The White House

Office of the First Lady

Remarks by the First Lady at a Book Signing for American Grown

Barnes & Noble
Washington, D.C.

11:43 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  Hi, everyone!  Can you hear me?  (Applause.)  Good.  Wow!  This is so exciting!  (Applause.)  This is my very first book, and my very first and probably only book signing.  (Applause.)  This is so good, this is so good.

Well, let me just say, I am so proud of this product.  It is -- the book, American Grown, is everything I would have imagined.  I wanted the book to be beautiful, and I think that the pictures are absolutely beautiful.  I could tell because when Malia and Sasha picked it up -- you know, it's mom -- it's like, oh, your book, how nice.  (Laughter.)  They actually got pulled in by the pictures, and then they couldn’t put it down and they started looking through, and then they started actually reading it.  And then, eventually, I got actually a thumbs-up.  (Laughter.) 

So that’s what we hope the book will be.  I mean, the book is really not just the story of the White House garden and how it came to be and how we had our ups and downs and trials and tribulations, but it's also a story of community gardens across the country -- everything from a wonderful community garden in Hawaii, Ma'O Farms, to some excellent school gardens that are happening in -- right smack dab in the middle of New York with some great school kids.  So the stories of the work that people are doing across this country are really an important part of the book as well.

But we also talk about one of my key initiatives, which is Let's Move, and it's all about getting our kids healthy.  So the book shares that journey and some of the interesting statistics and work that are going on all across the country to help our kids lead healthier lives. 

And then it's a little practical too; I mean, it gives a few tips.  I'm not the best gardener in the world, but I had a great team of National Park Service people, and I had my Bancroft and Tubman kids -- Tubman and Bancroft kids.  (Applause.)  They are my partners in crime in this respect.  I mean, these two schools have been with us from the very beginning, and that was one of the things that we said when we started exploring whether or not we could plant a garden on the South Lawn -- it's like, it would have to be a teaching garden, it would have to be a garden that kids could participate in and understand where their food comes from and engage in that process. 

Because that’s really what I learned in my own life, is that when I involve my kids in the food that they ate -- and we didn’t garden in Chicago, but we certainly went to farmers markets and we got them involved in really changing their diets and owning that process -- that they accepted it a lot more.  And we've seen that with these kids.

These kids are working in the gardens in their own schools. I know that they're bringing back ideas and questions to their own families, and helping to change the way they eat and do great things.  So these kids have been amazing, and they have just been a pleasure.  They come to the White House, they don’t get star struck, they don’t look around -- they get to work.  They get to work, and they get our garden planted and harvested in a matter of 10, 15 minutes -- sometimes 30 minutes.  They just get it done.

So we couldn’t do this without them, and I am so proud of you all.  So proud, proud, proud of you all.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you for helping me.  Thank you for helping me. 

So I just want to thank you all for standing in the rain, for coming out.  I am just thrilled, and I hope you all enjoy the book.  And I hope it becomes the beginning of many conversations in your own homes, in your communities.  And I hope that it leads to a healthier generation of kids at some point.  There are also some good recipes in there that are easy to follow, and they're pretty good -- White House chefs, so I urge you to try them. 

You all, thank you so much.  And I look forward to seeing you all up here.  (Applause.)  All right.

END
11:47 A.M. EDT

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