Dolly Parton, who grew up with only the Bible in her house, has said she was inspired by the example of her father, who worked hard but didn’t have the chance to learn to read or write. “I thought, well, I’m gonna do this: to get books in the hands of children, because if you can read, you can educate yourself,” she stated.
As an avid reader herself, Parton reads a book each week. She believes that, for children, books are where dreams are born.
Parents in participating communities can register their children at birth to receive a book every month until they turn five. Currently, more than 1.2 million books are mailed out monthly to children in Australia, Belize, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States. The books, all from Penguin Random House, are age-appropriate and specially selected by a committee of experts. The first book every child receives – and the one that’s Parton’s favorite – is “The Little Engine That Could.”
It seems fitting that Dollywood, Tennessee’s number one ticketed attraction, opens for its 32nd season on March 16 because March is also Women’s History Month, and Dolly Parton just made history again as her Imagination Library program gave away its 100-millionth book right in time for World Book Day.
If the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world or the world-renowned cinnamon bread isn’t enough to get you out of your chair and heading to Pigeon Forge, here’s another reason: every time you visit Dollywood – which, by the way, just won prestigious Golden Ticket awards for Friendliest Park, Best Shows, Best Food and Best Christmas Event – you’re helping to support Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.
Parton founded Imagination Library in 1995 with the simple mission of gifting books to children. She saw the impact her father’s inability to read or write had on his life, and she was determined to help encourage a lifelong love of reading in children. As she says about her dad on the Imagination Library website, “He was the smartest man I have ever known but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams.”
In honor of Imagination Library’s milestone, Parton herself presented the 100-millionth book to the Library of Congress this week. Appropriately, that book was her own “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors,” an adaptation of her iconic song and a lesson to children to look beneath the surface to find true beauty. The book was donated to the Library of Congress in Washington DC, with which Parton has set up a partnership to live-stream story readings.
Parton has gained notoriety for her extensive philanthropic efforts.
After fires destroyed homes in Tennessee in 2016, Dolly Parton's My People foundation gave more than $8 million to people affected. Survivors received an average of $10,000 from the charity Participants reported feeling grateful to receive money from the foundation without any stigma or strings attached. What a beautiful, kind and caring person she is. The world could certainly use more Dolly Parton's, selfless people who truly make a difference for the better in people's lives. Kudos to her and her generosity, initiatives and grace. God bless her.
Unwrapping some statistics FYI
Dolly Rebecca Parton Dean is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and philanthropist, known primarily for her work in country music. - Wikipedia
Born: January 19, 1946 (age 72), Sevier County, Tennessee, USA
Full name: Dolly Rebecca Parton
Parents: Avie Lee Owens, Robert Lee Parton
The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.
Storms make trees take deeper roots.
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