Dolly Parton Celebrates International Children’s Book Day, ‘Literacy Is So Near and Dear to My Heart’

by Katie Maloney

Today is International Children’s Book Day and Dolly Parton is celebrating with her organization the Imagination Library.

Dolly Parton isn’t just a country music legend, she’s also simply a good person. This is why she founded the Imagination Library in 1995. The organization developed a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income. The program started in Sevier County, Tennessee where Dolly grew up. And it quickly evolved from there. Today, the Imagination Library sends books to kids all over the world.

In celebration of International Children’s Book Day, Dolly Parton shared a photo of herself reading to a couple of adorable kids. Along with the photo, Dolly wrote, “Happy #InternationalChildrensBookDay! Literacy is so near and dear to my heart. Sign your child up for @dollyslibrary today”

Dolly Parton Is Always Finding Ways to Expand the Imagination Library

What started as a way to give back to her hometown, has grown into a global charity. In fact, just last year the organization donated its 150-millionth book. But you don’t just find 150 million books lying around to donate. Dolly Parton has actively found ways to connect her organization with other efforts.

Most recently, Dolly teamed up with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream to create a Dolly Parton-inspired ice cream flavor. What’s the flavor of ice cream? Strawberry Pretzel Pie. Dolly transports us all back in time to our favorite summertime BBQs with every bite. The best part is that part of the proceeds from ice cream sales will be donated to the Imagination Library which means more books for more kids.

During an interview in 2018, Dolly Parton revealed that her father inspired her to found the Imagination Library.

“The beginning of the Imagination Library was based on my own life. And my own dad who was unable to read or write but he was one of the smartest people that one would ever want to know,” said Dolly. “And Daddy got to live long enough to see it take off and do well and hear kids call me ‘The Book Lady.’ He always got a kick out of that.”

During another 2018 interview, Dolly Parton talked about how she was proud that the organization is a part of her legacy.

“I’ve been around a long time and when you’re younger in the business, you never know how you’re going to turn out or what’s going to happen in your life. And what good you hope you leave behind. When things like this happen it makes me feel proud of who I am, and where I’m from,” she said.