Michelle Obama: Sasha & Malia Are Briefed Like the President

07/03/2013 at 10:45 AM EDT

  • Michelle Obama in Africa
    Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
  • Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Kikwete, First Lady of #Tanzania, honor the victims of the U.S. Embassy attack in Dar es Salaam. #FLOTUSinAfrica
    Courtesy Michelle Obama
  • "I am sitting here now as First Lady of the United States of America because of education." -Mrs. Obama at the African First Ladies Summit in #Tanzania #FLOTUSinAfrica
    Courtesy Michelle Obama
  • Arriving today on a beautiful afternoon in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, greeted at the airport by First Lady Salma Kikwete #FLOTUSinAfrica
    Courtesy Michelle Obama
You asked. She answered.

After taking questions from PEOPLE readers, Michelle Obama revealed that before she and the First Family traveled to Africa, she prepared briefing books for daughters Sasha, 12, and Malia, 14, so they could get the most out of the international traveling experience.

"We brief them like I'm briefed and like the President is briefed. They get a little packet of material so they understand the history of the country," Mrs. Obama says in response to a question from Bernadette in Des Moines, Iowa, about how the First Lady prepares her daughters for what they'll encounter in impoverished countries. She doesn't shelter them from harsh realities: "I want my girls to get the entire feel of what it means to be in countries that are not the United States."

She adds, "I want my kids to be educated and have as much information as they can about the countries that they're visiting."

And she has a special shout-out to Jada, a 15-year-old high school student from Cleveland, Ohio, who submitted her Michelle-look-a-like selfies: "We're sisters in power, leadership – you and me, Jada. Change the world! I expect big things from you."

Learn more about the Obamas trip to Africa – and see if Mrs. Obama answered your question:

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