Dolly cares the MOST about the little ones. <3
Let's not bury the lede. It's just too great:
That's right. Dolly gives free books to children every. single. month. For FIVE YEARS.
Gonna need a minute.
The reason why she does this unbelievably generous thing is even more touching.
Dolly Parton's dad couldn't read or write.
There were no books in her house growing up and no way for her dad to learn. This sad fact had the potential to affect not just him, but the kids too.
Research shows that kids who just have books in their house (regardless of nationality, level of education, or socioeconomic status of the parents) reach a higher level of education than kids who grew up in homes without books.
It also showed that 10% of homes have NO BOOKS. Zero. How is that possible? Well, Dolly lived in one of those homes, and while she turned out just fine, she never forgot where she came from.
Being Dolly Parton and all, she had a wonderful idea. I'll put books in homes! Simple!
So she started Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, where every child gets one free book a month for the first 5 years of their lives.
At the end of the child's first 5 years, their house will have 60 books in it!
Now of course, with that amount of books for lots of kids, she could have just started an actual, satisfactual library. But the reason she didn't is because — remember — it's important that there be books IN THE HOME. Books that kids can call their own.
And it doesn't stop there. The Imagination Library might've started in Dolly's home county in Tennessee, but it's now spread to 1,400 counties across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia.
These new locations have started their own chapters. To be a chapter of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, all that's needed is to raise money for the $2 shipping costs for the books. The foundation will take care of the rest.
As of 2013, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has given children almost 50 million free books.
That's a lot of books, a lot of giving, and a lot of love. But it really shouldn't come as any surprise given Dolly's history:
Yep. Always working to give the little ones a chance. :)
Here's more info on the chance she's giving to the little ones, thanks to PBS NewsHour: