The Kelly Clarkson Show – And Me

Everything people say is true.  Kelly Clarkson is genuine.  She’s as nice as the day is long.  She is all about others (not herself), and so much fun.

I know.  I am on her show tomorrow- in person with Kelly.

Kelly is the real deal, and she could be my best friend.  That’s just who she is.  When the doors opened to walk out onto the stage, she smiled and waved.  I did, too.  It was across a very crowded and busy room, a locked-on moment.

Everyone associated with the show is the same way.  Surely they must have to pass a ‘kindness test’ in order to work there.

To tell you the story, I will start at the beginning, nearly a year ago.  In the words of a ‘Jennie Story’, “It Happened Like This”:

Our blogging community is like a family, and the story begins with Kelly hearing about me through my blog and a fellow blogger, John Rieber.  I received a call from Dan Sterchele, a Producer on the show.  “Hi Jennie.  I only have ten minutes.  Please tell me about yourself.”

Twenty minutes later we were still talking.

I told him about reading aloud, Gloria, Milly the Quilter, the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, Jennie Stories… on and on.  He kept asking questions.  A lot of questions.  We laughed.  Then came the next step.

“Jennie, you need to ‘wow’ Kelly.  I need you to make a one-and-a-half minute video of yourself.”

“Sure.  No problem.”  How hard could this be?  Hard.  Very hard!  Seventeen video takes hard.  This was the best I could get:

After that nothing happened for a long time.  Covid hit and everything shut down.  I didn’t hear back and chalked it off to life.  Hey, it was fun to give it a try.  Then a few weeks ago, Dan emailed me.  My pitch sheet had been on his bulletin board all along.  “Hi Jennie.  We want to talk to you about how you help your students fall in love with reading by introducing them to books at such an early age!  Kelly is going to absolutely adore you.”

Wow!  So I had been on hold.

The next four days were a whirlwind of long phone interviews and planning.  They wanted to video me in the library at school as part of the Friday taping of the show.  I was excited!  I worked it out with school (of course they were excited, too), and then I got a late phone call from Dan – west coast time when I should have been in bed.

It was “The Call.”

“Jennie, we’re changing this.  Forget taping you in the library for the show.  We want you here, live.  We’ll put you on a plane to LA in two days.”  Did I tell you this was the first week of school?  The scrambling began to find subs, get a Covid test, sign papers, and answer questions.

And just like that, I was on a flight to LA.

There was still planning to do, as in ‘get to the point and say what I need to say right away, because I will probably get six minutes’.  Okay, no problem.  I asked who else would be on the show.  There are two famous people… and me:

Christo Fernández
star of the Ted Lasso show

JoJo Siwa
singer, dancer, and actress
Dancing With the Stars, YouTube, and more

Perhaps it was best that I did not know these stars.  Therefore I could hang out on the show and have fun with two new people.  Yes, they are absolutely fabulous.  Kelly wouldn’t have it any other way.  We laughed, shared stories, high-fived, and simply had a great time together.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself in this story.

At last I arrived at the studio.  As I drove under the Universal Studio entrance sign, I had childhood memories of seeing this on television or in the movies.  That made me smile.

The studio was right around the corner.  I pulled up to the entrance.

After my Covid test and meeting the friendliest staff ever, I was taken inside.  The long hallway was covered in photos of many people who had been on the show.  I wish I’d had time to study all the people along the wall of fame.

I had my very own room, a ‘greenroom’, where I waited until it was my turn.  The room was more like a suite.  It was fabulous!

To my surprise, I had my very own name outside the door!

“Jennie, we will come and get you when we need you.  In the meantime, relax and let us know if you need anything.  You will be the third guest on the show.”

They came to take me to hair and make-up.  When I walked in, I looked at the make-up guy, pointed to my face and said, “This is your challenge for the day.”  He burst out laughing!  I looked as his plethora of every tool, cream, and color and said, “I don’t have one of these things at my house.”  More laughing out loud!  We talked about his mother, my chicken neck, and life in the south.

As I was leaving he stopped me and said, “Thank you for bringing joy into this room today.”  See, I told you everyone who works on the show is wonderful.

Back in my greenroom, the taping of the show was starting.  The big television turned on and I could watch everything that was happening.  Oh, I paid attention.  Where would I sit?  How would I come onto the stage?  I needed to feel ready.  Frankly, I wasn’t the least bit nervous.  Nope, not at all.

Why?  I had been told that Kelly loves teachers.  Her mother was a teacher in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  She often has teachers in her audience.  I knew I was in good hands.  She tells the story of being on the Jay Leno Show right after she won American Idol.  There she was, a nobody so to speak, sitting alongside famous people.  She has never forgotten that, nor her humble roots.  The country western song, “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw makes me think of Kelly Clarkson.

Kelly opened the show singing a beautiful song about faith.  She then had a video in London with the actor Stanley Tucci, and his cookbooks.  They ate pasta together.  JoJo was the first guest.  She has a great story to tell, and her enthusiasm is contagious.  Gee, I should have asked her to teach me a few cool dance moves.  The next guest was Christo.  He is really nice, warm, and of course handsome.  His television series just won many Emmy Awards.  I was captivated by both of these guests.

The staff came to my greenroom.  I was walked to the area behind the set, pitch black with more computers and technology than you can imagine.  The doors to the set slid open, we waved, and I was taken to the couch where I sat beside Kelly.  While what seemed like a million people were rushing around with everything from cameras to mics, I waved at the audience, said hello to the other guests, thanked Kelly… and then I was on!

Still, I wasn’t nervous at all.

Kelly started by asking me what was the moment when reading aloud became my passion.  I told her about my first day of teaching, when my head teacher put “Swimmy” by Leo Lionni in my hands and asked me to be the one to read to the children.  Kelly jumped right in and told me her mother always read “Matilda” to her.  “Yes”, I shouted.  Then JoJo told us she loved the “I Survived” books growing up.  Again I shouted “Yes”, as I know these terrific books.  Christo told of a biography that was his favorite.  He was moved.

Kelly asked me about my blog, and about how I reach out to parents.  I remember feeling passionate about what I said.  I remember turning to the audience and asking, “Doesn’t everyone love a good story?”  The specifics are a blur.  Once I start talking about reading aloud, I go like the wind.

At one pause in the taping when the technicians were doing their thing, I had a chance to talk with Kelly.  She told me about her mother and teaching.  I asked her if she still reads aloud to her children.  Yes she does, and we laughed about keeping kids engaged.  I leaned forward and said, “Would you like to know the best book ever to read to your kids?  I have read it aloud so many times.”  “Yes, yes!”, she said.  I told her about “The Wild Robot”, by Peter Brown.

Just when I thought everything was over for me, Kelly announced there were two guests who had come to the show to say hello to me.  I was stunned.  I will only tell you I jumped out of my seat, yelled, told stories, and cried.  You won’t want to miss it!

When the show was over, photos were taken.  Here I am:

THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW — Episode 1017 — Pictured: (l-r) Jennie Fitzkee, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW — Episode 1017 — Pictured: (l-r) JoJo Siwa, Cristo Fernandez, Jennie Fitzkee, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

THE KELLY CLARKSON SHOW — Episode 1017 — Pictured: (l-r) JoJo Siwa, Cristo Fernandez, Jennie Fitzkee, Kelly Clarkson — (Photo by: Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal)

As I left the studio, I couldn’t help but stop by the sunflower wall.

After I got back home, I knew I needed to send a thank you gift and handwritten note to Kelly.  What did I send her?  “The Wild Robot” to read aloud to her children, of course.


P.S.  I look forward to watching the show on Tuesday.  I hope some of you have a chance to see it, too.

About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Giving thanks, Inspiration, literacy, reading aloud, reading aloud, School and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

142 Responses to The Kelly Clarkson Show – And Me

  1. davidprosser says:

    I expect you wowed them all Jennie.
    Huge Hugs

  2. srbottch says:

    Terrific! Well done, Jennie. You should have your own show. It would be a hit.

  3. I hope I get ABC tomorrow afternoon (weather affects over air stations like crazy). If so – I’ll be seeing you!

  4. beth says:

    this is amazing from start to finish!

  5. bosssybabe says:

    Omg omg omg 🤩🤩🤯🤯 I’m kind of freaking out! I can’t wait to watch this!!!! So happy for you Jennie!! That’s wonderful!! ☺️😊🎉

  6. What a fabulous memory, Jennie. Thanks for sharing.

  7. How fabulous! So glad you shared. 🙂

  8. Oh wow! So fabulous! Good for you, and everyone that gets to see you on the show!

  9. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful experience for you, Jennie. Recognition for a career full of job well done moments.

  10. Ritu says:

    Such a wonderful experience, Jennie! I’m so glad you’re being recognised 🥰

  11. willedare says:

    Wow, wow, wow! Hurrah for you, hurrah for Ms. Clarkson and her team, and hurrah for reading! And hurrah for your patience! And hurrah that you did not feel nervous! And hurrah for our wonderful blogging community! Just think how many books will be read aloud to others as a result of people seeing this episode…. I can’t wait to watch!

  12. cindy knoke says:

    How exciting! And so well deserved. Congratulations!

  13. Andrea Ting says:

    So very happy for you! What an experience! My new Jennie Fitzkie quote is “Once I start talking about reading aloud, I go like the wind.”! 🥰 🎉🎉 🌻🥳

  14. How wonderful Jennie. Welll deserved. We are kelly fans here and have all her CD’s, I wish we got the programme over here!!

  15. CarolCooks2 says:

    Wonderful, Jennie, just wonderful..can’t wait to watch it I’m sure you were fabulous Hugs xx

  16. beetleypete says:

    This is so well deserved! Well done to John and Alex for getting you on the show. I can’t watch it in England, but I will be sitting here just knowing that you are going to be one of the best guests ever! I hope John posts the video segment on his blog, so I can watch you in action.
    ‘Best In Class’ is exactly right!
    Best wishes as always, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      That’s so nice, Pete. I am going to ask permission to post my segment. Or, maybe John will. His wife Alex is absolutely lovely with kindness. It was an experience and an honor I will never forget.

  17. Paul Pugh says:

    This makes us so happy for you and so appreciative that our kids got to start their school learning journey from you and the amazing GCS community. Our DVR is ready to record. The kids are excited to see Ms Jennie on tv! Congrats!!

  18. Carla says:

    That is wonderful Jennie and I definitely plan to watch the show. Such a well deserved honour. Congratulations.

  19. Jolene says:

    You are amazing! I am crying!!!! Such a well deserved honor my friend.

  20. Darlene says:

    No way!! You got to be on the Kelly Clarkson show!! This is the most awesome news ever. She would have just loved you. Bravo to John and Alex for making this happen in the first place. I am so over the moon happy for you. Another Jennie story to be told over and over. xo

  21. johnrieber says:

    You are indeed a star on the show, Jennie – and Alex and I are so glad that you had a positive experience…putting on 200 hours of TV in 8 months is a taxing experience for her and her team, but she and Kelly launched the show with a goal to be kind to everyone, everyday. I’m glad you felt that when you visited!

    • willedare says:

      Way to go, John, for hooking Alex and Kelly up with Jennie!!!!!

    • Jennie says:

      Hi John! I’m so glad I did okay on the show. Apologies that I am late replying to you, but the phone calls and emails haven’t stopped. That’s a good thing. More importantly, that’s a tribute to the show and everyone who works there.

      You know the Maya Angelou quote that ends in “people will never forget how you made them feel.” That pinpoints everyone who works with the show. It starts with Kelly and Alex, and filters down to everyone, including the makeup guy. I felt it. I was lucky enough to meet Alex! Honestly, this has been one of the best experiences in my life. Thank goodness I wasn’t a flop on the show!

      I feel that thank you letters are incredibly important, and unfortunately lost these days. I have written and sent a thank you gift to Dan and to Kelly (I hope she likes the book). I need to write a letter to Alex. You can send the address to my email at

      Again, thank you, John.

  22. johnrieber says:

    Reblogged this on johnrieber and commented:
    My blogging friend Jennie is a guest on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” today and this is a look at her experience behind the scenes!

  23. quiall says:

    Well deserved! I have set my machine to tape her show and I am looking forward to seeing you.

  24. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, this is wonderful!!!

  25. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is a wonderful post about Jennie, the extraordinary teacher, appearing on the Kelly Clarkson show!

  26. Don Ostertag says:

    Wow. It is so nice to hear about your experience and the fact that a talk show isn’t always ‘celebs’ talking about themselves. You have so much to tell about how children should be put on the right path to start their education. It deserves a national audience.
    I thank John for setting this up.
    And now that you are in Show Biz, I will wrap up this comment by saying Break A Leg.

  27. Jermena says:

    Such beautiful experiences!
    You deserved your spot on the show and so much more😊

  28. Mya says:

    WOWOWOWOW! That is soooo awesome! What an experience! She must have totally loved you! Who wouldn’t!!!! 💚

  29. This is so exciting, Jennie! (I’m trying to find the episode on one of my streaming services. No luck yet.)

  30. petespringerauthor says:

    I didn’t see this blog post until after I watched you today on the show. My wife watched it with me because she has heard me talking about you before, Jennie I felt so happy for you—the world was going to meet one of the superstars of education.

    One of the truths about education is there are always obstacles to overcome, but teachers find a way. We, hopefully, not only inspire our students but our fellow educators as well. I may be retired now, but I’m still passionate about books, children, and teachers. Thanks for being a fantastic role model for so many.

    • Jennie says:

      Beautiful words, Pete. Thank you! I feel the same way about education, and if I was lucky enough to inspire a teacher or a parent on the show, then I feel proud and happy. This was a much longer than usual blog post as there was so much to tell.

  31. Jim Borden says:

    congratulations on such an honor and such recognition for all the good you do. it sounds like you hit it out of the park; I can’t wait to watch to see who the two special guests were!

  32. Norah says:

    That’s awesome, Jennie. I love the video you made. I hope you get to share a link to the show on your blog. I don’t know if the show airs here but I don’t watch a lot of television and I’d love to watch this episode.

    • Jennie says:

      I will ask permission to send a link a friend sent me, but it’s only my part in the show.

      • Norah says:

        That would be great. That’s the bit I’d like to see. 💖

      • Jennie says:

        Norah, contact Beetley Pete. He has been a fellow blogger for a long time. Well, when this snafu appeared, for people outside of the USA not being able to see the video, Pete (from England) follows John Rieber’s blog and Twitter. John is the husband of the EP of the Kelly Clarkson Show. Pete can give you the link to view the show. He is absolutely wonderful.

      • Norah says:

        Thank you so much, Jennie. I’ve seen it now. Just a couple of hours ago. Sally posted it on Fb. You did very well. It’s so exciting. And how amazing to have your wonderful work supported even further. Congratulations.

      • Jennie says:

        I’m so glad you were able to see the show. Thanks so much, Norah!!

      • Norah says:

        I’m glad too, Jennie. It was wonderful. 💖

  33. This is absolutely wonderful Jennie and so pleased and proud of you.. I am sure the show was wonderful and only sorry that we don’t have access to watch.. I bet you killed it and I have texted Kelly Clarkson Show to tell them how much we love you… I will reblog later today…♥♥

  34. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Reblog – Jennie Fitzkee is a guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show…wow. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  35. What an adventure! And you came off as yourself, a true believer in kids. You are a wonder, Jennie!

  36. What an amazing and well-deserved opportunity, Jennie!

  37. dgkaye says:

    Jennie! First I’d like to say, your audition video was fab! Also, I taped the show and watchedit last night. Your personality took over the stage! Your enthusiasm jumped out of the screen. And I was thrilled to hear you were given 50K for your literacy project in W. Virgina. You’re a star my friend! Big hugs! xxx

  38. Wonderful, dear Jennie! 💞

  39. I always have known you are famous, Jennie! Please remind me early enough, if your are going for president in 2024. 😉 xx Michael

  40. Wow, Jennie. You’re famous! How amazing to know that your message about reading aloud and engaging children in books is getting out there to a broader audience. You’re making a difference. I think I would have been a nervous wreck, but you pulled it off like a professional. Huge Congrats.

    • Jennie says:

      Diana, today at school, a former parent who is now our speech consultant came to school for her first visit to observe children. I taught both of her kids. She was excited to tell me that her children watched me on TV. Her oldest (now 4th grade) said, “Mom, It was Jennie who made me love reading. She read aloud, and I loved it.” Well, if those aren’t the best words I could hear!

  41. Congratulations, Jennie, how very exciting and wonderful. Kelly certainly does seem like a very genuine and lovely person. I am glad you had such a great time on the show.

  42. preetverse says:

    You are so kind and genuine. I can feel it just by reading your blog. 😊

  43. You are joy just like Ms. Clarkson. Loved your story!

  44. Akagnsau says:

    I can feel your excitement! Congratulations on another achievement!

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