Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill's Morning Report — Category 5 Mueller storm to hit today Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Beyoncé in 'Time 100' profile: Michelle Obama empowers black Americans MORE revealed that her fictional hero is Pippi Longstocking, the adventurous title character in Astrid Lundgren’s well-beloved book series.

The former first lady was the subject of the New York Times feature “By the Book” on Thursday, which asks prominent figures about their reading habits. 

“Pippi Longstocking was my girl,” Obama said. “I loved her strength — not just her physical power, but the idea that she wouldn’t allow her voice to be diminished by anyone.”

“She’s independent, clever and adventurous — and she’s clearly a good person, someone who always does right by her friends,” she continued. “What I loved most was that she was a girl, and she was a little different, and she was still the most powerful character in those books.”


Obama, who is in the midst of a multi-city tour for her bestselling memoir, "Becoming," said that it may appear “odd” for her to see Pippi, “with her red pigtails and freckled skin” as a role model, but noted that there were very few characters “who looked like [her]” when she was growing up.

“There was no Doc McStuffins on TV, no 'Black Panther' on the big screen,” Obama said. “So once I had kids of my own, I liked to find stories with characters who looked like my girls — but at the same time the stories didn’t have to be centered on race.”

She also revealed to By the Book the titles she currently has on her nightstand, including: “Educated” by Tara Westover, “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones, “White Teeth” by Zadie Smith and an autographed copy of Nelson Mandela’s “Conversations With Myself.” 

“I like to flip through it from time to time because it always seems to give me an extra boost when I need it,” she said of Mandela’s book, which he gave to her as a gift when the Obamas visited him in 2011.

Obama added that she used to read books that her daughters, Malia and Sasha, were assigned in school, resulting in an unofficial “Obama family book club.”

She said that she gravitates to fiction when looking for new books to read, and often gets suggestions from her chief of staff or her husband, former President Obama.

Barack Obama is known as an avid reader, and often takes to Facebook to share lists of his recommendations.