tv Michelle Obamas Book Tour for Becoming CSPAN December 16, 2018 10:01pm-12:02am EST
for her new memoir becoming. it sold nearly 3 million copies since it gave you a november making it the best-selling book of 2018. we are going to start the segment in june at the american library association's annual meeting in new orleans. she talked about her life there but the librarian of congress doctor carla hayden. and now the person you all came to see. [applause]
michelle robinson obama. [applause] [cheering] she is an author and the wife of th44thpresident of the united s, barack obama. [applause] [cheering] she's become a role model for women and girls and advocate for healthy families of servicemembers and their families, higher education and international adolescents girls education.
a division of penguin random house and it will be released in 24 languages consider one of the most popular first ladies. [applause] [cheering] mrs. obama invite the readers into her world chronicling the experiences that have shaped her from her childhood on the south side of chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work warm, wise and regulatory becoming is the deeply personal recognition of a woman of soul and substance has defied expectations and whose story
inspired us to do the same. we are fortunate to have the librarian of congress carla hayden nominated to the position of library and congress by president barack obama in february, 2016 and her nomination was confirmed by the senate in july, 2016. she was sworn in as the 14th library of congress in september of 2016 librarian of congress carla hayden and first lady mrs. obama. and the experience has impacted her life, her family and her country.
days. i've known her since i was a baby, a baby professional. >> the library was a part of your portfolio and it made such a difference. [applause] [cheering] she was just making a point because i was coming in from academic teaching. it's been a big part of your family reading. >> yes, we are readers and we
started reading to the girls when they were babies as a little kid i loved to read aloud. i was one of those kids that would set up stuffed animals and the barbies and read to them and show them the pictures and go back. they would become like mighty real babies. i know every word of every dr. seuss anything still by heart. we incorporate the books as a form of family activity so as they got older we started reading more complex books together so he read all of the harry potter books aloud from
front to cover, front to the back and then she could see the movie after they read this without was the ritual. you want the father to have the things they do. i read life of pi and then we saw the movie. we love calvin and hobbes. we put our kids to sleep at night and i felt that the music reading culture was an important part of their development from very early on. we are big eaters.
>> one of the images i know when you were in the white house and there was the holiday times you would be going and they would be going to the bookstore. there's things he wasn't comfortable doing out of the white house that it was an annual ritual to go to one of the bookstores for the holidays and in chicago you know that was our neighborhood store that we like to go to. so yes, bookstores and libraries of course were a big part of our life very early on. i remember my first experience going to the library, i was before and it was like the first
official time i got an ied. you felt like a big-time person getting something with your name on it and i run an her going to the library in our neighborhood that was three blocks from our house and my mom who was a housewife at the time that's where she would take us and the was my first major thing i could do is get my library card and stand watching them put me into the official file. i didn't have a wallet or purse, but i felt really special just to have that and we would go to the library was a community space as you know it's a major part of any community and that is the place for our family to go.
whether it was maroon or blue that is where the serious books were upstairs. but then the library became work. research papers, the dewey decimal system's, it became -- [inaudible] >> so you continued and went to school and graduate school and then your wife got even busier. how did you find time to read just for pleasure and you know we all want to know do we get a chance to read anything for just pleasure? >> there were moments of escape.
today however spending most of my time selfishly focused on my book. that's what i'm reading that i t it's almost ready. it's coming. this year has been a little tougher because i am trying to stay in my place but when i have time i have one of my hp stuff staff who die by the way is more excited to be here than she was to meet bruce springsteen. she is my book recommender and i may lose her in this convention center tonight. she's been with me since the beginning of the campaign. i usually read what melissa tells me i should read so she will pass on and throw some books in my bag or on a long trip. they have a very eclectic sort
of reading list. i've read commonwealth and i love a good story that takes me outside of myself. i actually accidentally reread that maybe two years ago it was on my shelf and i thought have i read thiaread of this and i stad reading and i thought i must have esp or something because i know what's going to happen on the next page. this is what happens in these past decades i would forget what i've read and they realized by the third chapter i've read it already. they are just finished reading exit west.
i love stories. i love to skate for a moment. i needed that escape over the past ten years i needed to get out of my own story and back into somebody else's for a moment. i couldn't read in the white house at the time time there wat too much going on. when i got the chance to sit down and pick up a book i would get a sentence and fall asleep. i don't know if i was napping or passed out what he couldn't tell the difference i would wake up and it would be in our. that's how it felt.
so usually on a longer trip i could get into a book but it was a hectic eight years. >> so that i >> so that it applies to physical. >> i'm not an e3 her. i like to have a book in my ha hand. i feel like i have to write down my thoughts. i can jot things down on the phone, but that's hard. i have to feel it and still be able to touch it. we still have a lot of books. my husband as you know is an avid reader and still loves books around everywhere we've gone it is just boxes and boxes of books i can't get rid of he
will not allow me to do it so we are still a household we have books on shelves. >> i understand you actually worked in a library bindery. >> when the summer bobs bookbinder eia data, it was the summer right before i went to college i had a friend's mother that worked there and it was my first real job and before then i did the neighborhood job, babysitting and they had a family next to us they would pay me to do anything, babysit, train their dog, do the piano but then i graduated to a job downtown. a friend's mother worked there and my job entailed doing one
thing a thousand times all day over and over again so i got to put the little metal thing in a hole and pass the cardboard over to the guy that would slam it down. i was good at doing that for the first day. [laughter] i was aiming at finishing it i thought there would be an end and i would prove that i was so fast i could complete it and i would be done and i realized it's never over it just kept coming the little pieces of cardboard that went on for weeks and weeks doing the same thing. but it taught me great respect for the men and women who do that work every day, the
thankless worthatthankless workt possible to have books and folders. i learned a work ethic. but dozens of people who came there and did the same job every day for years and years. it reminded me of my 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 we love, they thought about getting the foo things tht put food on the tables that was my first experience with men and women making a living for their families. >> you mentioned your father so many times about his work ethic and what it meant for him to go to work and provide things.
>> my father, every value that i have in me came from my mother and father in watching them day-to-day. as most people know my father was a blue-collar worker who worked the same job in his entire life of the water filtration plant and my father had ms and contract did it at the time of his life so i never knew him to be able to walk without the assistance of a cane that he got up every day some days he was on days, some days he was on evenings. his schedule changed and i remember him putting on his white t-shirt and blue button up uniform into getting his crutches and making his way out the backdoor t back door to go b without complaints and regret because he was proud that he had a job that allowed him to invest in his children, me and my
brother with his blue-collar salary he put two of us through college, princeton at that and made sure that -- [applause] it was long before there was financial assistance that put you through. we were still paying, my parents have to pay had to pay a portioe tuition and he made sure that it was paid on time. we were never going to be late and not registering for our classes. so who i am today is so much because of the appearance 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 and honesty. i saw my father behave in that way every single day with everyone regardless of race.
that's why think abou what i thi write my book and how i carry myself in the world. i do what i think maryann frazier would expect me to do. i hope to be that person for them. [applause] my mom is out here. >> hey mom. [laughter] >> whenever anything happens, she says mrs. robinson, your mom was right there with you. >> we couldn't have made it through the white house without her. just having her, she had been helping me long before coming to the white house because barack
was always a state senator in the u.s. senate and those were jobs that had him away from home most of the week and i still have a full-time job. at any point in time i was a professional but a big child of my own and we have two little kids and we could afford health and we had a couple of great babysitters at the time i lost that one great babysitter and it crushed me like nothing else when she said she had to leave because she needed to make more money i thought i was losing an arm. barack was trying to console me. i was like i need gold i don't need you. [laughter] i remember that pain and like how can i go to work everyday
and not know that my kids are good, but they are with somebody that loves them such as not to get on a soapbox which is why affordable child care is so important because having access to that kind of security for all the families out there who don't have a choice they have to go to work i know that pain where they are in a place where somebody loves them and is going to instill values in them and kick them to the library and not just plop them in front of the tv. so i was about to quit working and i thought i just can't do it. i can't keep up the balance and who stepped in both my mom who was the 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, wake them up, fix breakfast, i would come back
and grabbed them, take them to school, she would go to work, come pick them up and get them home and start dinner and by that time i would get home. we had a routine down an and there's something about having your mom in that place. where you know she will kill someone for her grandchildren so she was the grandmother at the pickup line. [laughter] she was going to be the first one at the pickup line because she didn't want her grandbabies walking around wondering where their ride was so she would get there an hour before they got to be the first car. you can't pay for that. so we've got that energy with us to the white house, and we needed it, that kind of no-nonsense style tell it like it is, unimpressed with everything kind of personality that is marian robinson.
she didn't want anybody doing her laundry at the white house, she could do her laundry just fine. she was notoriously doing -- we had housekeepers and butler's and everything at the white house and she's like don't touch my underwear, i thought it. too old for that. [laughter] >> and she taught the girls to do their laundry so they had laundry duty with grandpa. [laughter] >> she kept the whole white house grounded. everybody used to go to her room and they would just be in there chit chatting, shooting the breeze, telling their stories. she just had a whole little counseling session in her sweet but she kept us humble and focused on what was important
and she was my sounding board anytime anything crazy happened over the course of the day the first thing i would do the suite of rooms are o on the third flor above us. she would have on msnbc or something trying not to talk about what was on the news and so i let her know i was ready to talk about it and she would do if she always did. [laughter] my mother wasn't going to solve your problems for you. she was going to listen and say what do you think about that and by the time you leave you would think you are right. so much of my inability to get out there again and again had to go with data -- had to do with going to that little counseling room like you will be fine just go back down there. [laughter]
did she ever tell you you know you've talked about that a lot what are you going to do? >> my mother -- and i write about this how my parents had an advanced sense of parenting and 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 and when you teach kids at an early age they have a voice worth listening to, number one, and their opinion matter and that is what they get day in and day out, to adults listening and asking questions and encouraging kids to contribute so that when you came home from school with a problem
you could. but you have to go back and sold it. so at 40 or 50-years-old she wasn't assuming she needed to solve any problems i have, her expectations were you will do this and you will do this well because you know how to sew there was never any need for her to even pretend like she had to give me directions. she knew that she had instilled those in me when i was four and five and seven. >> what a blessing and you mention also you almost thought about quitting because you did have, and i don't know how many people realize what high-power positions you had as a career woman to balance that. i had the job before iowa's first lady. [laughter]
executive vice president. >> i was smart, wise, continue to be. [laughter] when i get the question how did you know what to do as first lady it's like i went to princeton, harvard, i was a lawyer, worked in the city, worked with carla working on libraries and planning and economic development, ran a nonprofit organization, vice president of a hospital, i don't know, maybe it was just osmosis. [applause] i didn't come to the position as the first lady a blank slate and that's sort of what happens in society you become the spouse all of a sudden and i talked about this in the book how i felt myself becoming a spouse. i went from being an executive to becoming a spouse.
the first thing people would talk about was with shoes is she wearing. no, people. you're not focusing on my shoes, right where i'm standing in front of military families, doing important things. so yes, there were moments in my profession because the burden of child-rearing fell on me as a woman. there was a part of my trajectory as it got faster and louder there was the challenge of how divine make sure that my kids are saying and i have a career. the started very early, the stilted questions of how do you balance it all and is it fair that we are in his rocket ship ride when i have one to but that's something i write about and that's what you learn in the balance of marriage and i tell people this all the time
particularly young women is that what i've learned is that you can have it all the you usually can't have it all at the same time and that is a myth even having the expectation of having it all is an expectation for young people, young couples, young men and women with children, the notion you are not successful if you don't have it all. it's hard to balance it all that i've started to learn in 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 solution that worked for me which was my mom, i entertained the notion of stepping off of my track because i felt like i have these two kids and i brought them here so my first priority is to make sure that they are okay. i can't save the world if my household is in solid.
i have a baby and a husband who's a u.s. senato the u.s. ser whatever he was doing at the time. they caught him running in the other production because i thought the freedom to be like if you can do this and this then the di will think about it and he said yes to all of the things i asked for and i thought i guess i have to try this now. what i've learned is when men come as individuals you have to ask for what you need and not assume that people are going to give you what you need and that taught me i can define the terms
of my professional life in a way i didn't feel the freedom to do so i thought if i'm going to do this and going to do tha we didt provides balance. i told folks don't expect me at every meeting to come to meetings where we are not doing everything because i am going to the halloween parade, and that's important and i'm doing my job and i'm doing well but this meeting isn't necessary so i thought that freedom for the first time in my professional life to ask for what i need knowing i was worthy of it, butt i was valuable to them even in all of my complicated as i was still giving them values that i had to learn how to appreciate the value before i could ask for what i needed and not be afraid which is easier said than done. i understand it is not easy to tell somebody that you are worth a lot especially for women.
we have a hard time saying that about ourselves that i know my wortwords and i can put a monety number on it 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 just trying to plug the book -- [inaudible] for the last year i've been reliving these things and figuring out if it's taught me so i'm writing about all that. if i sound a little therapy, i'm still in it. >> and you are having the time to be able to step back because you mentioned going and going you didn't have time to reflect. >> lee did so much so fast and we also knew we didn't have the luxury to make mistake. [applause]
i've lived my life as the only one at the table and we knew very early we would be measured by a different yardstick. making mistakes wasn't an option for us not that we didn't make mistakes but we had to be good, we had to be outstanding at everything we did and when you are operating at that level and trying to live up to the expectations of your ancestor and father when you are the one that is waving the red carpet down for others to follow so yes we were moving fast. i was starting an initiative almost every year during the years that i was there and when i started an initiative, there was a lot of work that went into it before hand because coming to the work as a professional i knew that strategic thinking
about an initiative had to happen. the background work had to be done. when we started let's move before we even launched it we spent a year meeting with every expert in the field and we've already developed part should speak are we even announced it and whad we had focus groups wee meeting with legislators and policymakers so that when we stepped out into the arena, we knew what the pitfalls would be and where the partnerships needed to be and where the holes were. that's work we were doing at the same time for state visits and halloween parties and christmas decorations so you are like a swan with the paddling legs underneath and that was eight years of that so i realized there was time for something major would happen at the beginning of the week let's say you mac the pope or something
like that, this is the weirdest thing that's the kind of stuff we did. i met the pope were hangin popet with the clean, like that was my week. it could be in one week. a state visit, my first trip to africa that was my solo trip that involved doing push-ups with bishop desmond tutu lederle and wasearly and i was like plet up. [laughter] no, no, i'm going to do them, come down. [laughter] i looked around like if something happens to him, it's not me. [laughter] so doing push-ups with bishop tutu. i gave a speech to a group of young african women leaders, i met nelson mandela. we went on a safari, i went to
botswana -- i mean, it's like four days all that kind of stuff would have been in like four days. and then you go to the next week and i could literally forget everything that happened the week before because something like that would be happening in the next week. so to be able to remember it all and keep it all in your head, i would find myself forgetting like oh yeah i went to prague. i literally forgot that i had been to prague. we had this conversation. somebody said what do you think of prague and i said i've never been to prague and my chief of staff said yes you have and i was like no i've never been to prague, ever. she's like yes. we went back and forth and to it took a picture of me in prague. [laughter] like you are right i forgot all about that. i was there for two days. that is the case you can forget
major things not because they were not important but they get crowded out by the next series of issues and demands so i don't know what the question was and how he got on base. [laughter] when you think about all that and then you have the two little ones -- >> i never forgot about them. [laughter] when people are thinking about balance and how you do it, is there any advice? >> there's a lot of advice. my balance is crazy. because you are the first lady but you're also trying to go to the potluck and soccer game and i told the story of how he went to a parent teacher conference and he has a big motorcade. [laughter] it's a lot of stuff.
men with machine guns, sniper gear, they follow him everywhere in trucks and leaning out looking at you like i will tell you because that's their job. [laughter] but when they are at fourth grade on the roof of the elementary school and even malia was like dad, come on. [laughter] everyone was okay when dad didn't go, very politely like you don't have to come to the winter concert, it's okay. [laughter] we will take a picture. you can take a pass. but i would be there and mom would be there and you are 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 we will need your social security number and there will be dogs sweeping your house and they will ask if you
have guns and drugs and you will have to tell them sorry, julia's mom, but this is what it means to have her over but it's going to be fine. [laughter] d. have fun and learn how to work past all that. but you are balancing, at least i was alan and not just the act of being a mother duck being the first lady of the first daughters who had their own details all the time. so imagine trying to go to prom with eight men with guns. [laughter] and giving anything else that you are trying to do as a teenager with eight men as gun. we were very happy about it. [laughter] [applause] but even have to learn how to discipline them without letting
them think that their agent told on them. i had to lie a little bit about where i got my information from life hell did i know no parent was at that party backs julius mom told me. [laughter] not because i got a full report and detailed -- like why are they so dumb not to know, how do you think i knew lex [laughter] that some of our parenting scenarios. [laughter] my goal as a parent was to make sure my kids had normalcy. that's a different set of challenges for the average parent but here is the thing i learned, one of the things i learned living in the white house kids don't need that much. if they know you love them unconditionally, you can live in the white house, you can live in
the little apartment i grew up in. home is what you make of it. if that interaction that you have every day and it doesn't have to be perfect. it can be broken and funny and odd in many ways. our oddness was a level of dysfunction of most families will never experience, but it was odd and 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 the kid. it takes a lot for there are so many broken kids which reminds us of how bad we are doing because you've got to do really messed up stuff to kids to send them off. they have to come from a broken mess that is so deep and off. and we have to see that in our children and understand that
when kids act out, there is a reason for it. there is no such thing as bad kid. kids are not born bad. [cheering] they are products of their situation. so i've learned to give myself a break because my kids are loved and they are going to be fine. we mess up a lot and make wrong calls as parents that we hold them to high standards as people. we don't measure them by things and grades, we measure them for how they interact in the world, how do they treat their friends and each other, things like kindness and compassion and empathy. those are the things we've tried to teach them over these years. here's the thing, kids watch what you do, not what you say so the biggest thing we could ever
do to be good parents to our kids is to be good people in the world for them to see every day. [cheering] and that's true whether you were the president and first lady or laura marianne and fraser robinson. that's all that kids need. as you know working in the communities you are seeing these kids come into your doors with such promise they just want somebody to love them and somebody to tell them that they are okay and that is one of the things i've tried to do with kids because i thought this is the interaction that could change a kids life. this one hug, one you are worth it. you never know what can make a
difference. [applause] >> all of this you are giving to your community, your kid, but i also heard you say that sometimes you have to put yourself first or not feel guilty about taking care of yourself. >> yes, ladies. men also but let's talk to the ladies on this one because we do that. we put ourselves forth on our priority list after everybody else and then we sort of are not even on our own list at all. it's filled with so many obligations and the guilt that we have. this is nothing new but the oxygen mask metaphor is real. you can't save someone if you are dying in side and that can
look like so many different things. it can be our sense of self-worth and or mental well-being. if we let that go and we don't nurture it we are not good to anybody else. that is something that you have to practice and i didn't see that even in my mother. my mother died her own hair until she turned green. it's like it's not working you don't know what you're doing just go to the hairdresser. she's like it's fine it's just green. [laughter] so i grew up with women who didn't put themselves first.
and i thought i want to show my girls something else. i want them to see that being a good woman means you are smart and educated, gentle and kind and loving but you can do some push-ups and think about what you put into your body and what you eat, take time for your forr souls and invesyourselfand inves with your friends. i thought it was important for my gross to see me have strong friendships so i have a posse of women who keep me sane. [applause] it started early in a life. life. i've always had a crew of women. i had my lunchtime girls we went over to each other's houses and lunchtime during grade school and played jacks and complained
about the teachers and analyze things and watched all my children. we got ourselves together and we would go back in and finish the day. that was my early group. but when my kids were young i had a really strong group of women and still do, these women are still a major part of my life and i couldn't have gotten through those early years without them because we were all in bearing stages some of us were married some of us were single parents, some have husbands who traveled but every saturday we would get together and we started when the babies were in their cradles and we would sit them down around each other in a circle so they could look at each other. [laughter] and then we talked about everything. about are they walking yet, are they supposed to be doing -- all those questions as a new mother and you don't know if you are ye doing anything right it was nice to be around a group of women just like you they didn't know
anything either. we were all messing up and it was okay. but we became our most important confidants as mothers raising kids and all of these kids who've come up together are like cousins out in the world and they've all done well which is another lesson i've learned you can pair and all different kinds of ways there is no one right way to do it. just love and consistency in the foundation and security. so we learned t went to let ourf the hook and then we started doing fun stuff together like we worked out together. we would do a boot camp at camp david. i want to thank these women who would come because i was trying to get everybody healthy so like once a season i would bring them to camp david and we would these intensive workouts and i like eliminated wine and stuff like that so everybody said they were
not coming unless i put flying back on the menu so i had to put it back on just to not lose my friend. [laughter] so we worked out like three times a day and the little navy cadet kids would be like a little low on your push-ups and you would be like you are so cute. don't call me ma'am. [laughter] so we were getting healthy together and we started doing little seminars. one of my friends was an ob/gyn said as he got older we did have sessions on menopause and we would talk about other things i can't talk about here, but that group, that was my crew throughout the white house gears and that was a part of that self-care we felt good about and we got stronger over these eight years. as groups of women become physically and mentally stronger together in ways that -- i love my husband. he is my best friend, but i want
other friends sometimes. don't tell him. [laughter] he doesn't know i have more fun with them sometimes. [laughter] but they gave me the kind of fortification that i needed and i encourage young mothers to know we were not meant to parents in isolation and so many young parents -- [applause] because of circumstances make it either transferred or living away from home. i saw this with military families coming young military mom would move away from her family, have kids, 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. it does take a village. i encourage them to build a village if not, your mom and aunt and cousin, build a village because that will be your
salvation. it keeps you sane and it just keeps you in balance in a way that i think we don't apprecia appreciate. i just told you a bunch of fun that we had. the push-ups are fun. [laughter] you would enjoy working out? >> i would keep score of you all. [laughter] that's how you know she doesn't work out becausworkouts becauses there's scores to be kept. one push-up for me and one for you. [laughter] we had fun, yes we made sure we had fun. we wanted the white house to be a place of fun particularly in tough times. we went through some tough times, crisis, shootings, the amount of grief we had to help
the country get through. you can't have all crisis. the country needs a moment if you liktofeel like they can celn some way, shape or form even in the darkest times, so we had how we met the white house and kids came and mostly military kids and their families they would come around the south lawn and it was all decorated and the house was going and everybody was in costume and they got to trick-or-treat at the white house. any major state event that we did whether it was a state dinner or a arrival, w rifle, wa way to incorporate a. a. so we had a big performance in the evening. usually they would agree to a separate performance or talk or workshop with young kids and we would fly them in from all over the country's ability to getting
different experiences. so kids sat down and talked to every major star that came to the white house. we had the whole cast of hamilton come back and perform. [applause] and it was a very old circle moment for me because we first met when men while the first cultural event at the white house was the spoken word events because spoken word wrap for those of you that don't know -- [laughter] poetry guy yo, you know, sort ol poetry had never been done in the white house in the east room with george and martha standing there. so we were going to do that as a first event so we were finding some of the hottest young voices and needed a road wine and this young kid came up and we were like what are you going to perform, young man. and he said i'm going to do a rap about alexander hamilton and
we were like -- [laughter] that's when you remember you were the president and first lady you can't laugh in the face of your guests like are you kidding. then he went on to perform the first number that he had prepared and it was obviously amazing. so afterwards we were like that's really good and he said i'm going to do a whole broadway show on it and we were like good luck with that. [laughter] and then it blew up and we invited the whole cast back and they performed. first they did workshops from kids all over the country so they were doing lyric writing and you name it, they were in the room writing and wrapping in the blue room and dancing in the oval and you name it, they were
everywhere and then they did the performance in the east room with all these kids who'd never gotten to see the broadway performance but they all knew the words. so, we had fun. we had lots of fun and it always involved kids because kids are good. they just make everything better and we wanted to make sure that kids felt like this white house belongs to them, they felt like when they walked into it and kids of all backgrounds felt like this was a place kids were supposed to be not like off the front gates that they've are supposed tthey weresupposed to s and experience everything going on and i think of all the things we did, the work we were able to do it was hopefully the most impactful work that we did in those eight years. >> and it felt like i'm wrapping in the blue room.
>> we did a whole design workshop where they were with designers and we did a whole workshop to put it together so we had some of the top designers, and it was a way to give and go mosh to all of the designers who worked with me but not to make it about me so it had to be about kids so they all came for a day of working with young designers around the world and they were making jewelry in different rooms and they came together for a panel and got to meet diane and all these big name came and they spent the day with these kids and it was about them but it was also about passions of those ar so those ai try to think about linking the stuff people wrote about two something that was important like okay you like my shoes but let's teach them how to be designers and what this stuff mn america. [applause] that it's not just about how you
look at what you do and all of that was fun. >> and the kids left feeling like -- >> they though >> they thought what they were something special. we have a mentor program that we never really publicized as i worked every year with a group of 20 girls from the area because mentoring has always been a big part of my life and barack's house while so he had some young men that would come in once a month they were usually kids from the dc area, not the top kids but not the not struggling that sort of those kids are just in the middle where there 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, the first female executive chef at the white house who laura bush appointed, she was a mentor. and they would meet with these kids all the time that they would come together once a month
in the white house. and it was interesting to see their transformation when they first start. they couldn't look me in the eye they were just nervous because it was nerve-racking. you are in a white house meeting michelle obama. but we would spend time talking and by the time they completed usually two years with us by their graduation ceremony when their parents would come, they felt there was just a shift in who they thought they were. they felt comfortable in that space, in that room with me. they felt they deserved it for themselves and it was the process of giving them exposure saying you are worthy i don't even care about your grades who are you as a person.
they had a confidence an and myb for them is if you can walk into the white house and introduce yourself, there is no room you can't go into after that. [applause] right before we started there was a high schooler who was here and of course we hope she will be a librarian. any advice you might get a high schooler like i don't know about college or what i want to do. >> is 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 have wonderful community colleges, four-year colleges, so many ways to do it there is no one right way to do if you don't have to go to a four year school and lived in the dorm if that isn't your thing it is an excellent experience if you can if you have to get an education beyond high school. a high school diploma isn't enough anymore and we want you to be the best you can be and wear nice shoes and the fly and have power and all that good stuff. having an education is the key to that. so that's my advice in a nutshell. [applause] we don't have much time left but
i have to ask about the book. it's coming out in november. [applause] [cheering] you have to give us a few things. >> i've given you a few tidbits about if i werbut if i were to e book, it is a 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 go from here to there. it's sort of like people think i'm a unicorn. like i don't exist, like people like me don't exist and i know
that there are so many people in this country come in this world who feel like they don't exist because their stories are not told gore that their stories are not worthy of being told and in this country we've gotten to the point we think there's only a handful of legitimate stories that make you a true american. [applause] [cheering] so if you don't fall into that narrow sort of wine, it's like you don't belong but we all belong and i think my book is just the ordinary very extraordinary story and i hope that by telling it, it makes others, not just black women are black people that other women, , other people who feel they solicited visible and voiceless, to feel applied in the story in a way that i feel about my can e of the ordinary working-class
kid with two parents who have values, they didn't have a lot of money. we grew 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. it's just a shame sometimes people will see me and only see my color and make certain judgments about that and that's dangerous for us to dehumanize each other in that way. [applause] we are all just people with stories to tell and we are broken and there is no miracle in our story we are just living life trying to do good and that's what this little girl in becoming is. she's becoming a lot of things in life, but the journey
continues and i hope it starts a conversation about voice and encourages so many other people because we need to know everyone's story so that we don't forget that humanity and each other because what we have learned over the course of this eight years and traveling around the country is that americans are good people, decent people really even if we don't agree on politics, and we have to remember that about ourselves and understand that is true not just in america but around the world. all of us are just trying to figure it out and if we've done something horrible is because we were broken in some way but if we understand each other's stories and share those stories maybe we can be more empathetic and inclusive. maybe we can be more forgiving and be more open.
so i hope that the book and cartridge is some conversation around those kind of things. and then you will hear about china and my shoes. a couple nice stories. [laughter] they are still alive and doing well by the way. [laughter] [applause] >> i just have to tell you we are glad that you are michelle obama. [applause] [cheering] and they are too. >> thank you all for everything you do. [applause] [cheering]
[cheering] that was michelle obama and carl hayden to librarian 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," which is the best-selling book of 2018. we are going to show several of her appearances. we were only allowed to tape about ten minutes per appearan appearance. here she is on the book kickoff in chicago at the united center with oprah winfrey.
>> today i always like the white house was really always our house, the people's house. she is your girl from the south side of chicago. welcome michelle obama! [cheering] ♪ [cheering] have a seat. we are home. i've got to say every time i fly into the city because it was a city of so many blessings to me, i get a little flop so now when
you come home to this place what does thawhere does that feel li? >> first i tried to trace every inch when we are flying and i try to point outried to point oe neighborhoods like okay that's midway. i see my high school, i think that's mom's house. i still call it the sears tower. [cheering] i don't know what the name is now, but i try to trace the outlines of a city and find all the neighborhood. that's what i'm doing i do that every time like there is a lake and there's the planetarium, there's my school, i think i can see everything. so, yes. i am tracing my life over that city and it always feels good. it really does. >> i was coming in tonight. i haven't been here since the oprah show ended -- >> [inaudible] [laughter]
dot coming in and all the banners around the stadium for "becoming," people wind up coming in, i was thinking about your parents, your father in particular, and no one could have ever imagined from 743 7436 that this would be happening. >> and i missed all of that because i still come in the back way through the freight elevator by the garbage. [laughter] that's been my life. [laughter] i'm going to try. i'm going to ask my security can we go out the front door so i can see my signs. [laughter] they are like ma'am i'm sorry, get in the car. [laughter] i have to say from the first page of the book until the last, you did it. you brought it, you opened open
yourself up and allowed us to see and and let us experience the fullness of you in a way that i don't think anybody has ever done before particularly who's been in the white house. it's why i chosen it as an oprah's book club selection. [cheering] >> thank you by the way. >> you didn't need it but okay. everyone was going to buy the book anyway. [laughter] so i should say thank you. this is the truth though anytime you are looking at life from the outside and, it always looks like life is better over there, out there, up there. you and your father used to do with the family with my father used to do, drive around -- >> that aspirational ride. >> looking at other rich people's houses.
the truth is it doesn't get any bigger then the white house. but what you allowed us to see is it isn't always as it seems and the white house as a paradise. i would like for you to paint a picture of what it's like inside. >> i describe it as living in the fanciest hotel and you have your elevator that takes you up to your room and there is a lobby where all the action is going on and that's the central floor. what you see on tv about the white house, that is in the private residence, that's where the official stuff goes on, the red room, the blue room and all the room, the east room, that's the ceremonial floor. then up the next or there are
two more floors that are the residents and those are private to the families who live there. once you get in the elevator and you come up to those borders there's usually an oldethere isk gentleman in a tuxedo who has worked at the white house for decades with a lovely smile. although you could have him do that. i never thought of that. [laughter] >> at any time of day or night can you say i woul look like a refreshment? >> you can but then you realize, and i write about this, that you pay for it. they tell you you can order anything and they listen carefully because everyone listens to everything the president says and i used to tell him don't say you want something because then we will have like thousands of it and
then we are paying for it. it's a shock. he would say he would like some rare for -- fish we would get the bill at the end of the month and it's like you flew that in from china? it wasn't that good. [laughter] >> everyone is just getting the book today so i can see the surprise on people's faces when you hear her say they have to pay for it. >> a lot of people think, and this is interesting they save the taxpayers are paying for that and the truth is yes, you don't pay rent and you don't pay for staff, that everything, every dish, they would count the number of peanuts that you would eat and charge it back so you would get a bill at the end it's not like we live in the white
house, it's just something people don't understand. you pay for your charman and all of the guests food, all of you that came and visited. [laughter] when you were thinking i'm just going to take some and put it in my purse. we got the bill. [laughter] that all of the official and private fields and entertaining bentertainingwhether we have far thanksgiving, those things were paid for but that's a minor part of the experience. the house is beautiful and there are people there constantly. chefs and butlers. when we first came in they wore formal tuxedos at all time. black men serving people in full tuxedos who'd been there for presidents like for years, after president after president. we loved the staff. the whole staff at the white
house is amazing. one of the first things we did because we were trying to figure out how do you make this normal for children because malia and sasha were -- >> seven and ten. >> thank you for that. [laughter] i won't hear the end of that what don't you know how old weaver. [laughter] they were young and we were figuring out how to keep them grounded. first thing we thought, when we are having pancakes in the morning it just crazy to have a man with a tuxedo. [laughter] when you have little girls for a sleepover and you are bringing in water, so we canceled the tuxedos like to take those off. where some polo shirts and slacks unless it is something formal. [laughter] we just loosened up a bit but other than that, the white house does feel like a home and i always say a house is a house.
what you bring to the home is what makes it a home and how we lived in that home is what i remember most. people ask do i miss the white house and it's like no i don't miss the house because we took what was important in the house with. it's family and value and friendships. the house is beautiful and historic and it was an honor to live there, but the people in its make iitto make it what it . >> you are watching the tv on bn c-span2, television for serious readers. we are in the midst of showing portions of michelle obama spoke to her across the country. she sold out at the capitol one arena in washington, d.c. twice and we want to show you those appearances now. [cheering] >> dc on a sunday.
[cheering] >> here we are. this is so exciting. we are in this town that has become your talent with all of these amazing people and of the thing that i think is so extraordinary as we keep discussing as we are here to talk about the book. >> isn't that something all these people are here because [inaudible] [laughter] >> no costume changes, sorry. [laughter] we have been talking about this and i've been thinking the extraordinary presidency comes to an end, we will talk about transitions in life, but it's time to make another transition and what you decide you want to do is write this book. why did you do that i'd
>> first of all it was sort of an assignment because every first lady is supposed to write a book, and i think they've done it for quite some time so it's one of those okay i am now supposed to write about this and that is one thing. another thing as i've told some girls i talk about, i thought how many times does a black woman gets to tell her full story herself in a way that is going to be red potentially by billions of people. so i thought to myself i want to make sure this isn't just a chronology of things that happened in the white house because i've learned over the years is to understand one's life you have to understand the context so for people to understand what i got from the eight years in the white house
they would have to understand the neighborhood i grew up in, the family, the challenges i faced and i wanted the book to be very readable and feel like a stories of people of all backgrounds and the young folks of all ages could sort of follow this journey as a little girl, michel robin who had very much an ordinary life but it took many extraordinary turns, and as my brother said on the clip, i wanted my story to be an example to many that we all deserve and we are worthy of an amazing extraordinary life in the stories that we all have in us and those small memories are what make us who we are. it's not the eight years in the whitwhite house that defined me, that just happened to be part of
my journey so much more of who i am comes in the first section of the book and i wanted people to understand that. >> what you have given us is a story of this ordinary extraordinary girl in a way that all of us can read into the ordinariness of living near your cousins in having dinner at a certain time, having a relative who's a little bit cranky but still a part of the fold. all of these particulars are something that gives an american coming-of-age story, and the fact that his a black woman's coming-of-age story for everyone to identify with is an extraordinary feat and as you know i think you've written a work of american literature for which i thank you. >> that means a lot coming from my friend who is a literary amazing person in her own right. [laughter] >> this story begins with my
little invisible ten best friend i wish we had known each other when we were 5-years-old. it would have been wonderful because you are my favorite little girl. she's very determined, single-minded, fierce, she has a rich interior life, she lives in a close knit family and you youe in an iconilived in an iconic pe southside of chicago. one of america's great metropolises. we are biased self siders of chicago but when i think back on my life and community i was raised in the truth is when you read about my community, it feels like so many communities in this country. it was a working-class neighborhood. some people owned their homes, some people did. it was racially diverse when we first moved in as you can see
from my kindergarten classroom pictures, there were people with all kinds of last names. we were all sharing this space together and living in a very vibrant community and i was in and out of the home of all these kids. we grew up in a time if you got into some trouble you could count on the neighbor lady calling up your mother or stopping by and telling on you. [laughter] you couldn't talk back to the neighbor lady. you had to listen to other and what they may say to you. we can get an amen on that. [applause] 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 thaleaguetoleaguethat played a e summer and i remember falling asleep on the porch because they didn't have air conditioning and when you don't have air
conditioning yo use up on the porch. we had many great sites on the porch just falling asleep to the sounds of people cheering on their team. we had the liquor store on the corner that sold bread and penny candy. that's where your mother sends you to get newport cigarettes and a gallon of milk. [laughter] and you could get a week's worth of candy with a quarter. i remember getting [inaudible] [laughter] only recently, i realized they are now or later but we didn't say it like that. [laughter] the flavor was bred. flavors or colors. i once read delete the -- i want red. [laughter] we lived in a community of
relatives. people didn't live on their own. you lived within a holder and every elder in our family had somebody that lived with them. we lived with a great aunt above in a small house but she owned the home and allowed my parents to live there with little rant because they move to the neighborhood that put us in better public schools around the corner was my maternal grandmother who lived with her anaunt around the other corner s my maternal grandfather they were divorced but they lived right across the corner from each other. [laughter] you learned they just didn't talk. [laughter] what we thought was light yearss away was my father's family. they lived basically like five minutes away but it felt like a big trip when we went over there because you have to get in the car to see them. but i grew up with a community of cousins and cousins cousins and people who probably weren't your cousin betty for your
cousin. [laughter] the story is neve stories nevert fully explained. [laughter] they are just all your cousins. [laughter] and music was a big part of my life. i write about my fathe out my fa lover of jazz and if you grow up with a father of the generation that's when you played records on the stereo and you had to actually sit there and listen to them and learn how to put the needle on the record player without scratching it because you would get in trouble if you scratched up your father's record. you couldn't put it in the middle of a song that you liked and baked until your song came on. if you are in the bathroom when it came on its like that's my song. can we started over?
[laughter] though, you have to wait until the end. >> i loved all of the men in my life and this is something i point out because when people talk about what makes a grow strong and a lot of times you look to the mothers i was surrounded by a lot of men who loved 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 safe and loved by the men in her life and that is a sad statement for us as a society i was one of the fortunate ones who grew up with both of her grandfathers, and end who adored me in the south side i woulsouthside i would spe saturdays with him.
.. . >> you know. you don't have to be titled to do the job of good parenting, and my parents did that. my father was a stationary fireman his whole life and worked 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.
and he gave and he gave and gave. he was that person that everybody would gather around and in his recliner they would bring the girlfriends so he could check them out, and they'd ask him for advice, and he was a visitor. he visited everybody, and oftentimes he dragged me along with him on a saturday where i would be sitting on some plastic sofa, you know the feeling. [laughter] some ladies house, with a little cup of 7-up, and i would listen to him visit and visit, and visit. but my dad was a story teller. and he was courageous. and he also had ms. which was only part of his 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 he had in us. and any other kid that came his way. so i learned to be a story teller. i learned to be a listener, and learned to be a giver from watching him. and then there was my mom, marian, who is as i describe her in the book she had a zen neutrality in her ability to parent. she taught us responsibility as an early age. she was the kind of mother i think we were 7 or 8 when she gave us alarm clocks and she was like you're going to wake yourselves up. because as my mom said i'm raising adults, not babies. so she taught us how to think for ourselves at an early age. she shared in the book that i want to say about my parents is that they valued our voices from
an early age. we were not shushed, we were allowed to speak our minds and ask questions. they encouraged our curiosity, they told us the truth and context of people's existence. so if there was a crazy uncle or the funny cousin, they would explain to us that history so that we could understand why they landed where they were. so 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 values folks. i wish my dad could be here to see all this. >> how proud would he be of you? [applause] >> carla: so before there was michelle, there was craig, your brother who you shared a bedroom with at one point. how fast he as a big brother and
how did he add to the equation of this family? >> michelle: he was my protector protector. robin roberts -- he was he was the favorite. and that's okay, he's my mother's f., she won't admit it, 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 y live in the white house. what more do i want. i'm taking her to china, she's meeting the pope, and at thanksgiving it's like when's craig coming. >> i'm like i don't know. i really don't care. [laughter] >> michelle: but the thing is that i adore him too. so i can't be too mad at him. here's the thing i want to tell you about craig. he and my father treated me as
an equal. and that's so important for fathers to understand about girls is like having a strong girl isn't about having a strong mother. it's about having men in their lives who love them and respect them so when -- [applause] when my father taught my brother to do anything, whether it was boxing, or learning how to throw a fast ball or running bases, i was right there with him. and my brother encouraged it. he wasn't like 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 lived me. i had my grandfathers and uncles, one of who is here, one of my favorite uncles are here and he knows who he is. [applause] 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 getting out in the world. [applause] so -- education was also important to your family and early on in about second grade something happened that really changed your trajectory, tell us about what was going on back in those early days. >> michelle: this is a story about -- this gives you an insight into who my mother was as well. we grew up in a neighborhood called south shore on the south side of chicago. yes, south shore. in the house. we are everywhere on the south side we come everywhere. but when we moved into the neighborhood, it was a mixed neighborhood. mixed-race neighborhood. it was working-class to middle-class which is one of the reasons why we moved there to go to better schools. we lived with my aunt robbe and she was a teacher, and she was able to own her own hope home.
she was married to my ungual, a pullman porter. they had a stable income and was able to buy a house in south shore. the neighborhood was mixed and that meant the schools were mixed. so in kindergarten and first grade i put a school picture in my back to show you the diversity that was there. but what was going on in the 70s was what we call white flight. and all my little white friends that i had, and i had plenty of them, they started literal disappearing before my eyes. and i didn't realize until i had grown up and learned about segregation, and the whole issue of pushing folks fleeing out of communities at black families moved in, was that the neighborhood was starting to change. and so we started to feel those effects not just in friends leaving, but a deinvestment -- disinvestment in the neighborhood and we felt it in
the schools. so second grade comes around and it was the first time i was in a chaotic classroom, where erasers were flying, and teachers weren't teaching, and i knew this. as a second grader. i would come home with my little lunch and i'd come and sit -- you came home for lunch, lived around the corner. we'd turn on "all my children," and we'd watch the shows and i'd have my sandwich, and i would complain. i'd be like mock mom, we didn't even get homework. i was that kind of kid. i was like we are not learning enough in this class. how will we make it in third grade. i was this worrier. what -- they were all saying because we had girls that came with us. we traveled in packs and we were all complaining. this needs to change. and we were just complaining,
and my mom did the mom thing. and we thought she was just listening and humoring us but little did we know she was book up at the school. and she was making some moves. what happened was that a few of us got tested out into the third grade. because of my mother and the advocacy of other mothers but i tell this story because i knew even at that age that i wasn't being invested in. as a second grader. and sometimes we'd like to pretend that kids don't know when they're being short-changed and be valued, and i'm here to tell you that i knew that at second grade. as we look at school inequality, and things aren't right, kids know when they are not being valued. and it makes them feel some kind of way.
[applause] and i was lucky to have gotten out of that classroom and into a better classroom but that wouldn't have happened if i didn't have a parent at home who was also one of my fiercest advocates and understood the difference between whining and real distress. [applause] >> and that was the former first lady during her book tour appearances in washington, d.c. now book tv covered several of these appearances, but we were only allowed to tape about 10 minutes of each. she also stopped in philadelphia, and here she is in conversation with comedian and author stevie robinson. >> there is so much i want to talk to you about tonight. your book becoming is literally life-changing. it's so incredible and smart and wonderful and there's a lot of stuff i want to cover, so i'm going to come out hot at the gate, with a topic that's a
little controversial. pie. stick with me. thanksgiving was last week, and i remembered four years ago when you're being interviewed by robin roberts and she asked you guys this question. so let's take a look. >> favorite pie. >> pumpkin. >> okay so let's talk about -- can we freeze back on -- that is. [laughter] that is not michelle. that's -- [laughter] every woman knows that look when it comes to her man. it's like what? [laughter] there are people looking at men like that tonight. i can't believe you just said that. >> host: did you feel for betrayal when he said pumpkin by.
>> michelle: that's barack's swervey ways, pumpkin by in the robinson household we do sweet potatoes. i didn't know there was pumpkin by until i left home. the concept of pumpkin in a by, no, sweet potato pie. i was like -- i looked at him like you know better than that. >> host: okay, so all kidding aside let's dive in. i want to kick off with another extraordinary achievement in your life that never seems to stop. your book, "becoming" sold 2 million copies in the first two weeks. [applause] >> michelle: thank you. thank you. >> host: that's incredible. >> michelle: thank you. it's almost christmas. [laughter] a few more weeks. thank you though, it's amazing. >> host: so it's so exciting made the "new york times"
best-seller's list. i'm also a writer and i also made that list and i know in the industry like publishing that it's so predominantly white to have someone of your stature have this kind of success i think really meensz a lot and speaks 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 future authors of color and women of -- and women as well to get into the writing game. >> michelle: 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 experience when i first campaign for barack in iowa. the notion that's there's a little girl from the south side of chicago who at the moment was
named michelle obama, married to burake hussein obama, was going to dive into the midwest in iowa, and people were opening up their homes and welcoming me around their kitchen tables and what connected us was our story. it was our shared stories of the stuff i put in this book. it wasn't what degree i had, or what school i went to, it wasn't what career i had, it was what was our food like. what was that kitchen table conversation like. what was the relationship with my favorite relative like. what were our neighborhoods like, the sights and the smells, and that's the common at we share across this country. it is not race it is not gender or religion, it's the stories that make us who we are and the fact this is resonating with so many different people reinforces what i know is true about this country. so yes, i think that it is now
incumbent upon us to stop being afraid of our stories. and to know that there are so many ways to live a life it is up to us to share it with one another and know we won't be judged or criticized or looked upon oddly so now we have to dig deep, and know our stories and be ready to put them on the table. so yes, hopefully there's room for more. >> host: excellent. that's amazing, thank you. you know we all know you as you know, in my opinion, the best first lady of all time. i said it. i said it. [applause] and we know you're 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, as you being this little girl, growing up in chicago, and the your journey to
how you became a -- you may need to explain that. >> host: anybody watch game of thrones? >> michelle: i told you when i mentioned that i'm not a game of thrones person, don't -- i've been busy but you'll have to explain that to me. p. >> host: so calici is a white woman but you are coco culease. >> michelle: so she's a powerful woman? >> host: yes, she is. i don't want to get kicked off the stage for cursing. >> michelle: you're good. >> host: i want you to take us back to your journey in chicago, tell us about your parents and how they informed you. >> michelle: i grew up on the south side. i know we have some south
siders. the south side or chicago my neighborhood is like so many neighborhoods. we grew up in the sphuz where 7s mixed incomes and they had jobs and planted flours and they took care of their lawns, and kids went to school, and listened to adults. so when somebody told you to get off their lawn and you didn't they were going to tell your mother. and your mother would you please tell curse them out they would beat your behind for not listening to so and so. i had a banana bike with a seat. and the big deal was not learning how to ride a two-wheeler but being allowed to ride around the block. that was a big deal. we had our corner store where you could get milk and bread, we also called it the liquor store but there were people who went there for liquor but most people
went there for wonder bread. and you could get your penny candy. back then i used to get for a quarter you could get a bag of candy including your now and laters. [laughter] it wasn't until i was 30 that i realized it was called now or laters. i thought it was one word niilators. [laughter] so you sit on the front porch with your friends and there was a park where 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 grew up on the south side. everyone lived within a 5-mile radius.
i had cousins around the corner. my grandmother lived with an aunt, and my grandfather lived with an uncle and we were part of a big unit where you'd gather in one place in the gathering place in my family was southside house where troav who have read the house, my maternal grandfather who was the heart and soul of the family he was a lover of jazz and i would spend saturdays with him and his dog rex because i still wanted to dog. my mother didn't want me to have a dog, but south side let me have his dog. >> and you've been watching former first lady michelle obama on her book tour for "becoming." her memoir has become the best-selling book of 2018, selling 3 million copies since its debut in november. she and barack received $60 million in advance for their
memoirs. book tv covered five of her appearances the next one is from brooklyn. >> >> michelle: you are all fired up in here. [applause] >> host: we're in -- this is all happening. here we are. thank you for being here. >> i am so excited to be here. we have a lot to talk about. very big night, and where i wanted to start us off is thinking about this moment in your life. here we are all of these people are in a stadium because of a book. [applause] and so i have to start us there because there are so many ways you shared your knowledge, grace, and power and inspiration with your individual communities starting with the people who love you up close and moving out and radiating circles to the
whole world. who you are up close is who you are large and that is an extraordinary thing to see. what i think is amazing about what you decided to do after the white house years is you decided to write a real book. >> michelle: yeah. >> host: you decided not to write a book that hit certain first lady marks but a book that i want to tell you all if you have not read it, this is an important work of american literature. [applause] this is a coming of age story a girlhood to womanhood story, a finding your power story and a story that like so many works of literature helps us know ourselves better. so why did you decide that you wanted to write this kind of book when you did. >> >> michelle: 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 8 years that i was first lady. that was just a part of a bigger story. and for people to understand how i got there, the context was important in my life because i know it's important in everyone's life. the real me of our lives comes in those little moments that you see in the first section and the second section. those stories about real life, the real stories not your stats, 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 relationship did you have with your father? what was your first fight? what was your neighborhood like? what did it feel like? what were those sounds? that is what makes us who we are and made me who i am. so you don't understand michelle obama the first lady unless you
understand me, little michelle robinson who grew up on the south side and went to public schools. who had her ups and downs. and -- you know here's the thing that i want people to understand it's like people are reallytered in that part of our stories. i wrote this book hopefully 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 really know people. that's when you can tap into their real essence, and i hope by being as vulnerable about all of my life, the highs and the lows the embarrassments, the challenges the struggles, that people would understand that just opens you up to who i am.
there's no need to hide that stuff for any of us. that was what cectsdz us. my hopes is that the book will inspire everyone to tap into their own journeys of becoming and to share the stories with one another. [applause] >> host: and i think you know starting as you do on the south side of chicago. >> michelle: south side. you say south side -- >> host: we're in new york so we can only say it a few times. >> michelle: everyone has their neighborhood. mine happens to be the south side. >> host: and that little girl who i claim as the childhood best friend in mine mind. little michelle robinson was an amazing little girl and as you describe her, an ordinary extraordinary little girl like so many of us. and there are soman thinks about
you're a life, living within five blocks of cousins extend family, having family members who are coming with their feelings or angry or their outsideness but still 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. talk about that and about that world. >> michelle: my neighborhood was like most neighborhoods. not just in cities but in rural communities. you -- we grew up with family. and everyone lived within an elder. i lived with my great aunt, and i had another aunt who lived with a grandmother, another couple of aunts and uncles lived with my grandfather south side and we all lived in the same community. we group up in the time when you respected your elders. even in the t neighborhood when you were playing around and if you ran over somebody's grass or did something wrong, neighbor lady x was going to tell your
mother. [laughter] and your mother wasn't going to curse her out for telling you. she was going to come home and beat your behind because -- you supposed to listen to neighborhood lady x. and it was a community. it was -- my neighborhood south shore was a vibrant diverse community, a working class neighborhood where people own their homes. it was a diverse until second grade. right before white flight set in. that's when white folks felt comfortable sort of living with us in our neighborhoods and then people like us moved in and they fled. so you can see that in my class pictures. in my early grade in kindergarten, you can see there are kids of all backgrounds and we all played together and were at each other's homes, and little did i know people were whispering in their ear,
realtors saying get out because this is turning into a ghetto, you have to run. and by the time i was in 8th grade as you can see in the picture, the neighborhood was all black. and that sort of sociological phenomenon of white flight has gone on in countries and communities all over the country. i stop here because i want us to understand that in that time, people were afraid of us. let's just hold that thought because we are sort of going 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 marian, and frasier, and south side. and i want us to hold on to that. that still goes on. that notion that people look at
the color of your skin and make assumptions about who you were they didn't know our values, or that we were kids striving to be good. our fought was hard-working, they didn't care. they were running from our race, and we still do that. [applause] so i grew up in what was a vibrant community but as it started to become more black, you know, we could see the deterrieration 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 school teachers towards us. i could see it as a young child. i was that kid who would come home, came home from second grade, just all disgusted at the fact we weren't learning in second grade. [laughter] i would come home and i was like mom, we didn't get homework again last night. i don't know how we're going to be prepared for third grade. this is outrageous.
i was that kid. [laughter] and your mother wonderfully said i wasn't raising children, i was raising adults. >> michelle: she taught us to express ourselves and speak our minds but to do it politely, but at the same time she was a mother who fortunately because my father worked so hard allowed my mother to stay home from work. . . >> parents can be advocates very powerful ways early on for kids when they are young. >> that wraps up but tvs coverage of the book to her for the best-selling memoir,