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.
Related | Dolly Parton Will Save Us
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.
\u201cHere\u2019s a quietly wonderful thing I noticed:\n\nIf you talk to someone who was in choir or band at a majority Black HS, you\u2019ll eventually discuss those annoying fundraisers for uniforms, instruments, etc. & a SURPRISING number will casually say:\n\n\u201cOh, Dolly Parton paid for ours\u201d\u201d— Michael Harriot (@Michael Harriot) 1665064814
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.
\u201cDear President Biden, @POTUS \nMany of us out here on Twitter would like to nominate Dolly Parton for the Medal of Freedom. Nobody is more deserving of thie great honor. @dollyslibrary\u201d— Nancy Sinatra (@Nancy Sinatra) 1664681792
Photo by Carl Beust/Shutterstock
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