Country music superstar Dolly Parton has announced a series of online bedtime readings for children which will be available worldwide.

The award-winning singer, who already sends free books to children the world over through her Imagination Library, said she wanted to "share some love" amid the coronavirus pandemic as she unveiled a series called Bedtime With Dolly.

In a statement, the Imagination Library said the aim of the series which starts this Thursday, was to offer comfort and reassurance to children shaken by the outbreak.

"Dolly hopes these videos will provide a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest and also inspire a love of reading and books in the hearts of the children who see them," the statement added.

Parton added: "This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right.

"I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honour for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators.

"They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think."

The free series kicks off with Parton reading The Little Engine That Could, which the Imagination Library said has been "a source of inspiration" for the singer throughout her life.

Other books lined up over the 10 weeks include There's A Hole In The Log On The Bottom Of The Lake by Loren Long and Max & The Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper.

Parton's readings will air online once a week on the Imagination Library's Facebook page at midnight Irish time.