Michelle Obama to read children's books on PBS amid coronavirus outbreak

WASHINGTON -- Former first lady Michelle Obama announced Friday she’s partnering with PBS for the next month for a virtual storytime each Monday during the coronavirus outbreak.

"At this time when so many families are under so much stress, I’m excited to give kids a chance to practice their reading and hear some wonderful stories,” Obama, 56, who focused much of her time in the White House on children’s nutrition with her "Let’s Move" campaign, said in a statement.

She said she hopes it will also give families a “much-needed” break.

The outbreak has closed schools across the country, forcing many parents to attempt homeschooling for the first time and stay-at-home orders have created the added challenge of constantly keeping stir-crazy children entertained.

“As a little kid, I loved to read aloud. And when I became a parent, I found such joy in sharing the magic of storytelling with my own children — and then later, as First Lady, with kids everywhere," she added.

“Mondays With Michelle Obama" will air on Mondays at noon ET, starting next week. Each week she'll read one of her favorite children's classics, including “The Gruffalo,” “There’s a Dragon in Your Book,” “Miss Maple’s Seeds” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Fox News’ Dana Perino has also been reading children’s books during the outbreak every day on “Storytime with Dana.”

“I remember learning from Laura Bush after 9/11 the important of making sure that you kept storytime for your children,” Perino told Fox News Digital. “This is what she was telling Americans and, also, Barbara Bush, through her literacy initiative would always say that one of the most important things you could do to keep children calm and reassured … is to make sure that storytime was something that you tried to do every day.”

Obama may join her husband, who endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president last week, in video fundraising appearances and will likely be involved in Biden's campaign in other ways.

While the former president is still popular with his party, Michelle Obama’s star power among progressives may well eclipse her husband's.

The former first lady gave one of the most talked-about speeches during the 2016 Democratic National Convention when she spoke movingly about waking up every morning in the White House, which was built by slaves, "and I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women playing with their dogs on the White House lawn."

Late last month, she told Ellen DeGeneres their family is hunkering down like everyone else.

"Everybody's home,” she said. “The girls are back because colleges are now online, so they're off in their respective rooms doing their online classes. I think Barack on a conference call; I just got off a conference call."

"We're just trying to keep a routine going, but we also have a little Netflix and chilling happening,” she added.