Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Imagination Library: A Fabulous Gift

God bless Dolly Parton.

I don't care for her voice (at ALL), and I've never been to Dollywood. But it's because of Miss Dolly Parton that I'm eager to check the mailbox at the beginning of each month. I'm anticipating another brand-new book wrapped in cellophane any day now. When it finally arrives, I'll tear the plastic off immediately and head to our reading chair, where Elijah and I will discover a new story.

No idea what I'm talking about? Then it's my delight to introduce you to the Imagination Library.

In 1996, Dolly Parton launched an exciting new effort to benefit the children of her home county in east Tennessee. Dolly wanted to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families. She wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income.

So she decided to mail a brand new, age-appropriate book each month to every child under 5 in Sevier County. With the arrival of every child’s first book, the classic The Little Engine That Could, every child could now experience the joy of finding their very own book in their mailbox. These moments continue each month until the child turns 5... Needless to say the experience has been a smashing success. So much so that many other communities clamored to provide the Imagination Library to their children.

Is that an awesome idea or what? The Imagination Library has gone nationwide, and we're blessed to be living in an area that participates. What an incredible gift to parents. Parenting brings plenty of overwhelming expenses, and even if you have the means to buy books regularly, how do you know which ones to choose? We’ve gotten some duds through the program, sure (Peter Rabbit’s Book of Colors is the worst so far; my husband and I are annoyed to no end that the book doesn’t even order the colors of the spectrum properly), but we’ve also received well-known classics from Eric Carle and discovered delightful new books like Good Night, Gorilla and Ready, Set, Skip.

Receiving books through the Imagination Library can be a great starting point for exploring authors or illustrators, and it's a wonderful way to build your child's library. Reading doesn't have to be expensive. It's accessible to everyone for free through the local public library, of course, but I think it's also extremely important for your children to have books of their very own. We've amassed quite a collection so far and it has cost me very, very little between gifts, used book sales/yard sales, and the wonderful Imagination Library. Just think of it--60 brand-new books for each kid in your family!

So that's why I'm thankful for Dolly Parton. I applaud her efforts to promote reading to children! I'm sure a lot of you are already aware of this program, but if it's new to you, check out the website and register your child online today!


Unknown said...

I just love the program too! One of Ronnie's favorite books came from that program A Mud Pie for Mother. We read it several times a day! It has some torn pages that I have taped up, but we still read it!

Amy said...

speaking of torn pages...Good Night, Gorilla is the first book Elijah ate :) when he was only a few months old, all his books were still on the bottom shelf. one morning I left him alone in the living room too long and it got awfully quiet...back then he wasn't just sitting and looking at the book, he was tearing and eating the pages! thankfully he didn't do TOO much damage, but the first two pages are all taped up and crinkled and there's a hunk missing :) I was like, of all the books to ruin, why did you have to choose one of my favorites?? chew up one of the dumb books!

Anonymous said...

I heard of it, but didn't know it was nationwide. The next town over is an affiliate, but not our zip code. It's an awesome idea!

Sarah D. said...

We have Xander signed up for the Imagination Library, too. What a wonderful gift to receive a new book every month! I'm like you: I love to read, and want my child(ren) (Lord willing) to love reading, too. I'm looking forward to when Xander will be, like Elijah, asking me to read to him.

Amy said...

bummer, Danielle! I didn't actually know until recently that it *wasn't* available everywhere. I guess I should have known it wasn't possibly that complete, but that stinks that you can't participate :/

Anonymous said...

What a great idea! I wish I had the kind of money that would enable me to go in for such creative philanthropy! Thank you for telling me about that. That Dolly -- she certainly is one of a kind!