Dolly Parton Literacy program to help Hackney children


Country and Bluegrass Singing sensation, Dolly Parton, is coming to town!

The music legend who is currently on the UK leg of her Blue Smoke world tour, will be promoting Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,  a program she launched in 1997 to provide children a free, age-appropriate book on a monthly basis from birth through age 5.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is being offered to Peabody residents living in Hackney. The project which aims to improve literacy skills and foster a love of reading in children, will be available to Peabody residents whose parents/carers sign their children up to receive carefully selected books, the first being The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Dolly set-up her Imagination Library in 2001 in honour of her ‘daddy’ who was ‘the smartest man I have ever known’ but he could not read. The project has since gone on to put 65,000,000 books in the hands of children who may not otherwise have access to them.

Ms Parton the fourth of 12 children, has often spoke of what she describes as her “dirt poor” family. The family’s poverty and her childhood inspired much of her earlier work.

Peabody’s Chief Executive, Stephen Howlett said: “Peabody is delighted to be working in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to help our residents who might not otherwise access the enjoyment and knowledge books can bring. Books provide a mine of information and play an important part in increasing reading skills, education and the use of imagination.

“Research shows that reading with your child is the single most important thing a parent/carer can do to help children’s education and we hope by offering free books, we will encourage just that.

“Dolly’s dad and the Imagination Library which Dolly set-up in his memory are nothing short of inspirational.”

Dolly said: “I started the Imagination Library in 1997 and can’t believe that we now work with organisations like Peabody to put books in the hands of children. I want kids to love books, to have an emotional connection – even a reverence for books… I am most proud of the fact that every child in the Imagination Library does not have to grow up without books in their home.”

Talking about the benefit of parents/carers reading to children has on their lives, Dolly said: “At the end of the day, it is the family and the community that makes a difference in the lives of children. I feel blessed just to be a part of it.”

Readers wishing to find out further information about the Imagination Library should contact Peabody’s Volunteer Assistant, Symone Browne, T: 020 7021 4211 or E:

About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


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