’s literature at noon EDT on Mondays, young adult at 6 p.m. EDT on Wednesdays, and adult fiction at 9 p.m. EDT Fridays. He kicked it off with Neil Gaiman, who gave Burton blanket permission to read any of his stories, so… https://twitter.com/levarburton
  • It’s not exactly reading, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a hit musical once a week for free on YouTube in The Shows Must Go On. They’re available for 48 hours and release on Fridays. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdmPjhKMaXNNeCr1FjuMvag
  • And my personal favorite right now: Samuel L. Jackson reading an awesome new twist on Go the F*ck to Sleep called Stay the F*ck at Home. I almost warned you that it’s NSFW, but… https://twitter.com/SamuelLJackson/status/1245778791592366082

The options abound out there. And don’t forget, if you still prefer reading as a solitary activity, we have many options for that right here at WMG. We have several first-in-series free novels (click here for options), and Kris posts a new free story on her blog every week (click here for the latest story).

Now, more than ever, happy reading to you!

Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.