That's right! I said "free". And it's all thanks to one of my absolute favorite people of all time- the one and only Dolly Parton. Almost 20 years ago, she established a literacy program called the Imagination Library, which promotes reading and learning by offering free books to children across America.
Literacy is one of Dolly's personal passions, as her father never learned how to read, and she saw first hand growing up how that impacted him in their daily lives. So she launched this program in her hometown community back in 1996 to encourage kids to read, and slowly the program has expanded to many other communities across the US now as Dolly continues to add to her list of partners who provide this service in conjunction with her. Today, more than 40 million books have been mailed to kids as part of this program here in the US, Canada, and parts of the UK. In the US alone, she reaches over 700,000 kids with books each month. Now that's impressive by anyone's standards!!
When I learned about this program, I immediately went out and signed up our Lexi. She receives one book each month from Aunt Dolly (and will continue to do so until the age of five!) And they are always nice hard back books. Many are titles we all know and love. She has already received "The Little Engine that Could" and one of my personal favorites, "Corduroy".
If you are a parent of children under the age of five, I would certainly take a look at her website and see if this program is available in your area. If so, just sign your kids up and they should start receiving books within a few weeks.
I can tell you right now that Lexi and I already look forward to these books arriving each month. Thank you, Aunt Dolly. It's just another reason we love you!!