tv Michelle Obamas Book Tour for Becoming CSPAN December 16, 2018 8:00am-10:00am EST
officer david preis provides a look at ways in which presidents have been removed from office. now, here's our coverage of michelle obama's book tour. .. at the american library associations annual meeting in new orleans. she previewed her book and talk about her life but the librarian of congress, doctor carla hayden. >> and now the person you all
came to see. [cheers and applause] michelle robinson obama. [cheers and applause] she is a lawyer. she is an author, and she is the wife of the 44th president of the united states, barack obama. [cheers and applause] >> throughout her initiative as first lady should become a role model for women and four girls. at an advocate for healthy families, servicemembers and their families, higher education and international adolescent girls education. her much anticipated memoir,
"becoming", ," will be publishen u.s. and canada on november 13, 2018, by crown, a division of penguin random house. and it will be released simultaneously in 24 languages. [applause] considered one of the most popular first ladies -- [cheers and applause] -- mrs. obama invite leaders into her world, chronicling the experiences that shaped her from her childhood on the south side of chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world's most famous address. warm, wise, united states is a
deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations and whose story inspires us to do the same. we are also fortunate to have librarian of congress carla hayden, hosting the conversation with mrs. obama today. as we know, carla was nominated to this position of librarian of congress by president barack obama in february 2016, at her nomination was confirmed by the use senate in july 2016. she was sworn in as the 14th librarian of congress in september 2016. library of congress, carla hayden, and first lady mrs. obama, together now for an in-depth conversation around her forthcoming memoir, "becoming," and the experiences that
impacted her life, her family, and her country. michelle obama. [cheers and applause] thank you so much. [cheers and applause] >> a lot of librarians here. [laughing] you guys are looking good. hi, carla. >> high. >> how are you? >> i'm telling you, there have been many thrills but to be the librarian that is sitting here with you is one of the most --
i'm getting a little -- but i'm the interviewer so i have to -- >> you just have to remember our days back in -- i've known carla since i was a baby, a baby professional. you shouldn't be nervous. >> and what a professional you were though, because the chicago public library came back from pittsburgh and the library was part of your portfolio. >> yes, it was. >> it made such a a differenceo have somebody that understood libraries, that read and everything in government like that. [laughing] >> that was her. [applause] that wasn't shade. not at all. she was just making a point, that's all. >> because i was coming in from academic teaching librarians and thanks. >> so we go way back. >> way back. and what i mentioned you like to
read, , it's been a big part of your family, reading. >> absolutely. we are readers, the obama's, and we started reading to the girls when they were babies, infants. because as a little kid i loved to read out loud. i one of those kids who would set up the stuffed animals and the barbies and read to them and show them the pictures, and then go back. i loved the act of reading aloud. so when i had kids they just became like my real babies i could read to you. so i read to them all the time, all the time. i know every word of every dr. seuss anything, still i heart, and as the girls grew up we continued to incorporate books as a form of family activities. so as they get older we started reading more complex books
together. so barack and melia wrote, read all of the harry potter books aloud from front to cover, from the front to the back, then she could see the movie after they read it. so that was there father daughter ritual. and i stayed out of it because you want the father to everything that they do, but i don't know anything about harry potter because i wasn't even going to get involved in that. so that's their thing. so when sasha got older i read life of pi with her and then we saw the movie. we were big comic family readers here we loved calvin and hobbes. we're big calvin and hobbes family. so yeah, we, reading with part of the way we put our kids to sleep at night. i felt that music, reading culture was an important part of
their development from very early on. we are big, big readers. >> one of the images that i know that when you were in the white house and it would be holiday time, you would be going and it would be going to the bookstores and getting books as gifts. >> that's what i'll all barack. that's your place penological as president. he could call and he could get to the bookstore. i think those were the two things he felt comfortable doing outside of the white house, but that was an annual ritual of the and the girls go to one of the bookstores for the holidays. in chicago the 57 bookstore, you know that bookstore. that was our neighborhood store that we like to go to. so bookstores and libraries, of course, were a big part of our life, a big part of my life very early on, too. i remember my first experience
with going to the library. i was four, and it was like the first official time i got an id. you know, you felt like big-time person getting something with her name on it. and i remember going into the library in our neighborhood was three blocks from our house, and my mom was a housewife at the time, that's what she would take us. that was sort of my first major big girl thing i could do was get my library card and stand like counter high watching them put me into the official file. i felt really important. i could know what to do with my library card because i didn't have a wall or a purse but i felt really special just to have. we would go to the library. it was a community space, as all of you all know, the library for us like for all of you, you see is a major part of any community. that was the place for our
family to go to get those early books, dick and jane books, barb are the elephant. you know, you go up to the children's corner with a colorful titles were and i felt one day i would graduate to going upstairs where the books were darker and the jackets were maroon or blue. that was where the series books were, upstairs. >> did you ever get to go? >> oh, yes. i got up there one day. i graduated. but in the library became work, research papers, the dewey decimal system. it became a little -- only here, only here. [laughing] >> a shout out for the dewey decimal system. [laughing] >> i i love you all, i do. >> so you continued, you went to school, you graduate from school come all that and then your life that even busier. how did you find time to read just for pleasure wax you know we all want to know, did you get
a chance to read in thing for pleasure? >> there were moments escape. today, however, i'm spending most of my time selfishly focused on my book. so that's what i'm reading. [laughing] and it is almost ready. i've been immersed in the process, so this year's been a little tougher for me because i'm trying to stay in my voice. but when i do a time i have one of my chief of staff, melissa oh, by the way, she's more excited to be a then she was to meet bruce springsteen. [laughing] melissa is my book recommender. she loves you all. i'm a loser in this convention center tonight. she might lately. she's been with me since the very beginning of the campaign, but she is my book guru. i usually read what melissa
tells me i should read, social pass on, she would so some books in my back on a long trip. what have i been reading lately? i have a very eclectic sort of reading, a list. i've read commonwealth. i love a good story that takes me outside of myself. i love everything that she has done. i actually accidentally reread that. i read it maybe two years ago and then i was like, it was on my shelf and i thought, have i read this? i started reading it. i was thinking i must have espn or something because i know it's going to happen on the next page. page. this is on my life is, these past decades i i would forget t i read, but i read it and realize by the third chapter that i'd read it already but i finished it. >> did you put it out? >> no, no. i love her storytelling, her characters. i just finished reading exit
west, which was very good, very powerful. the nightingale, i read just the other day. shout outs for the nightingale. [applause] i love all of her stuff. so i mean, you know, i love stories. i love to escape for a moment. i needed that escape of the past ten years. i needed to get out of my own story to get into somebody else's story for a minute. >> were you able to do that? >> yes. >> i mean get lost in the book. >> i couldn't read in the white house. times there was just too much going on, and we were running so fast that whenever i got a chance to sit down and pick up a book, i would get maybe a sentence and i would fall asleep. so literally sitting down, i don't know if i was napping or
passed out. i couldn't tell the difference. i would wake up and it would be an hour and i would think, i thought was i asleep? that's how the white house years felt. usually on a longer trip i could get into a book, but it was, you know, it was a hectic eight years. >> now, you set pick up a book. so that implies a physical book. >> i always -- i'm not in the reader. i love to have a book in my hand. [applause] even in my writing process i like to hold it. i can't really added things on the computer well. feel like i have to write down my thoughts. i can jot down things on an iphone, but that's hard. i have to feel it. i have to still be able to touch it. i'm old, sorry. [laughing] we still have a lot of books in our house. my husband who you know is an
avid reader and still love books and render them for he's gone, just boxes and boxes of books that he can't get rid of. he will not allow me to do it. we are still a household that, we have books on shelves, lots of books on shelves. >> unit as a librarian i did some research company and i understand that there's a library you actually work in the library bindery? >> yes. i worked on a book bindery one summer. bob goldmans book bindery, i did. was the summer right before i went to college. had a frenchman who worked there and it was my first real job. before then i did the neighborhood jobs, babysitting. i had a family next to it that they paid me to do everything for them, babysit, trained a dog, too in their peer. the smiths. i love them. they got me through high school. but then i graduated to a job
downtown. the bindery was downtown and a friends mother worked there. my job, it entailed doing one thing a thousand times every day all day over and over again. so i got to put the little metal thing in a hole and then pass the cardboard over to the guys that would slam it down. so my job was to take the metal thing, put it in the whole and passive. i was good with doing that for the first day even. [laughing] i thought, you know, i was aiming at finishing it. i thought the would be an end to it, but there were like thousands of them and i would prove to the bindery people that are so fast that i could complete it and i would be done. i just realized it's never over. they just kept coming, the little pieces of cardboard and the little things, and that went on for weeks and weeks and weeks doing the same thing and i just thought my god, i'm ready for college.
[laughing] i can do this. but it taught me great respect for the men and women who do that work every day, thankless work that makes it possible for us to have books and folders. i learned work ethic at the bindery. the dozens of people in the plant who came there and it did the same job every day for years and years and years, you know? they reminded me of father, those blue-collar workers who didn't look for passion in their jobs. they didn't have the luxury like we did to think about doing the things that we loved it. they had to do things that put food on the table, and that was my first experience shoulder to shoulder with men and women foro were making a living for the family. >> you mentioned your father so many times about his work ethic and what it took for him to go to work and provide an things.
you saw it first hand. >> my father, frazier robinson, you know, , every dollar i haven me came for my mother and father and watching them day to day. as most people know, my father was blue-collar worker, worked the same job his entire life, work at the water filtration plant. my father had ms, and he contracted it at the time of his life so i never knew him to be able to walk without the assistance of a cane. but my father got up. every day was a shift job so some days he was on days, sunday susan nights, some days is on evenings, so we schedule changed. i remember him putting on his white t-shirt and blue button of uniform and getting his crutches and making his way out the back door to the car to go to his job without complaint, without
regret. because he was proud that he had a job that allowed him to invest in his children, me and my brother, with the blue-collar salary. he put two of us through college, and princeton at that. and he made sure that -- [applause] we went to those schools long before they had, you know, the financial assistance that put you completely through. the we were still paying, my parents had to pay a portion of our tuition and he make sure our tuition was paid on time. we never were going to be late and not be able to register for classes. so who i am today is so much, it's because my parents and that hard work ethic and the values of your word is your bond, you do what you say you're going to do. trust is important, honor, honesty.
i saw my father behave in that day every single day regardless of race or station in life. so that's who i think about when i write my book and how i carry myself in the world, i do what it think my parents would expect me to do. i hope to be the person for them. [applause] and my mom is out here. >> she is here? >> yes. >> hey, mom. >> so whenever anything happens, she says, mrs. robinson, she's modeled after your mom and how your mom handled all of that. your mom was right there with you. >> you know, grandma, we couldn't have made it to the white house without her.
just having her -- she had been helping me long before coming to the white house because barack was always, you know, he was a state senator in the u.s. senate, and those were job that had him away from home, usually most of the week. and i still had a full-time job. i was, at any point in time i was a professional with a big job of my own, and we had two little kids. we could afford help, and we had a couple of great babysitters but the time i lost that one good babysitter, that crushed me like nothing else, i mean, when she said she had to leave because she couldn't, she needed to make more money, i thought i was losing an arm. barack was trying to console me and i'm like dude, , just get ot of here, you are of no help to me. i need her, i don't need you. do nothing for me.
[laughing] but i remember that paint and i thought how can i go to work every day and not know that my kids are good? that there was somebody who loves them? which is not to get on a soapbox which is why affordable childcare is so important because so many -- [cheers and applause] having access to that kind of security, for all the families of the don't have a choice, they have to go to work. i know that paint of what it feels like when you don't know your kids are good, and good, not just think safe bet there in the place was somebody loves them and is going to instill values in them and is going to read to them and take them to the library at is not just going to plop them in front of the tv. i was about to quit working, and i thought i just can't do it. i can't keep up the balance. and to step in but my mom, who was not yet retired but she would come over at the crack of
dawn to allow me to go to the gym. she would start getting the kids ready for school. she would wake them up, fix reckless. i would come back, grabbed them, take them to school. she would go to work. she would get off, come and pick them up, get them home, start dinner. by that time i would get home, we had a routine down and there's just something about having your mom in the place where you know she, she will kill someone for her grandchildren. [laughing] so she was the grandmother at the pickup line, she was going to be the person at the pickup line because she did want her little grandbabies walking around wondering where their ride was. so she would get there an hour before pickup to be the first car so that she would see her babies, to bring them here, bring them here, you know, you can't pay for that. so we brought that energy with us to the white house, and we needed it, that kind of
no-nonsense solid tell it like it is unimpressed with everything kind of personality that is marian robinson. she did not want anybody doing her laundry at the white house. she could do her laundry just fine. >> really? >> she was notorious, we had housekeepers and butler's and everything at the white house and she was like him don't touch my underwear, i've got it. [laughing] too old for that. >> my moms role model. >> and she got the girls to do their laundry so they had laundry duty with grandma. [applause] >> also she really help keep them grounded because -- >> sheet kept the whole white house grounded. -- she kept -- and but it was to go to the rooms, the public, the staff, they would be in their chit chatting with her, shooting the breeze, getting some with them, telling. she just had a whole little
counseling session up there in her sweet of rooms, but she kept as humble and focus on what was important. she was my sounding board. anytime anything crazy happened over the course of the day, the first thing i would do, her suite of rooms were on the third floor above us and i would go there and i was sit on a couch. she would have on msnbc or something and should be trying not to talk about what was on the news until i let her know i was ready to talk about it. she would do what she always did, sit there and just listen and go -- and then what? because my mother was not going to solve your problems for you. she was going to listen and she would say, what do you think about that? you would figure it out, but time you agree, i feel great. so so much of my ability to get out there again and again and again have to do with going up
to that little counseling room and sitting and having marian robinson go you'll be fine, just go on back down there. can't stop now. >> did she ever tell you, you know, you talk about that a lot, what are you going to do? did she ever say talk about that a lot. now what is going to do about it? >> no. my mother and i write about this, about how i, my mother, my parents had to really advanced since a parenting at a very early age. they taught us how to advocate for ourselves very early. so her expectation was like you know how to fix your problems. you know what to do. when you teach kids at an early age that they have a voice that's worth listening to, number one, and that their opinions actually matter and that's what they get day in and day out in their home at the dinner table, two adults listening intently and asking
questions and encouraging kids to contribute, that was a household, those were our dinner tables. so when you came home from school with a problem, you could air it, but you to go back and sold it. so 40, 50 years old, my mother wasn't assuming at all that she needed to solve any problems that i had as first lady. her expectations were you will do this and you will do well because you know how to do this. so there was never any need for her to even pretend like she had to give me directions. she knew she had instilled those values in me when i was four and five and seven, so she had done the work. >> what a blessing. you mentioned you almost thought about quitting, because you did have, and i don't know how many people realized what high-powered positions you had as a career woman, i mean, to balance that. >> before i was first lady?
>> yes. >> yes. i had a job before i was a first lady, everyone. [laughing] >> including high-powered ones. executive vice president. >> i had big jobs. i'm smart, was, continue to be. sometimes when i get the question how did you know what to do as first lady? it's like, , okay, i went to princeton, harvard law, was a lawyer, worked in the city, worked with carla working on libraries. i worked in planning and economic developer rent a nonprofit organization. was president of a hospital. i don't know, maybe it was osmosis, i don't know. [laughing] [applause] >> you had some of those experiences. >> i didn't come to the position of first lady a blank slate. that is sort of what happens in society, you become a spouse all of a sudden and i felt, i talk
about this in the book of how i felt myself becoming a spouse. i went from being an executive to becoming a spouse. the first thing people talk about was, what shoes is she wearing? it's like, no, no people. you're not focusing in on my shoes, right? i'm standing in front of like military families. doing important things but so yes, there were moments in my profession because the burden of childbearing fell on me as a woman. there was a part of my trajectory as my husbands assent to a faster and louder, there was the challenge of how do i make sure that my kids are saying and have a career? but that started very early, those doubts, this question how to balance it all and is it fair that we are on his rocketship
ride when i have one, too? but that something to write about. that's what you learn, the balance in marriage, and i tell young people is all the time, particularly young women, is that what i've learned is that you can have it all that you usually can't have it all at the same time. and that is a myth that even have the expectation of having it all is a setup for young people, young couples, young men and women with children, the notion that you're not successful if you don't have it all. it's hard to balance it all, but i started to learn that life is long and there are trade-offs that you make. and i think the trade-off of stepping off of my path until at least i found a child care solution that works for me, which was my mom. i entertained the notion of stepping off my track because i felt like i have these two kids and that is, i brought them
here, so my first priority is to make sure that they are okay. i can't save the world is my household isn't solid. [applause] but the other thing i learned at the point in time when is ready to jump off the professional track, i started not caring what people thought about me professionally. so i felt more freedom to ask for what i needed. i have wound up staying in my crib because i had an opportunity to become the vice president of community affairs at the university of chicago. the president was looking for a new person to head that division and i just had saucer. she was four months old and us like him not doing it, , don't care. don't care about work. -- sasha. someone said you should interview, discussed different. i said okay, i don't care.
i was still breast-feeding so i had saw ship in the crib and i said were going to an interview, a become regard to go see this man but we don't care, we don't care so we are going and he needs to see all of me, have a baby and the husband was used center, whatever you think of the time. it's like you want to hire this? let me tell you what it will take. i will need this much money. i lay down a list of demands that i knew would have him running in the other direction. [applause] because i really felt the freedom to be like, well, if you can do this, this, this and this for me, and maybe you'll think about. and he said yes, to all of the whole list, all all of the thii ask for. and i thought wow, i i guess i have to try this now. what i learned is that women as individuals, you have to ask for what you need and not assume that people are going to give
you what you need. that taught me i can define the terms of my professional life in a way that i didn't feel the freedom to do. so i thought if i'm going to do this i've going to do this in a way that provides balance. i told folks don't expect me to be meeting, don't expect me to come to meetings when were not doing anything because i'm going to the hollowing parade and that's important. and i'm doing my job and the doing it well, but this meeting is it necessary. so i felt that freedom for the first time in my professional life to ask for what they need, knowing that i was worthy of it, i was valuable to them even in all my complicated mess, i was still giving them value. but i had to appreciate that value before i i could ask for what i needed. >> and not be afraid. >> and not be afraid at all, which is easier said than done.
i i understand, it is not easy o tell somebody that you're worth a lot, especially for women. we had a hard time saying that about ourselves that i know my worth and i can put a monitor number on it, too, that there is a value to it. [applause] those are the kind of things i'm exploring in the book as well. i'm not really just trying to pump the book, but these are speed is speaking for the last year i been reliving these thing thing and what it has taught me. some writing about all that. if i sound a little like therapy here -- >> you are in it. >> i'm still in it. >> and people, you have the time people to step back. you mentioned going and going. you didn't have really time to reflect as things were happening. >> there was no time to reflect in eight years. we get so much so fast, and we
also knew we didn't have the luxury to make mistakes. when you are the first -- [applause] i mean, i've lived my life as the first, the only one at the table. and brock and i knew very early that we would be measured by different yardstick -- rock. making mistakes is not an option forus. not that we didn't make mistakes, but we had to be good here know, with outstanding at everything we did. when you operate at that level, you are trying to live up to that, you know, to the expectations of your ancestors, of your father. when you were the first you with one that is laying the red carpet down others to follow. so yes, we were moving fast. i was starting an initiative almost every year during the eight years that i was there. when i started an initiative,
there was a lot of work that went into it before hand. because coming to his work as a professional, i knew that strategic thinking about an initiative have to happen, the background work had to be done. when we started let's move before even launched it, we spent a year meeting with every expert in the field. already developed partnerships before we'd even announced it. we had focus groups. we were meeting with legislators and policymakers so that when we step out into the arena, we knew what the pitfalls would be. we knew where the partnerships needed to be. we knew where the holes were. that was work we were doing at the same time that you doing state visits and halloween parties and christmas decorations. you're like a swan with the paddling legs underneath. that was eight years of that. so yeah, i realize that was time
that something really major what happened at the beginning of the week. let ceja met the pope or something like that. >> let's just say that. >> this is the weird thing. that's the kind of stuff we did. i met the pope or hanging out with the queen. it's like, okay. that was my week. i looked around, if something happens to them, it's not me. [laughing] i was doing push-ups with bishop tutu. i gave a speech to a group of young african women leaders.
i met nelson mandela who went on a safari. went to botswana. you know, that's like four days, all that kind of stuff would happen in like four days. you go to the next week and i could literally forget everything that just happened the week before we get something like that would be happening in the next week. so to be able to remember it all, to keep it all in your head, i would find myself forgiving, oh, yeah, i went to prague. i literally forgot that i've been to prague. i'm not, i mean, we had this conversation, somebody said what do you think a progress i said i've never been to prague. i chief of staff suggest you after i said no, i've never been to prague. [laughing] ever. she was like yes. we went back and forth and it took a picture of me in prague. [laughing] going you're right.
i forgot all about that. i was there for two days. that's what the pace is. you can get big major things. not because they were not important but they get added at by the next series of issues and demands. side of the what the question was, how we got on this. [laughing] >> when you think about all of that and then you have the two little ones -- >> say that they can. >> the two little ones. so they might have -- >> i never forgot about them. [laughing] >> so that balance, so when people are thinking about balance and how you do it, any advice for how people can try to -- >> there's a lot of advice for balance. my balance is crazy. because you're the first lady, but you're also trying to go to the potluck and the soccer game and, you know, i tell a story about barack went to
parent-teacher conference. he's got a big motorcade. it's a big. [laughing] a lot of stuff and men with guns, machine guns, sniper gear. they follow him everywhere. they are in trucks and laying out looking at you like i will kill you. because that's their job. but when they are at sidwell for the grade on the roof, of the elementary school, even malia was like that, come on. everybody was sort of okay when dad didn't go. [laughing] sort of politely going you have to come to the fall winter concert. [laughing] it's okay. >> we will take a picture. >> you can take a pass. but i would be there, and mom would be there. you're trying to be a normal parent in the midst of it when your kid is invited over for a
sleepover and you have to explain to them, we'll need your social security number and it will be dogs sweeping your house and they'll ask you if you have guns and drugs and you have to tell them sorry, julius mom because of what means to have sasha over, but it's going to be fine. [laughing] >> go have fun. >> my kids have fun. gaillard had to work past all of that. but you are balancing, at least i was bouncing nudges the act of being a mother but being the first lady of the first daughters who had their own detail all of the time. so imagine trying to go to prom with eight men with guns. [laughing] and doing anything else that you're trying to do as a teenager with eight men with guns. barack and i were very happy about it. [laughing] [applause]
>> you even had to learn like discipline them without letting them think that the agents told on them, right? all parents can you understand this. i had to live a little bit about where i got my information from, like how did in the no parent was at the party? julius mom called me and told me. [laughing] not because i got a full report in detail. it's like what are they so dumb not to know that -- [laughing] how do you think i knew? those are some of our parenting scenarios. my goal is apparent was to try to make sure my kids had normalcy. that's a different set of challenges for the average parent, but here's the thing that i learned. one of the things i learned living in the white house is about kids don't need that much,
you know? if they know you love them unconditionally come you can live in the white house. you can live in, you know, you can live in a little bitty apartment i grew up in. home is what you make of it inside. it's that interaction you have every day. [applause] it doesn't have to be perfect. it can be broken in funny and odd in many ways. our oddness was level of dysfunction that most families will never experience, but it was odd. kids are resilient. they make it through, which is what i think about all the kids that don't make it through. because it takes a lot to break a kid, you know. it takes a lot but there's so many broken kids which reminds us how bad we are doing. because you got to do really messed up stuff the kids to send them off. they have to come from a roque
in this that is so deep and off. and we have to see that in our children and understand that when kids act out there's a reason for it. there's no such thing as bad kids here kids are not born bad, you know? [applause] they are not. they are products of their situation. i learned to give myself a break because my kids are loved and the going to be fine. we messed up a lot. we make a lot of wrong calls as parents, but we hold them to high standards as people. we don't measure them by things and grades. we measure them for how to interact in the world, how do they treat their friends, how do they treat each other, things like kindness and compassion and empathy. those are the things that we have try to teach them over the years. [applause] and here's the thing.
kids watch what you do, not what you say. so the biggest thing that barack and i could ever do to be good parents to our kids is to be good people in the world for them to see every day. [applause] and that is true whether you are the president and the first lady or you are marian and fraser robinson, those standards, they don't know title, they don't know income. that's just all that kids need. as you like rain snow, work in the community and you see these kids coming to your doors and e a such promise and they just want somebody to love them, , yu know? they just want somebody to tell them that they are okay. that's one of the things i've tried to do as first lady with kids, so much with kids because i always thought this is the interaction they could change the kids life here this one hug,
this one, you are worth it. [applause] you never know what can make a difference. >> right. [applause] all of this, you're giving to communities, you're giving two children, you're giving. but you also, i've heard you say it, that sometimes you have to put yourself first or not feel guilty about taking care of yourself. how do you do that? >> oh, yes, ladies. and men, too, but let's talk to the ladies a little bit on this one. because we do that, right? we put ourselves forth on our priority list after everybody else and then we are sort of, and sometimes we're not even on her own list at all. it is so filled with so many obligations and the guilt that we have.
this is nothing new but that oxygen mask metaphor is real. you can't say some of if you were dying inside, and that death can look like so many different things. it can be, you know, our sense of self worth, arm mental well-being, physical health or all of that, if with ethical and go and we don't nurture it as women, we are not good to anybody else. that is something that you have to practice and that's what i hd to learn. i to learn children that. i didn't even sit in my mother. my mother was one of those who didn't do anything for herself. my mother died her own hair until she turned to green and is like mom, it's green, it's not working. you don't know what you doing. you are doing. just go to the hairdresser, and she's like, it's fine, it's just green. >> i can relate to that. >> just green. i remember that.
i grew up with women who didn't put themselves first. i thought i want to show my girl something else. i want them to see that being a good woman out her in the world means that you're smart, educated. yes, your gentle and kind and loving but you can do some push-ups. you're going to think about what you put in your body, what you eat. you're going to take time out for yourself, invest in your relationships with your friends. i have women who keep me sane. >> that's what it wanted to know about. >> and the posse started early in my life. i always had a crew of women, a crew of girls. i had my lunchtime girls we went
over to each other soused at lunchtime in grade school and played jacks and complain about the teacher and just analyze things can watched all my children. and we got ourselves together and we are fortified and we could go back in and finish the day. that was my only group. when my kids were young i had a really strong group of women, still do, these women are still major part of my life and i could not have gotten to the early years without them because we are all at varying stages of our professional careers. some of us were married, some were single parents, some had husbands who traveled, , but evy saturday would get together and we started when the babies were in those cradles and we would just set the depth around each other in a a circle so they cod look at each other. [laughing] and then we talked about everything. about are the walking yet? they supposed to be -- all those
questions you have as a new mother and you don't know what the you doing anything right. it was just nice to be run a group of women who just like you, they did know anything either. we were all messing up and it was okay. we became our most important confidants as mothers raising kids. our kids, all of these kids but, together i like cousins. they are out in the world and they all have done well, which was another lesson that i learned. you can parent all different kinds of ways. there's no one right way to do. again, if there's love and consistency and a foundation and security, they are going to be okay. we learn to let ourselves off the hook. then we started doing fun stuff together like we worked out together, the same women i would do a boot camp with at camp david. i want to thank these women who would come because i started everybody healthy, so like once a season of drinking to camp
david and we do like these intensive workouts. i like eliminated white and stuff like that and to a buddy said they were not coming and thus i put wind back on the menu so i had to put wind back on just to not lose my friends. we would work out three times a day, and a little navy cadet kids would be like, go low on your push-ups. you're like, you are just so cute. don't call me ma'am. [laughing] so we were getting healthy together, and we started doing little seminars. one of my friends was in ob/gyn. as a good old would have sessions on menopause and talk about other things that i can't talk about here. [laughing] but that group was, that was my crew throughout the white house years, and that was a part of that self-care that we all felt good about and we all got stronger over these eight years. we as women, this group of women, we got physically and mentally stronger together in
ways that -- i love my husband, you know? he is my best friend, but they are more fun sometimes. [laughing] don't tell him. [laughing] he doesn't know that i have more fun with them sometimes. but they gave me the kind of, the kind of fortification i needed. and i encourage young mothers to understand that you are, we were not meant to parent in isolation. so many young parents because of -- [applause] circumstances, maybe there were transferred, anyway from their homes. i saw this in military families, the young military mom would move away from her family. she would have kids, should be alone and wondering why is this so hard? and i would say because you are not supposed to do this alone. children were not meant to be raised in isolation. we need community. that it does take a village. i encourage young women to build
their village. if it's not at home with your mom or at an cousins, wherever you are, build a village because that will be your salvation. it keeps you sane and it keeps you and balance in a way that a think we don't appreciate. >> and what about fun? >> von? >> yes. >> i just told you a bunch of fun we had. >> the push-ups. >> the push-ups are fun, carla. you should -- >> okay. [laughing] >> so you would enjoy working out with me? >> i keep score. >> that's what you tell, carla doesn't work out because she thinks there are scores to be kept during a workout. one push-up for me and one for you. [laughing] we had fun. we make sure we had fun. we wanted the white house to be place of fun. particularly in tough times.
we went through some tough times, prices, shootings. i mean, the amount of grief that we, that we had -- i don't want to say we were not carrying it but we had the country to help get through. you can have all crisis. the country needs a moment if you like they can celebrate and some way, shape, or form even in the darkest time. so we had halloween at the white house, and kids came and mostly military kids and their families, it would come around the south lawn and it was all decorated in the house was orange and everybody was in costume and again to trick or treat at the white house. any major state event that we did, whether it was a state dinner or a rival, we found a way to incorporate kids in that. so we had a big act performing in the evenings, usually they
would agree to do a separate performance or a talk for a workshop with young kids from, and we apply them in from all over the country so that would be kids getting different experiences. so kids sat down and talked. every major star they came to the white house. we did, , have the whole cast of hamilton come back and perform. [applause] and it was a very full circle moment for me because we first met when men well the very first cultural event that we did at the white house was the spoken word to them because spoken word wrap for those of you who don't know, poetry, you know, sort of cool poetry had never been done in the white house in the east room with george and martha standing there. so we're going to do that in the first event. so we were finding some of the hottest young voices and we did a rope light and this young kid,
lin manuel, came up and brought and i can what you going to perform, young man? he to do a rap about alexander hamilton. we were like -- [laughing] you unit, that's when you rememr you with the president and first lady, you cannot laugh in the face of your guest and go what? are you getting? laughing that he went on to perform the first number that, that was the first number he had prepared, and he was obviously amazing. so afterwards we were like that's really good. he said yes, i'm going to do hold broadway show on it. we were like, -- [laughing] good luck with that, kid. [laughing] and then it blew up. we invited the whole cast back in the perform, first they did a whole day of workshop for kids of all of the country so they were doing lyric writing and you
name it, they were in the red room writing and wrapping in the blue room and they were dancing in the yellow oval and you name it, they were every where. then they did the performance in the east room with all these kids would never gotten to see the broadway performance but they all knew the words. so we had fun. had lots of fun, and all our fun always involve the kids pick because kids are good. they just make everything better. [applause] we wanted to make sure that kids felt like this white house belong to them. you know, that they felt like when you walk into a, and kids of all backgrounds felt this was a place the kids were supposed to be. not like peering over the front gates but there was supposed to walk in those doors and experience everything that was going on in there. and that was i think of all the things that we did, the work were able to do with young people, the most fulfilling and hopefully the most impact the work that we did in those eight
years. >> and it felt like oh, yeah, i'm wrapping in the blue room. >> wrapping in the blue room. we did a whole design workshop were kids were draping with designers and/or manikins up in the -- so we did a whole workshop. with some of the top designers comp sort of a way to give and oman to all the american designers who would work with me but not to do it, make it about me. it had to be about kids so they all came for dave working with all these young designers around the world and they were making jewelry in different rooms. they came together for a panel and the got to meet diane and all these big names came and they spent the day with these kids are it was about them but it was also about fashion. those are the ways i try to think about linking the stuff that people wrote about to something that was important. it's like okay, you like my shoes but let's teach kids how
to be designers, what this craft means in america. [applause] that it's not just about how you look or what you do, at all of that was fun. >> and the kids left feeling like hey, i've been to the white house. >> they felt like they were something special. i'm in the white house doing this. we had a mentor program that we never really publicize what i i worked every year with a group of 20 girls from the area. because mentoring as i've been a big part of my life, and barack as well. so we had some young men that would come and they would come once a month. they were usually kids from the d.c. area. not the top kids but not the kids struck but sort of the kids that are just in the middle with it probably isn't a lot of programming for them, and they would be paired up with a high-powered woman in the administration, valerie jarrett was a mentor. chris comerford was a first in the executive chef at the white
house who laura bush appointee, she was a mentor. they would meet with these kids all the time but they would come together once a month in the white house. it was interesting to see their transformation when the first start, they were shy, they could look me in the eye. they were just nervous because it was nerve-racking. you're in the white house, your meeting michelle obama and why would you pick and you are wondering. we would spend time talking and eating popcorn and we'll talk with everything, and by the time to complete are usually two years with us, by their graduation ceremony when the parents would, they felt, it was just a shift in who they thought they were. ..
and you are worth being talked to, being listened to and after a while they owned the place. they didn't even notice me. oh yeah mom, that's michelle obama, where old friends now. let me show you the blue room. my belief to them was if you can walk into the white house and look me in the eye and introduce yourself, there'sno room you cannot go in . there's no room you can't go into after that. >> right before we started there was a highschooler and she's here, her first time with librarians, i helped to recruiter here . >> hi, honey. >> fortunately she will still be a librarian but any advice you might give a highschooler if she says i don't know about college or what i want to do. >> how old are you?
>> 17. >> you're going to go to college, right? that's the first advice. go to college because you need a college education in this day and age if you want to be competitive but here's the thing, there's so many different ways to get an education. we live in the united states of america and we have wonderful community colleges, four-year colleges, there's so manyways to do it. there's no one right way to do it. you don't have to go to some four-year school and live in a dorm . it's an excellent experience if you can do it but you have to get an education beyond high schoolthat's a must. a high school diploma is not enoughanymore and we want you to be the best you can be and take care of your family and wear nice shoes and to be all fly and have power and all that good stuff .
having an education is the key to that . that's my advice in a nutshell. [applause] >> we don't have much time left but i have to ask about thebook . >> i've been talking about the book. >> because it's coming out in november. >> you guys ready? >> we want to be able to book talk, you've got to give us a few things so we can both talk it. >> i like giving you a few tidbits but if i were to describe the book, it's a re-humanization effort, because for me, a black woman from a working-class background, to have the opportunity to tell her story is interestingly rare. i think that's why some people ask the question, how did you become, how did you
go from here tothere? it's like people think i'm a unicorn . like i don't exist. like people like me don't exist and i know there's so many people in this country in this world who feel like they don't exist because their stories are told or they think their stories aren't worthy of being told. in this country we've gotten to the point where wethink there's only a handful of legitimate stories that make you a true american . so if you don't fall intothat narrow sort of line , it's like you don't belong. but we all belong and i think my book is just, it's the ordinariness of a very extraordinary story. and i hope that by telling it , that it makes others, not
just black women, not just black people but otherwomen, other people who feel faceless and invisible and voiceless to feel pride in their story in the way i feel about mine . the ordinariness of growing up as a working-class kidwith two parents who had values, they didn't have a lot of money . i would grow up with music and art and love and that was just about it and we were encouraged to get an education. i am not a unicorn. there are millions of kids like me out there and it's just a shame that sometimes people will see me and they will only see my color and then they'll make certain judgments about that. and that's dangerous for us to dehumanize each other in that way. we are all just people, you know. with stories to tell and we're flawed and broken and there's no miracle in our stories, it's just we're
living life trying to do good and that's who this little girl in the coming is. she's becoming a lot of things in life but the journey continues and i hope that it starts a conversation about voice and it encourages so many other people because we need to know everyone's stories that we don't forget that humanity in each other, because what we've learned, barack and i over the course of this eight years and traveling over the country is that americans are goodpeople . decent people. really, even if we don't agree on politics. and we have to remember that about ourselves and understand that's true not just here in america but around the world . there are no demos out there. there are no people out there, there are people who do bad things but all of us, they're really just trying to figure it out and if we've
done something horrible, it's usually because we were broken in some way and if we understand each other's tories and share those worries, maybe we can be more empathetic, maybe more inclusive, maybe we can be more forgiving. and be more open. so i hope that's the book encourages some conversation around those kind of things. and then you're about china and my shoes. a couple of one like stories, always sunny, make an appearance so not to worry. they're there. they're still alive and doing well by theway area thank you. >> . >> i just talk and i have to tell you, we're glad you are michelle obama. >> thank you. >> and they are too. thank you all. you for everything you all do. people in the community, we need you. [applause]
>>. [applause] >> that was michelle obama and doctor carl hayden, the library of congress talking at the american library association's annual conference in new orleans in june. michelle obama is currently on book tour for becoming, her memoir will was the best-selling book of 2018. we're going to show you several of her appearances, we will only allow the tape about 10 minutes her appearance.
here she is on the book kickoff in chicago at the united center with oprah winfrey. >>. >> she made us always feel like the white house was really our house, the people's house. she is your hometown girl from the south side of chicago, michelle obama. >> okay everybody. >> thank you united center. see. we're home. feels good. i've got to say, every time i fly into the city across the
city was the cityof so many blessings today, i get a little lump . so when you're flying in now, coming home, after all the places that have nurtured you, what does that feel like? >> first, i tried to trace every inch, when we are flying in i tried to pointout all the neighborhoods. that's midway. i see my high school, my mom's house . i still call it the sears tower. i don't know what the name is now. i tried to trace the outline of my city. and find all the neighborhoods. that's what i'm doing, i do that every time you i'm looking and there's a lake and you i see the planetarium, there's my school, i can see everything. so yes, i'm tracing my life over that city. and it always feels good. it really does. >> i was coming in because as
i said, i haven't been here since the oprahshow ended , and then i camein . >> oprah was doing it from the cold. >> she's like, goodbye you all. >> but coming in and all the banners around the stadium for the coming, people lined up to come in. i was thinking about your parents, your father in particular. no one could ever have imagined from southeastern avenue. in 1 million years, no. >> i missed all that because i still come in the back way to the freight elevator. by the garbage. >> you got to see it. >> that has been my life. >> you got to see it on the way out. >> can we go out the front door?just so i can see my sign? they're like ma'am, i'm sorry. yet in the car.
i had to say that from the first page of this book until the last, you did it. brought it, you open yourself up. you allowed us to see in and let us experience the fullness of you in a way that i don't think anybody has ever donebefore, particularly with ben in the white house . and it's why i chose it as oprah's book club. >> thank you, by the way. >> you didn't need it but okay. everybody's going to buy the book anyway . i'll just stand. thank you. x this is the truth though, anytime you're looking at life from the outside in, it always looks like life is better over there. out there. up there. and you and your father used to do with the family what my father used to do, drive around. at aspirational ride.
particularly on sunday. other rich people's houses. white people. yes. and the truth is, it doesn't yet any bigger than the white house. but what you allowed us to see is that it isn't always as it seems and that the white house is really a paradox. i'd like you to paint the picture of life inside. >> the white house? wow. i describe it as living in the fanciest hotel and you have your elevator that keeps you up to your room and there's a lobby where all the action is going on. and that's the central floor. what you see on tv about the white house, the state floor, that's not a private residence, that's where all the official steps goes on with the redroom and the blue room and green room and all
the rooms . the east room, that's the ceremonial floor. but then the next floor, there's two more floors that are the residents. and those floors are private to the families who live there. and once you get in that elevator, and you come up to that floor and those elevators open and there's usually an older black gentleman in a tuxedo, who is work at the white house for decades, often through seven years. >> a drink of refreshment? >> now, just with a lovely smile. although you could have them do that to. i never thought of that. x at anytime of the day and night, can you say i'd like some refreshment? >> you can but then you realize i write about this that you pay for it. so they tell you you can
order anything and they listen very carefully because everybody listens to every word the president says and i used the tell barack, don't say you want something because then we will have like thousands of it. you know? and then we're paying for it. it was a shock. he said he liked some rare fish, he just happened to say this is delicious. and then we get the bill at the end of the month and it's like you flew that fishing from china? that fish wasn't that good. >> that's why, don't say you like that fish. >> everybody just getting the book today, i can see the surprise on people's faces when you hear her say that i had to pay for it. >> a lot of people think, this also was an interesting thing but people would say taxpayers are paying for that and the truth is yes, but you don't pay rent . and you don't pay for staff every thing, every dish, every, they would count the number of peanuts that you keep from charging back.
so you get a bill at the end of it. not a he lives in the white house you all. this is not a complaint, it's just something that people don'tunderstand . >> you pay for your own charmin. >> you pay for your guests, the food that you all eat so all of you that came and visited area when you were thinking i'm just going to take some, put it in the first. i was like, we've got the bill. no, but all the official events are paid for. there's a budget for that at all our private meals, all are entertaining whether we had family for thanksgiving, those things were paid for a minor part of the experience. but the house is beautiful. but it is staffed. and there are people there constantly, there are chefs and butlers and the butlers, when we first came in war fall formal talks he does at all times. black men serving people in
full tuxedos been there for presidents after president and we loved the staff, butlers, the whole staff of the white house was amazing. one of the first things we did because we were trying to figure out how do you make this normal for children, because molly and sasha were seven and 10. thank you for that. i won't hear the end of that. i don't even know how old we were. they were young. and we were figuring out how do we keep them grounded? the first thing we thought is we're having pancakes in the morning, it's just crazy to have a man with a tuxedo come in. when you've got little girls at a sleepover and you're bringing in water so we canceled the tuxedos. take those tuxedos off, where some polo shirts and slacks unless we did something formal.
we just loosened it up a bit. but other than that, the white house does feel like a home. i always say that house is a house. and what you bring to the home is what makes it a home. and how we live in the home was what i remember most. people ask you i miss the white house and it's like, i don't miss the house because we took what was important in the house with us and it is with us. it's family, it's values, it's thefriendship . so the house is beautiful and its historic and when it was an honor to livethere . but the people in it make it what it is. >> you're watching the tv on cspan2, television for serious readers. we're in the midst of showing you portions of michelle obama's book tour across the country. she sold out capital one arena in washington dc twice and we want to show you those
appearances now. >> dc on a sunday. >> hey honey. >> here we are, this is so exciting. we're in the town and has become your town, where with all these american amazing people in the bank i is so extraordinary as we keep coming in is we're here to talk about abook . isn't that something? all these people are your, nobody's working. there's no torquing. we are reading.that's right, exactly. we are all reading. >> and so no costumes, no nothing. no costume changes, sorry you all what we've been talking about this and i've been speaking so much that the extraordinary presidency
comes to an end. you are going to talk about transitions and swerves in life but you're trying to make another transition and what you decide you want to do is write this book . why did you do that? >> first of all, it was sort ofan assignment . because every first lady is supposed to write a book and i think they've done it for quite some time. so itwas one of those okay, i'm supposed to now write aboutthis . and that's one thing.the other thing , as i told some young girls that i talked about, i thought about this book and thought how many times does a black woman get to tell her. he herself in a way that's going to be read intentionally by millions of people. >> so i thought to myself, let me take this seriously. i want to make sure this isn't just a chronology of things that happened in the white house. because what i've learned over the years, what i've
learned from my parents is that to understand one's life, you have to understand the context of it. so for people to understand what i got from the eight years in the white house is not, they have to know all of my stories. and have to understand the neighborhood that i grow up in, the family that built me, the values we were raised on, the challenges i faced and i wanted to be very readable, i wanted it to feel like a story that people of all backgrounds and young folks of all ages good sort of follow this journey of this little girl, michelle robinson who had very much an ordinary life but it took many extraordinary terms and as my brother said on the cliff , i wanted my story to be an example to many that we all deserve and are worthy of an amazing extraordinarylife . and the stories that we all have in us area those small
memories are really what make us who weare. it's not years in the white house , that defined me, that just happened to be part of my journey area and so much more of who i am comes in the first three sections of this book and i wanted the people to understand that. and so what you've given us is a story of this ordinary extraordinary girl in a way that all of us i think can read into the ordinariness of living near your cousins, having dinner at a certain time, having a relative was a little bit cranky. but we still part of the fold area and all these particulars are something i think you give people an american coming-of-age story and the fact that that is a black woman coming-of-age story for everyone to identify with i think is an extraordinary feat and as you know, i think you've written the work of american literature or whichi think you . >> that means a lot coming from my friend who is a literary amazingness person
in her own right. >> but it is the truth, it's the truth so the story begins with my little invisible attend best friend michelle robinson, i wish we'd known each other when we are five years old . it would have been wonderful because you are my favorite little girl area this little girl is very determined. she's single-minded, she's pierced, she has a rich interior life area she lives in a close knit family. and you live on in an iconic place, thesouthside of chicago . outside. that's right, one of america's great metropolises. we are biased on the southside of chicago when i think back on my life and the community i was raised in, the truth is when you read about my community, it feels like so manycommunities in this country .it was a working class neighborhood.
some people own their homes, people didn't. it was racially diverse when we first moved in. as you can see from my garden classroom pictures, there were people with all kinds of last names, densities and robinsons, we were all sharing this ace together and living in a very violent community and i was in and out of the homes of all these kids . we grow up in a time where if you got into trouble, you can count on the neighbor lady calling up your mother for stopping by and telling on you. >> and you couldn't talk back to the neighbor lady. you have to listen to what other adults, you have to respect what other adults in your life had to say about you. we can get a name in on that. but it wasn't just the people, it was the sights and sounds. we had a park down the street
that had a men's softball league that played at night in the summer and i remember falling asleep on the screen import as we didn't have air-conditioning and wedidn't have air-conditioning , you slept on the porch . had many great night on the porch falling asleep to the sounds of people cheering on their teams. we had the liquor store on the corner. so red and penny candy that's where your mother sent you to get newport cigarettes . >> and a gallon of. and you could get a weeks worth of candy with a quarter. >> and i remember getting annihilated. only recently, not so recently that i realized they were now or later. but we didn't say it like that. it's a now or later candy. the flavor was bread. the flavors were read.
and i think like a lot of people, the working-class families,we lived in a community of relatives . people didn't live on their own. you lived with an elder and every elder in our family had somebody live with them. we lived with a great in a very small house but she owned the home, she allowed my parents to live there with little red because my parents moved to the neighborhoods that put us in better public schools around the corner with my maternal grandmother who lived with an answer around the corner was my maternal grandfather and they were divorced they never just talk and they lived around the corner from each other area you just learned that they didn't talk area and what we thought was light-years away was my father's family. they live basically like five minutes away but it felt like a big trip and we went over to daddy and grandmas because you had toget in the car to see them . but i grew up with a
community of cousins and cousins of cousins and people who probably work your cousin but they were your cousin. and the story never really got fully explained. but like, how is that an anti-? can i say, they're all your cousins. >> and the music was a big part of my life. i write about my father who was a lover of jazz and if you grow up with a father, of that generation, that's when you played records on the stereo. you have to sit there and listen to them and learn how to put the needle on the record player without scratching it. because you get in trouble if you scratched up your records. and you have to listen to the whole album. you couldn't pick up and put in the middle on the song you like. you'd start at the beginning
and wait until your song came on. and hope that you weren't in the bathroom when it came on . that's my song. can we started over? no, got to wait until we get to the end. >> some of that music you listen to southside, your grandfather was one of the great characters. >> i love all the men in my life and this is something i point out because when people talk about what makes a girl strong and a lot of times you look to the mother and my mother definitely did that. there were strong women in my family but i was surrounded by a lot of men who love me and treated me well and respected me . i didn't know, and i didn't realize until i got older how rare that is for a young woman to grow up loved by the men in her life and that's a sad statement for us as a society, as a world quite frankly but i was one of the
fortunate ones who grew up with both of her grandfathers, men who adored me in southside. i would spend whole saturdays with men. there were folks who managed without a lot of money, without degrees and connections to provide us with a home phone of stability, consistency, love, guidance, values and what they remind me and should remind everybody is it doesn't take a lot of stuffto raise the kids . you don't have to be titled to do the job of good parenting and my parents. my father was a stationary fireman his whole life, work the same job until the day he died and my father was the oldest of five, my mother was the middle child of seven. and my father was the rock for so many, not just us but for his brothers and his
sisters. he was a giver. i say in the book that he believed that time was a gift you give others in the game and he gave and he gave. he was that person everybody would gather around in his recliner. they would come to bring the girlfriends so he could check them out and they'd ask him for adviceand he was a visitor . he visited everybody. often times he'd drag me along with him on a saturday where i'd be sitting on some plastic sofa , the ceiling. some ladies house with a little cup of 7-up. and i would visit and visit, but my dad was a storyteller. and he was courageous. and he also had ms, which was only part of the story and
probably something i didn't realize that he struggled so mightily with as a young person because my father was somebody who wasn't going to complain. he wasn't going to seek professional help for his disease which was a frustration to all of us. he was going to get up and go to work and earn a salary. and we were his world. he invested everything hehad in us . and any other kids that came his way. so i learned to be a storyteller, i learned to be a listener, i learned tobe a giver from watching him and then there was my mom, marian who is, as i described her in the book , she had a zen neutrality in her ability to parent and toss responsibility at an early age. she was the kind of mother, we were seven oreight when she gave us alarmclocks and she was like , you're going to wake ourselves up . because as my mom said, i'm raising adults, not babies. she taught us how to think
for ourselves at an early age and i think the thing i want to share with people that i've shared in the book that i want to about my parents is that they valued our voices on early age. we were not shushed, we were allowed to speak our minds and to askquestions. they encouraged our curiosity . they told us the truth and they told us the context of people's existence so there was the crazy uncle, the funny cousin area eight explained to us that history so we can understand why they landed where they were. i think because of the two of them, we as craig said, my brother said on the video, we were successful because of these two hard-working good valued folks. and i wish my dad could be here to see all of this. >>. >>.
>> before there was michelle, there was craig, your brother what one point you shared a bedroom with. what was he like as a big brother and how did he add to the equation of the family? >> he was my protector. i joke when i was on some show this week because i've been on alot of them, i can't remember which one . it was robin robinson area robin robertson. he is a favorite. and that's okay, he's my mother's favorite. he won't admit it but he knows it, i know it. and i tell her all the time, it's like what do i have to do? i'm the first lady, i live in the white house . i'm taking her to china, i like she's meeting the pope and at thanksgiving it's still, when is craig coming? i'm like, i don't know. i really don't care. but the thing is that i adore
him to i can't be too mad at him and here's the thing i want to tell you about craig. he was, he and my father treated me as an equal. and that's so important. for fathers to understand about girls. having a strong girl isn't about having a strong mother. it's about having men in their life who love them and respect them so that when my father taught my brother to do what anything, whether it was boxing were learning how tothrow a fastball or running bases , i was right there with them. and my brother encouraged it. he wasn'tlike, this is not for girls. we didn't deal with that kind of stuff . so having men in my life who loved me from the start, and then i had a whole community
of men who loved me. i had my grandfathers and uncles, one of whom is here, one of my favorite uncles is here and he knows who he is area i grew up with men who took care of me and looked out for me so my bar was really high by the time i was given out in theworld area . >> so education was also important to your family and early on and about second-grade , something happened that changed your trajectory, tell us about what was going on back in those early days. >> this is a story about, this gives you insight into my mother is as well but we grow up in a neighborhood called south shore on the south side of chicago . yes, the south shore. in the house. we are everywhere. on the south side, we just come everywhere but when we movedinto the neighborhood , it was a mixed neighborhood, mixed race neighborhood and
it was working class to middle class which is one of the reasons we moved there to go to better schools. we live in with my aunt robbie and she was a teacher she was able to own her own home. she was married to my uncle who we called him perry, he was a pullmanporter so they had a stable income and were able to buy a house in south shore so the neighborhood was mixed . that meant the schools were mixed so in kindergarten and first grade, my classrooms, i put a full picture in my book to show you the diverse city that was there. but what was going on in the 70s was what we call white flight and all my white friends that i had and i had plenty of them, they started literally disappearing before my eyes. and i didn't realize until i grew up and learned about segregation and the whole issue of pushing folks fleeing out of communities as black families moved in, was
that the neighborhood was starting to change and so we started to feel as though those effects not just in friends leaving but 80 investments, this investment in the neighborhood and in the school so second-grade comes around and it was the first time i was in a chaotic classroom.where racers were flying and teachers were teaching and i knew this as a second grader. and i would come home with my little lunch, my bologna and i come, came home for lunch back then, looked around the corner. we turn on all mychildren . and we watch the shows. and i have my bologna sandwich and i would complain . i'd be like mom, this class, you will never believe it. he didn't get homework and i was that kind of kid. we are not learning enough in this class area and how will we make it in third grade. i was this kind of worrier. >> what were your friends saying? >> we had girls that came
with us. we travel in packs and we were also complaining. this needs to change and we would just complainand my mom did the mom thing of life , we thought she was just listening and humoring us but little did we know she was up at that school. and she was making some moves and what happened was that a few of us got tested out into the third grade because of my mother and the advocacy of othermothers , but i tell the story because i knew even at that age that i wasn't being invested in. as a second grader and sometimes we like to pretend that kids don't know. when they're being shortchanged and devalued and i'm here to tell you that i knew that second-grade.
so as we look at school inequality andthings are right , kids know when they are not being valued. and it's makes them feel some kind of way. >> and i was lucky to have gotten out of that classroom and into a better classroom that wouldn't have happened if i didn't have a parent at home was also one of my fiercest advocates and understood the difference between whining and real distress . >> that was the former first lady during her book tour appearances in washington dc. but tv covered several of these appearances but we were only allowed totake about 10 minutes of each . we also stopped in philadelphia and here she is in conversation with comedian and author bebe robinson. >> there is so much i want to talk to you about tonight. your book becoming is
literally life-changing, i feel that way, it'sincredible and smart andwonderful and there's a lot of stuff i want to cover and i want to come out of the gate with a topic that's a little controversial , just the way we like it . pie. stick with me. thanksgiving was last week and i remember four years ago when you were being interviewed by robin roberts, she asked you guys this question. let's take a look at how it turned out. >> oyster stuffing. >> favorite pie. >> can we freeze? that's not michelle. >> every woman knows that book when it comes to her man. it's like, what?
there are people saying they didn't like that. saying i can't believe you just said that. did you feel betrayal when he picked pumpkin pie? >> that barack's way, pumpkin pie, in the robinson household, we wouldsay that . i didn't even know that it was pumpkin pie until i left home. i didn't know what that was. the concept of pumpkin in a pie? no, we would say pie. i'd say, you know better than that . >> okay, so all kidding aside let's dive in. i wanted to kick off with another extraordinary achievements in your life that seems to never stop. but your book becoming sold 2 million copies and the first two weeks. >> thank you guys. >>incredible . that's so incredible. >> that you all.
thank you it's almost christmas . a few more weeks, thank you though. it's amazing. >> it's so exciting, made the new york times bestseller list and i'm also a writer and i've made that list and i know in the industry, publishing, and it's so predominantly white to have someone of your stature have this kind of success i think means a lot and sees a lot to the industry to say people want to hear stories from everyone. so how do you feel like the success of your book is going to impact the industry and also, i think inspire authors of color and women of, women as well to want toget into the writing game ? >> i think the success of the book speaks to what i've always known about this country and this country is open to so many people in so
many ways and people are curious about other people's stories.that's what i experienced when i first campaigned for barack in iowa, the notion that the little girl from the south side of chicago who at the time was named michelle obama married to barack hussein obama was going to dive deep into the midwest in iowa going door-to-door in people's homes and they were opening up their homes and welcoming me around their kitchen tables and what connected us was our stories. it was our shared stories of the stuff that i put in this book really wasn't what degree i had, it wasn't what school i went to. it wasn't what career i have, was what wasour food like , what was that kitchen table conversation like, what was the relationship with my relatives, or our neighbors like, the sights and smells. and that's the commonality that we share across this country. it is not race, it is not gender, it's not religion.
it's the stories that make us who we are and the fact that this is resonating with so many people just reinforces what i know is true about this country yes, i think that it is now incumbent upon us to stop being afraid of our stories. and you know there's so many ways to live a life and is up to us to share it with one another and know that we won't be judged or criticized were looked upon oddly. so now we have to take the and know our stories and be ready on the table so yes, hopefully there's room for more. >>. >> acclamation, thank you so much. >> you know, we all know you as in my opinion the best first lady of all time. >> i said. i said it. and we know you as a public figure and a fashion icon as a philanthropist, there's a lot of things that we know
about you but i want to go back to the beginning at this little girl in chicago. and your journey how you became a cocoa policy area. >> you maybe explain that. >> anybody watch game of thrones? okay. >> i told you when you mention that i'm not a game of thrones person. >> i'm busy. >> so michelle, police he is a white woman but you are a cocoa policing.>> the number one cocoa policing. >> is he a powerful woman? >> i'll take it. >>. >> i can't occur here. >> not tonight. >> i don't want to get kicked off the stage. >> your good. >> but i want you to take us back to yougrowing up . your journey, what was your
childhood like in chicago. tell us about your parents. >> i grew up on the south side. i know we've got south siders and the south side of chicago, my neighborhood is like so many neighborhoods. we grew up in the 70s where there was mixed income and bolts had jobs and they took care of their lawns and they planted flowers and kids went to school and listen to adults. so if somebody told you to get off your lawn and they didn't, they would tell your mother and their mother would curse them out, they would be your behind for not listening to miss so-and-so. we rode our bikes. i had one of those banana bikes with the seats. mine was white and purple with the big handlebars and the big deal was not just learning how to ride a two
wheeler but being allowed to ride around the block. we had our corner store where you could get milk and bread. we also called it the liquor store because they sold liquor, but there were people who went there for liquor but most people went there for wonder bread and that's where your mother would send you and you could also get your penny candy. back then i used to get for a quarter you could get a bag of candy including your annihilator's. i don't know if any of you knew anything about annihilator's. it wasn't until i was 30 that i realized they were called now or later's. i just thought it was one word, noworlaters. so you'd sit on a park bench with your friends, there was a men's softball league and i remember going to sleep to the sound of men cheering and playing sports, but we were
poor folks. we lived in a home above a great aunt because that's how we grow up on the south side. everybody lived within a five-mile radius. i had cousins around the corner. everybody lived with an elder so my grandfather lived with an uncle and we were all part of this big unit where you gather in one place and the gathering place in my family was the south side house, for those of you who have read the book, my maternal grandfather who was the heart and soul of the family was a lover of jazz and i would spend saturdays with him because i still wanted a dog. my mother didn't let me have a dog but southside let me have his dog. >> you been watching michelle obama in philadelphia on her book tour for becoming. her memoir has become the best-selling book of 2018.
selling nearly 3 million copies. since its debut in november. he and the president barack obama received $50 million in advance for their memoirs from penguin random house. book tv covered five of her appearances, the next one is from brooklyn . >> you all are fired up in here. >> this is all happening. hey, honey. >> hello darling, your we are. thank you for being here. >> were going to have another conversation. >> we have a lot to talk about. what i wanted to start us off is taking about this moment in your life. here we are, all of these people are in a stadium because of a book. and so i have to start us there because there's so many
ways that you have shared your knowledge, your grace, your power, your inspiration your individual communities cutting with the people who love you up close. and moving out and radiating circles to the whole world. who you are up close and who you are written large and that's an extra ordinary thing to see. and when i think is amazing about whatyou decide to do after the white house years is you decided to write a real book . you decided not to write a book that hit certain first lady marks but rather a book that i want to tell you all if you have not yet read this book , this is an important work of american literature. okay? this is a coming of age story , a girlhood to womanhood story, defining your power story and ultimately a story like so many great works of literature else us know ourselves better. so why did you decide that you wanted to write this kind of book when you did? >> it was the only way i
could write a book. because for those of you who haven't read the book, what you'll see as i started telling the story that the least important part of the book was the eight years that i was first lady. that was just part of a bigger story. and for peopleto understand how i got there , the context was important in my life because i know it's important in everyone's life area the real meat of our lives comes in those little moments that you see in the first action and the second section. the stories of about real life, real stories, not your staff, not where you went to school and how much money you make and what kind of occupation you have but it's sort of what are the sights and smells of your life. who are the people that touched you? what relationships did you have with your father? whatwas your first flight,
what was her neighborhood like , what were those sounds ? that's what makes us who we are. that's what made me who i am you don't understand michelle obama the first lady unless you understand me, little michelle robinson who grow up on the south side in a working-class community and went to public school. who have ups and downs. and you know, here's the thing that i want people to understand, it's like people are really interested in that part of our stories and i wrote this book openly as a way to let people know that we need to tap into the stories that we have. and not only be willing to understand those stories, to understand the journeys that we've all gone on to get us to where we are now. but then we have to have the courage to share them, because that's when you know people. that's when you can tap into their real essence. and i hope by being as
vulnerable about all of my life, highs and lows and the embarrassments, challenges, the struggles that people would understand that just opens you up to who i am. so there's no need to hide that stuff or any of us. that's what connects us. so my hope is that this book will inspire everyone to tap into their own journeys of becoming. and share those stories with one another. and i think starting as youdo on the south side of chicago . with, you say it. you say southside but we're actually in new york we can only say it a few times and i'll start thinking about the whole new york thing to area. >> my just happened to be the south side and that little girl who i love so much acclaim as the childhood best friend in my mind.
little michelle robinson was an amazing little girl area and as you describe it, and ordinary extraordinary little girl like so many of us. and there's so many things about your life that are within five watts of cousins and extended family, having those family members who are sometimes coming with their feelings or their anger for their outside this but still there part of the fabric of the family. and listening as you write so beautifully to the sounds of striving. listening to that all around you area talk about that and about that world. >> my neighborhood was like most neighborhoods. not just in cities but in rural communities . we grew up with family. and everyone lived with an older.i lived with my great aunt, i had another answer lived with a grandmother, another couple answer and uncles lived with my grandfather in southside and we lived in the same community and we grew up in a time when you respected your
elders, even in the neighborhood. when you were playing around and if you read over somebody's grass or did something wrong, the neighbor lady was going to tell your mother . and your mother wasn't going to cost her out for telling you, she was going to come home and beat your behind because you're supposed to listen to the neighbor lady. and it was a community. it was, my neighborhood south shore was a vibrant, diverse community. a working-class neighborhood where peopleowned their homes . it was diverse until second grade. right before white flight set in. that's when white folks don't come to live with us in our neighborhoods and these people i live with, they fled so you can see that in my class pictures, in my early
grade in kindergarten you see there are kids of all backgrounds playing together and we were at each other's homes and little did i know people were whispering in their ear saying get out because this is turning into a ghetto. you've got to run and by the time i was in eighth grade, you see in this picture the neighborhood wasall black . and that sort of sociological phenomenon has gone on in communities all around the country and i stopped here because i just wanted to understand that inthe time , people were afraid of us. let's just hold that thought because we're sort of born through that right now where we are telling ourselves or being told that we need to be afraid of people who don't look like us, who don't speak the same language or because somehow we are to be feared.
there were white folks who were afraid of michelle and craig and marion and fraser insouthside . and i want us to hold onto that because that still goes on. at notion that people look at the color of your skin and they make assumptions about who you are. they didn't know our values, they didn't know we were kids striving to be good and our father was hard-working, they didn't care. they were running from our race and we still do that. so i grew up in what was a vibrant community but as it startedto become more black , we could see the deterioration and you could feel it. you could feel it in the school system as people were taking money out of the schools. you could see it in the attitudes of the schoolteachers towards us. i could see it as a young child. i was that kid who would come home, i came home second grade all disgusted with the
fact that we weren't learning insecond grade. i would come home and like mom, we didn't get homework again last night. i don't know how we're going to be prepared for third grade . it's outrageous. i was that kid. and your mother, wonderfully always said iwasn't raising children, i was raising adults . she taught us to express ourselves and to speak our minds but to do it politely. but at the same time, he was a mother who fortunately because my father worked so hard, allowed my mother to stay home from work so she was one of those handful of mothers in the schools looking out not just for her own kids but for all the kids who didn't have parents who could be at home and she went up to that school and because she heard my cry and my complaints seriously. i say this to say that parents can be advocates in some very powerful waysearly on for kids when they are young . >> that wraps up the tv's
coverage of michelle obama's tour for her memoir becoming. if you missed any of the segments we've shown you today, or would like to see them again, go to booktv.org. >> c-span launched book tv 20 years ago on cspan2 and since then we've discovered 15,000 authors pending 54,000 hours of programming. 2011 on our interboro interview program to, ruben cartertalked about his wrongful incarceration . >> i'm not the person who you can say i can't do this. i tell people in prison, use this time. this time has been imposed upon you.