Dolly Parton Will Read Bedtime Stories to You Every Week

Used to be that Dol­ly Par­ton was rel­e­gat­ed to the coun­try music community–well loved, adored, but hemmed in by her genre. Cer­tain­ly Gen X’ers like myself didn’t take her too seri­ous­ly, and hav­ing a theme park named after you in Ten­nessee? Not too cool.

Yet, as we have wan­dered back into the wretched, burn­ing plains of mod­ern life and found that, yes, Mis­ter Rogers was a good per­son all along, we have also made space for Dol­ly Par­ton. She is a good per­son, and she is also there­fore a Good Per­son.

Start­ing today, April 2, 2020, Dol­ly Par­ton will join us all in quar­an­tine by way of the Inter­net to read us bed­time sto­ries. She will be start­ing with The Lit­tle Engine That Could (see below), the clas­sic tale of deter­mi­na­tion by Wat­ty Piper. And lis­ten, Gen X’ers, this isn’t for you! This is for your kids! (But okay yes, it’s also for you. It’s for all of you who have tak­en on the role of par­ent, teacher, enter­tain­er, psy­chol­o­gist, and social work­er with­out any increase in pay dur­ing these hard times. You just might be asleep before your kids once Dol­ly starts read­ing. I might just join you if I can find a spare blankie.

Dol­ly Parton’s Imag­i­na­tion Library has been the force behind all this, a non-prof­it that pro­motes lit­er­a­cy and par­ent-child read­ing by send­ing a book every month to a child, from their birth till age five. It start­ed in Parton’s home coun­ty in the mid-‘80s but now reach­es 1,546,000+ chil­dren not just in the Unit­ed States, but in Cana­da, Aus­tralia, the UK and the Repub­lic of Ire­land, accord­ing to her web­site.

The Lit­tle Engine That Could is a great kick off to a series of week­ly bed­time sto­ries. Do you think you can get through this? Just repeat to your­self: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Dol­ly Parton’s “Jolene” Slowed Down to 33RPM Sounds Great and Takes on New, Unex­pect­ed Mean­ings

Feel Strange­ly Nos­tal­gic as You Hear Clas­sic Songs Reworked to Sound as If They’re Play­ing in an Emp­ty Shop­ping Mall: David Bowie, Toto, Ah-ha & More

Enter an Archive of 6,000 His­tor­i­cal Children’s Books, All Dig­i­tized and Free to Read Online

Ted Mills is a free­lance writer on the arts who cur­rent­ly hosts the Notes from the Shed pod­cast and is the pro­duc­er of KCR­W’s Curi­ous Coast. You can also fol­low him on Twit­ter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.