Dolly Parton gives books to 5,000 more London children

Every child born in Southwark in 2016 will be eligible to receive a free book each month until their fifth birthday, thanks to country singer Dolly Parton.

The Imagination Library scheme was originally set up by Dolly in her hometown in Tennessee as a tribute to her father, who she says was an intelligent, hardworking man who never got the opportunity to read or write.

The £750,000 Southwark scheme, a partnership between the country singer and DialAFlight, is the first to be borough-wide in London and was launched on 19 January – Dolly’s birthday.

In total around 5,000 children will each receive 60 books as part of the new reading scheme.

The idea is to give children their own library of quality books and to encourage parents to look at books with their baby right from the start to stimulate bonding and communication, and of course the child’s imagination.


Dolly says, ‘I remain convinced that if we could do one simple thing to inspire kids and adults to learn more, it would be to inspire them to read more. Reading and imparting a love of books is one of the most important things we can do for our children. And it’s never too early to start.’

DialAFlight’s HQ is based in Southwark and funding comes from the travel company’s charity, Make My Day Better.

In the UK the scheme started in Rotherham in 2007 and now runs in several towns and cities across the UK, including west London, Luton and launched last year in Nottingham.

© MA Education 2020. Published by MA Education Limited, St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, London SE24 0PB, a company registered in England and Wales no. 04002826. MA Education is part of the Mark Allen Group. – All Rights Reserved