(WSVN) - Country music legend Dolly Parton may be known for her songs, or even her “Dollywood” theme park, but she says she is most proud of her literacy nonprofit.
“Of all the things I’ve done in my life — and it’s been a lot because I’ve been around — this is the most precious,” Parton told Fox News.
The 72-year-old country singer founded the Imagination Library in 1996, sending millions of books to children each year. The organization is now celebrating a milestone: it just donated its 100 millionth book to the Library of Congress.
Parents can sign up to receive a free monthly delivery of an age-appropriate book for their child, regardless of family income. The books are sent until the children reach kindergarten.
Parton says her father, who was illiterate, was the inspiration behind starting the program.
“My daddy couldn’t read and write and that always troubled him and bothered him so I wanted to do something special for him,” Parton said. “So, I got the idea to start this program and let my dad help me with it and he got to live long enough to hear the kids call me the ‘book lady.’”
The country singer says the Bible was the only book in her house growing up, and recalled that her mother would read stories from it to her and her 11 siblings.
“[It was the] first book that we had in our home and the one that meant the most,” she said.
Parton says she hopes to see her library donate a billion books in her lifetime.
To learn more about the Imagination Library, click here.
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