I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have thought that Dolly Parton and books would go together. When I think about Dolly Parton I think about big hair, big bosom and country music. But childrens’ books?
There’s obviously a lot more to Dolly Parton than her looks! In 1996, Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library in an effort to help children of her home county. She wanted children to develop a love of books and to feel the magic that books can create, so each month her program mailed a brand new, age appropriate book to every child under five in Sevier County, Tennessee. It was such a success that it spread across the US, and eventually across the pond to us here in the UK.
This is one of the best schemes for kids in the UK that I’ve ever come across. Basically, if you sign up to this library, your child will receive a free book, appropriate to his or her age, every month until their 5th birthday! I signed up my then 1 and 3 year olds earlier this year and since then they have each received a different book each month. Books we have received so far include “The Bog Baby“,” The Tale of Peter Rabbit“, “My Sister is an Alien“, “Red Rockets and Rainbow Jelly“,” Mog and the Baby” and “Spot’s Birthday Party“, just to name a few. These are fantastic books and the girls love them. They get a real kick out of receiving the books in the mail – its like Christmas for them. Its also nice for us parents to be able to read them some different stories for a change!
So the all important question… Where do you sign up?
If you live in the US, you can do it online here: http://imaginationlibrary.com/. For us Brits, however, we have to find an affiliate that offers the program which you can do online here: http://uk.imaginationlibrary.com/find_my_affiliate.php.
I was lucky enough to stumble across the Imagination Library when I took my girls for a play at the Westbourne Children’s Centre located at Edward Wilson Primary School, Senior Street, London W2 5TL. You have to register with the centre before you can sign up for the Imagination Library. It doesn’t cost you anything and its actually a nice centre for the kids to have a play in on a rainy day. It looks like there will be plenty of these coming up, so go and visit and sign up today! You had better start making some space on your shelves…