The third annual Milk & Bookies Story Time Celebration drew a host of celebrities, many with tots in tow and picture books to read from and donate, for a Sunday event that blended story time, snacks and lots of family fun.
"Anytime we get the chance to inspire kids to read and give books to kids who don't have books and help out philanthropic organizations, it's a good thing. Everybody needs to read," said "Modern Family" star Eric Stonestreet, who loved reading "Where The Red Fern Grows" and Dr. Seuss books when he was a kid.
When it comes to being green, "I'm always looking out for that stuff, whether it's not using plastic bottles or garbage bags or packaging. I try my hardest to do the right things as easily as I can in my house. I think we, as a group, have to make bigger changes but there are things we can do individually," said Stonestreet, whose ABC sitcom was one of the first to switch from paper to electronic transmission of scripts and updates. "It took a lot of paper out of the equation."
Coming up on the series, Barry Corbin guests as Stonestreet's character Cam's dad this week (April 18), "Mitch and Cam's adoption gets resolved in a fun way," and a trip to Disneyland is coming up, filming of which was "crazy awesome. They didn't close the park down for us, but the staff was great." He also noted "a little bit of tragedy that forces the family to deal with something somewhat serious," but wouldn't disclose details. He'll spend his hiatus relaxing, traveling a bit and doing research in preparation to play Fatty Arbuckle, the comedian whose career was ruined by a sex scandal. "HBO has committed to a script, which is being written now. If everything comes together we'll shoot the summer of next year," he said.
Sarah Chalke was excited to attend the event for the first time and read to the kids, something she loves to do with her two-year-old son Charlie. "It's my favorite time with him, sitting and reading stories. He loves it. He's a big fan of books. He loves Dr. Seuss' 'Oh, the Places You'll Go' and 'Green Eggs and Ham,'" said Chalke, whose favorite books as a girl were "The Giving Tree" and "Where The Wild Things Are." The Canadian-born actress grew up recycling and composting "so we do that all the time, and we use non-disposables when we can and we use BPA-free plastic and glass." Having completed her four-episode guest arc on "Cougar Town," she's waiting to hear the fate of an ABC comedy pilot she shot called "How to Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life," in which she plays a divorced mom who moves in with her mom (Elizabeth Perkins) and stepdad (Brad Garrett).
"I just want to support reading and teaching kids and giving things away, which is something that needs to be instilled by parents, to give what they have to the less fortunate," said "The Office" star Rainn Wilson, who brought his son Walter, 7½, to the event. Sporting what he called a "relaxation beard" since the series has wrapped for the seaon, Wilson is "excited to see what the world of Schrute Farms is going to hold, that's what the next season will be about." He recently bought a plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt, and is very happy with it. "I hardly fill up at all," he said.
Describing himself as a "minivan-driving dad," Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl talked about his world of play dates, kids' birthday parties, after-school activities and car pooling, and how much he enjoys reading with his girls, Violet, 6, and Harper, 3. "It doesn't matter what you read, it's about sitting down and having that quiet time with your kid is a real bonding thing. I remember that when I was a kid, sitting down with my mother and having her read me stories," he said, noting that he was "big on Dr. Seuss" when he first learned to read but was reading "The Exorcist" by the time he was 10. (His girls are sticking to Seuss.) Now working on "a huge project, a documentary movie and a record," Grohl is a supporter of groups like Future Forests, a carbon-offsetting tree planting organization.
"We recycle and my daughter has an organic dollhouse and organic sheets," said Max Greenfield, who brought Lilly, 2, to the event, but doesn't bring her to the set of his Fox sitcom "New Girl" anymore. "She ruins takes. She doesn't understand why she can't run into the middle of the scene," he explained, adding that lack of sleep aside, "everything about fatherhood is great," including reading "Goodnight Moon" and "Tangled" to Lilly. As a veteran of several series that didn't last, he's thrilled that "New Girl" is a hit and will get a second season. "It's a dream come true. There's no other way to describe it," he said, relishing that he his role as self-styled player Schmidt, to whom he relates on one level. "I was never a ladies' man, but he has a yearning to be cool and accepted and I may have had a little bit of that," he said. He hopes to parlay his TV success into other comedy roles; if Judd Apatow calls, "I'm willing and ready at any moment."
"This is one of my favorite events because the kids are stimulated and it's a good cause. It's a win-win situation," said Rosa Blasi, who brought her daughter Kaia, 5½, to the event. A fan of Disney princess stories and the Golden Books series as a girl, she reads the "Pinkalicious" series and "Fancy Nancy" to Kaia along with stories they make up together. She's also teaching her daughter about the environment and took her to see "The Lorax," which provides a good reference when she tells her to use fewer paper towels in the public restroom. Although she doesn't garden because "I kill everything I try to plant," Blasi has been "obsessive" about shopping at farmers markets and using organic products since she was pregnant with Kaia. Now appearing in the third season of ABC Family's "Make it or Break It," she'll guest star in the season finale of "Hot in Cleveland." "It has to do with the soap opera storyline," she said. She'll next star in a Lifetime movie about a gang of girl bank robbers, playing the agent who cracks the case.