Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Read to your child every day – from birth.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library can help support children’s early literacy and language development by providing a FREE book every month for children from birth to age 5. Build the early literacy skills that are important for success in school and create a bond with your child that will last a lifetime. This more than just is an investment of time in your child’s growth.

In 1996, Dolly Parton launched the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, to benefit the children of her home county in Tennessee. Dolly’s vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, 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.  Dolly created the Imagination Library because she remembers her mom reading to her and through the stories, her imagination grew.  Dolly also tells the story of her father, who could not read.  Dolly wants every preschooler to experience the joy of reading and be prepared to begin school.

lilly readingThe Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 Dolly Parton made the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to over 80,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom! Currently, over 1,700 local communities are participating in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, with more than 950,000 children enrolled to date.

Kids Can Fly’s  Goal

Helping children to be on track for meeting their educational goals begins way before children even enter preschool – it actually begins at BIRTH! The foundations of literacy and learning are laid during infancy and toddlerhood, when the brain undergoes its most dramatic development. During these first 3 years, children acquire the ability to think, speak, learn, and reason. Young children’s ability to use language and understand the meaning of spoken and written words is related to later achievement in reading, writing, and spelling. When early language and literacy skills are not appropriately developed in young children, an achievement gap or “language gap” emerges.

Parents play a critical role in the development of communication and early literacy skills. Children’s experiences with parents/caregivers and other family members in the early years is key to how language unfolds in early childhood and how children develop a foundation for their enjoyment of communication and of literacy. Access to books and one-on-one reading time in the preschool years is an important predictor of future literacy skills, and multiple studies have confirmed that reading to children every day during their preschool years not only will provide a lifetime of benefits, but is the single most important thing parents can do to prepare children for success in school.

Our goal is to foster in children a love of reading, and promote the development of literacy and language skills that are important for every child’s success in school and foundational to their school and career readiness, by encouraging all parents to read aloud to their children every day from birth until age five – and beyond.

The research is clear on the benefits of reading aloud to children at an early age, and the Imagination Library can complement and support all school-based improvement efforts by proactively engaging preschool children and their families to address a root cause of low student achievement and PREVENT the achievement gap before it occurs. The long-term economic and cost-saving benefits of this proactive approach are also substantial in the potential for: reducing the need for costly K-12 programs to address the needs of struggling students; improving graduation rates; lowering rates of social problems; and improving the quality of Ontario’s workforce.

Imagine if….

 Every child will develop a healthy love of reading, have a wide vocabulary, and begin school with the early literacy skills that are important for academic success towards post-secondary school and their careers!

  • All parents will understand their crucial role to in building their children’s early literacy and language development!
  • The parent-child bond will be strengthened through the regular reading of books in the home!
  • All Brantford/Brant County children will enter school with shared experiences by having read the same books as their peers! Kids’ shared experiences will help them to build positive relationships with each other and ease the transition from home to school!
  • Kindergarten and first-grade teachers will leverage these shared experiences to activate children’s interest and enrich the teaching and learning process!

As more children continue to “graduate” from the Imagination Library, the achievement gap will be eliminated and all Brantford/Brant residents will benefit from a higher quality of life, improved health, and ultimately realize a workforce with the skills needed to support Brantford/Brant County’s future.


A special thank you to Ontario Trillium Foundation, SC Johnson, Rotary Club Sunrise, Rotary Club of Brantford, Stedman Foundation, City of Brantford, Brant Community Foundation, St. George Women’s Institute, United Way- Special Funding, Rotoract, Lesia Way and other private donations to be able to register children.

“My two year old daughter is so excited to receive a book that’s just for her in the mail each month. We read these new stories every night at bedtime. I know this program, and my reading to her daily, is a success when she happily runs to her book shelf every night to pick her bedtime stories and when I find her “reading” to herself or her baby dolls. She points and tells me what she sees in the pictures. The beginning steps of literacy are so exciting to see as a parent!”

Sarah Cook

Thank you for making Brantford and Brant a great community to raise a family!

Kids Can Fly is a registered charity – Registration # 884476904 RR0001

To learn more about Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, visit