What we need today is to dream and Dolly Parton is just the woman for the job. The legendary American singer and songwriter celebrated her 71st birthday this week, and is still performing like the epic entertainment icon that she is. But it’s her contribution as “The Book Lady” that is truly remarkable and worth reminding everyone about. Dolly sends kids free books and her organization can send them to your kid, too. It’s part of her passion project to promote childhood literacy and spark a love for reading in young kids.
Through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, you can register your preschool-age child to receive a free book every month until your kid is five years old. The books are hand picked by education experts and specifically tailored to your child’s age and growing literacy. You can join no matter what your family’s income is.
On the website, Dolly wrote in an open letter, “I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer. The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.”
The superstar and cultural icon started the Imagination Library in 1995 in her home county, Sevier County, TN as a way to spark a love for reading among children there. It has since expanded to participating counties all around the country and around the world.
The video is classic Dolly, and simply the best. In it, she said the program was designed so children could,”dream more, learn more, care more, be more.” Dolly added, “And by golly, it’s really working.”
It’s believed that reading aloud to children from the time they are born can really make a huge impact on their language proficiency, according to Reading Is Fundamental. Reading does something else too that is pretty immeasurable. It takes us places. In our minds and in our imaginations, which is why reading is so important.
Libraries are there for everyone, including those that might not be able to afford books, but what if the library is too hard to get to? What if the family doesn’t have reliable transportation? Dolly’s book program is like the VIP book service – the books get delivered to your home.
OK, so Dolly for president? Seriously, is there an app that just puts Dolly’s wonderful words and hope on repeat that we can listen to all day? Fundamentally, we all want our kids to dream big and be great community members and Dolly’s vision helps us get there. Thank you Dolly, and here’s to your legacy and to working together to raise the next generation of dreamers and caring humans.