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American treasure Dolly Parton wants to read you to sleep from her “Tennessee Mountain Home.”
The country music icon is known around the world as “The Book Lady,” and her Imagination Library is a program in partnership with The Dollywood Foundation that has donated more than 135 million books to children across the planet since it started in 1995. Celebrating its 25th year, Imagination Library currently gives 1.5 million books to kids each month. And now Parton’s going to personally read them to us with her charming southern twang and lovely personality.
Starting April 2, Parton will take to social media to read a classic book from the Imagination Library every Thursday night at 7 p.m. EST for the next 10 weeks. The series, adorably called “Goodnight With Dolly,” will feature beloved books like “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” by Loren Long, and even two of Parton’s own children books, “I Am a Rainbow” and “Coat of Many Colors.”
“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right,” Parton explained. “I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh, and they make us think."
Parton initially created Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library as a gift to her hometown of Sevierville, Tennessee. Now reaching kids in all 50 states and five countries, the program is chronicled in a new documentary titled “The Library That Dolly Built,” set to be released the week of Sept. 21, after being pushed back amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although it was the right thing to do, postponing the screening of our documentary was a disappointment. So many of our Imagination Library affiliates had organized events around the nationwide screenings; however, things do have a way of working out, so the documentary will still have its day,” Parton said.
The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of Imagination Library to show how Parton has reached the lives of millions of children by spreading the love of literature and reading.
But though we have to wait for Parton’s documentary, all our hearts should be happy we now have a weekly date with her to cuddle up with a good book and a familiar face. To catch Parton’s readings, simply head to her personal social media accounts, or the accounts for Imagination Library and Dollywood.
If you need more Dolly between each Thursday reading, you can always stream Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings on Netflix or start planning a future trip to Dollywood— the best theme park in America, if you’re asking me — for once we’re all able to get outside and travel again.