Dolly Parton To Give Free Books To California Children

Country music icon, Dolly Parton, provides free books to children in California. Let’s discuss how she’s paving the way for childhood literacy expansion.

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Dolly Parton gives free books to children in new California bill with her program, 'Imagination Library'

Miss Dolly Parton has been working 9-to-5 with California’s legislatures. Her mission? To ensure that all children have access to books from the comfort of their homes. Within the past few months, Parton has been meeting with California governor Gavin Newsom and members of Congress to get the bill, SB-1183 off the ground. At the end of September, they did just that.

What Does the Bill Do?

The bill’s purpose is to encourage young children from birth to five years old to enjoy the wonders of reading. In this day and age, many families don’t have funds to access children’s books for their kids, but this bill is hoping to remedy that problem. 

Dolly Parton meets with California legislators to discuss bill to give free books to children. California's capitol building.

Now signed into law by Gavin Newsom, SB-1183 is set to provide free books to children until their fifth birthday, no matter the income of the family. After a parent or legal guardian registers their child for the program, they can expect to receive the books each month.

Households across the state will be mailed one book per child. Additionally, bilingual children’s books will be offered to households that don’t speak English, ensuring that no matter the background of the family, every child will get the opportunity to read.

The Result

The new law will go into effect for all 58 counties in the state. Aimed to begin June of 2023, this bill impacts the nearly 2.4 million children that are eligible for the program. Even if only half of those children enroll, the state would be one step closer to creating a young population that has developed an interest in literature.

Dolly Parton meets with California legislators to discuss bill to give free books to children.  A group of children reading books together.

And in stunning fashion, the bill was passed with bipartisan support in the house and senate of California. Co-author of the bill, Senator Shannon Grove, stated her support for its passing

“Today marks a significant day, the beginning of a magnificent statewide program which will put books in the hands of California children at a young age, opening the door to limitless possibility for their future.”

Sen. Shannon Grove, KTLA

SB-1183 is truly a one-of-a-kind bill. More places in the U.S. should take notes from The Golden State. As the desire for technology rises, books and physical texts are commonly left behind. But this program could change all of that. Reading is an imperative skill to learn during early developmental years. And with the help of the queen of country herself, more children will be enveloped by the pages of their books.

A Tradition of Literacy

This isn’t the first time that Parton has been interested in expanding childhood literacy either. The bill actually works in tandem with an organization that Dolly Parton has been successfully leading for years. Her program, “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library” started in 1995 with the goal of getting more children to become active readers. 

Dolly Parton meets with California legislators to discuss bill to give free books to children. Dolly Parton in pink vest, reading.

Since its founding, the program has grown exponentially. They’ve expanded to include the “Imagination Library” in 14 other states. For families outside of the United States, the program now provides books around the world in countries like Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. 

With its growing popularity over the years, the program has registered over 2,150,000 recipients and has gifted 190,859,995 books to children all over the world. Now that’s a way to make a living!

As we’ve seen from countless studies and statistics, education is the silver bullet. With the collaboration of superstar Dolly Parton and California’s lawmakers, the state is one step closer to guaranteeing that all children have the chance to experience the wonders of falling in love with reading. 

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