Dolly Parton Is Sending Free Books to California Children

Dolly Parton Is Sending Free Books to California Children

by Justine Fisher

We truly don’t deserve Dolly Parton. Aside from gifting the world with “Jolene” and “I Will Always Love You,” the country music icon is working with California legislators to send free books to children.

A new bipartisan California law will fund Parton’s Imagination Library beginning June 2023. Aimed to inspire young readers and an early love of learning, the program will deliver books by mail to preschool-aged children at no cost to their families.

2.4 million kids across all 58 California counties will be eligible to receive one book per month until they turn five. Parents can sign their children up online. In addition to the exciting news, the Imagination Library is introducing bilingual options for the first time.

Parton originally started the program in 1995 for the children of her home county in Tennessee. With funding shared between Parton and local partners, the Imagination Library now spans five countries, resulting in over a million books being given to children all over the world each month.

Free books for kids is just Parton’s latest ambitious charitable endeavor, and the saint-like singer is gaining a reputation for her huge donations. She helped fund research for the Covid-19 vaccine in 2021 according to NPR, and just this year, donated one million dollars towards pediatric infectious disease research, according to The Hill.

Then, with the 10 million dollars in royalties she received from Whitney Houston’s cover of her song “I Will Always Love You,” Parton vowed to invest the money into a Black community in Nashville, according to NPR. Writer Michael Harriot pointed out the impact of Parton’s extensive donations in a tweet yesterday.

Compiled by Billboard, the list of Parton’s acts of kindness goes on, including covering college tuition for her Dollywood employees and her efforts to raise $700,000 for residents impacted by Tennessee's floods in 2021.

Though Parton received the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy in 2022, Nancy Sinatra may have spoken for all of us with a recent tweet, imploring Biden to recognize Parton’s contributions.

Photo by Carl Beust/Shutterstock