In celebration of a new school year, Emmy-nominated actress, producer & screenwriter Rashida Jones partnered with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation's Storyline Online (storylineonline.net) children’s literacy initiative to read the beloved children’s book Please Please the Bees.

Video: Please Please the Bees read by Rashida Jones

Written and illustrated by Gerald Kelley and published by Albert Whitman and Company, Please Please the Bees is a delightful story showcasing morals of friendship, gratitude and paying it forward. In addition to its new video starring Jones, the award-winning Storyline Online program also unveiled its newly redesigned website and a new app for iPhone and Android. The app features the full digital library of Storyline Online videos, complimentary educational activity guides and more.

Please Please the Bees tells the story of Benedict, a big brown bear who is very content with his routine. Every day, he eats the same meals, runs the same errands and receives the same delivery of honey from the bees living in his yard. When Benedict wakes up one morning to discover the bees have gone on strike, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities and behavior towards the bees. Please Please the Bees can be used to start a conversation with children about being thankful, valuing the beauty of nature, honing self-awareness and giving back to your community. Its pro-environmental message is also one worth considering.

Jones concludes her reading by sharing her thoughts on Please Please the Bees. “I really enjoyed this book because it’s all about being able to live with each other and respect each other… That’s the best part about being in a community – being able to live together and have everybody’s life be sweet at the same time.”

Rashida Jones is the latest actor to join an expanding cast of Storyline Online readers. Previous readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Kevin Costner, Lily Tomlin, Christian Slater, Betty White and James Earl Jones. Storyline Online features beloved performers reading cherished children’s books out loud alongside inventively animated, original illustrations. The site features 40 videos available at no cost to children, parents, and educators worldwide, and receives over 14 million views every month.

“Rashida Jones is a real champion for children’s literacy. As a SAG-AFTRA Foundation Actors Inspiration Award recipient for her charitable giving, Rashida also made time to read for Storyline Online because of her passion for reading and community,” said Cyd Wilson, Executive Director of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation. “Please Please the Bees is a delightful new addition to our digital library. We are so grateful to Rashida for her participation.”

Please Please the Bees comes with supplemental activity guides aligned with Common Core Standards for both home and school that strengthen verbal, written and comprehension skills. Aimed at students in the 1st through 3rd grades, these activities encourage students to engage in critical thinking and ponder the themes from the book including friendship, empathy, self-awareness and giving back.

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