California announces expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library granting free books for kids

The office of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced plans to bring singer Dolly Parton’s literacy program, Dolly’s Imagination Library, to the state.

In a tweet on WednesdayNewsom’s office said that starting in June 2023, state children who are under the age of five will be eligible to receive a free book in the mail each month in partnership with the musician’s literacy initiative.

Newsom’s office said that over 2.4 million children will have the opportunity to enroll in the literacy programme.

“We’re working to ensure our youngest learners have access to books,” Newsom’s office said in the tweet.

Dolly’s Imagination Library, launched in 1995 in her home state of Tennessee, has expanded into four international countries (Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland) and as of 2022, the program distributes more than 2 million books to children worldwide each month.

Parton, who launched the literacy initiative with the inspiration of her own father, who couldn’t read and write, said the goal of the literacy program is to distribute high-quality, free books to families regardless of their financial situation.

“Before he passed away, my Daddy told me the Imagination Library was probably the most important thing I had ever done. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me because I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my Daddy,” the “9 to 5” singer said in a letter posted on the initiative’s 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.”

Parton has been known to use her platform to raise awareness on issues, such as donating $1 million to Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center in 2020 for COVID-19 research during the global pandemic, which helped launch the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Parton also invested her royalties from late R&B singer Whitney Houston’s rendition of her song “I Will Always Love You,” to purchase a strip mall in Nashville, Tenn. last year in an effort to support the local Black community.


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