“…dream of doing more with your life, learn from everything you see and do, care for everyone and everything that crosses your path, and be more than you ever dreamed you could become.”
Dolly Parton, Dream More
Dolly’s a dynamo, it’s true: she’s a singer, the creator of more than 3,000 songs, an actress, a sharp-as-a-tack businesswoman, and a supporter of young artists and musicians. If that’s not enough, she’s also an author, a book lover, and a philanthropist. Her new book, Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You (love that title!) is an inspirational guide that shares her story, philosophy of life, and invites readers to dream more boldly. Now that’s a song we can all dance to!
It’s always inspiring to me to learn more about an artist who spins out her or his creativity in lots of directions. Songs, books, and wordsmithing on a grand scale: well into her sixties, Dolly’s still dreaming big. One of her goals is to write her life story as a musical and take it to Broadway; she’s already written most of the songs and a lot of the dialogue. In her mind, I guess there’s just nothing she can’t do. That’s the kind of bold headlongedness we all need.
And here’s something wonderful on the literary front: Dolly’s also helping to create pint-sized dreamers. In 1996, she set up “Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library,” a program with the goal of giving every child in Sevier County, Tennessee one book every month from the day they were born until the day they started kindergarten. Her idea took off like wildfire. In 2000, she decided to make her program available to any community that would partner with her. Today her Imagination Library has blossomed from a tiny program that donated a few dozen books to a global enterprise that’s distributed 40 million books — isn’t that amazing? — to kids in the US, Canada, and the UK. Over 1600 communities send books to 700,000 kids each month.
As a Dolly puts it, “kids are most impressionable those years between 1 and 5. I do think it’s so important” to nurture their love of books. Results show that her campaign is dramatically improving childhood literary.
What could be more satisfying than putting wonderful books into the hands and hearts of little children? I just love the idea that Dolly started out by wanting to give back to her own home state of Tennessee and has ended up sending books to kids “across the pond.” And 40 million books — fabulous, isn’t it? Dolly’s a dreamer who works hard to make her dreams come true: Let’s borrow a leaf from her book — and write on!