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'Eyes Light Up:' Dolly Parton’s Monthly Book Gifting Program Delivers Joy To McKenzie River Tots

Cricket Clarke

Pre-school aged kids throughout the McKenzie River area have a chance to be part of a free, monthly “book gifting” program. It’s a local partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

The program is open to families living within the McKenzie School District. Every child, from birth to 5 years old, is eligible. Parents sign up and each month- a brand new, age-appropriate book is delivered by U.S. mail -in the child’s name.

Kathy Keable is president of the McKenzie Education Foundation. They sponsor the program.

“It is so much fun to be at the mailbox when a little one finds a book with his or her name on it. Eye’s light up!,” said Keable. “Especially in these times of social isolation, books can offer such a special learning experience for preschoolers.”

Keable said the McKenzie Education Foundation buys the books and Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library organization mails them out each month. If a child starts the program at birth, she or he would receive up to 60 free, “consciously selected” books before they start kindergarten. Sign up cards are available at the Blue River library and Post Office. 

Credit Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
Country Western singer Dolly Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995. In 2018, the non-profit dedicated its 100 millionth book to the Library of Congress. The McKenzie Education Foundation sponsors the free book gifting to any child from birth to 5 within the McKenzie School District boundaries.

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