There are few figures in the music and entertainment industry who loom as large as Dolly Parton. The award-winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, businesswoman, author, and philanthropist is the most-honored female country artist of all time, and her exploits outside the world of country music have made her a beloved international personality on many fronts.
However, despite her 50+ years worth of fame and accolades, Dolly has never forgotten where she came from. She grew up in rural Tennessee as one of 12 children. While her father never went to school nor learned to read and write, he was an admirable leader of his large family. Dolly maintains that despite his scholarly shortcomings, her father was the smartest man she ever knew.
Yesterday, in a ceremony at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Dolly Parton was honored for the work done by her non-profit foundation, Imagination Library, which just celebrated 100M books donated to children in need. That book: her own new children’s story, Coat of Many Colors, based on her early-70’s hit of the same name, which she read (and then sang) to the group of children assembled for the occasion.
Inspired by her father, Parton launched Imagination Library in 1995 with the mission of promoting and nurturing literacy in young children by sending one new book per month to families in need from their kids’ birth all the way through kindergarten. As Dolly explains to ABC News, she’s known to millions of kids around the world not as the Dolly Parton, but as “the book lady.” Parton jokes, “I never thought about being the book lady, but that just goes to show you, you can’t judge a book by lookin’ at the cover!”
You can watch and ABC News segment about Dolly Parton’s work with Imagination Library and their 100M donated books below:
[Video: ABC News]
Thank you to Dolly Parton for all you do to make the world a better, happier place.
[H/T ABC News]