Imagine! Free books every month for every child under 5!

Thanks to a partnership between the Dollywood Foundation and the Department of Education, The Imagination Library is now available in New York City. Registered pre-school children receive a book in the mail (or by UPS) every month until they turn 5. The first book is The Little Engine that Could by Wally Piper and the last book is Look Out Kindergarten Here I Come, by Nancy L Carson.

Under the rules of the library, “A community [read DOE] must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area. The community pays for the books and mailing, promotes the program, registers the children, and enters the information into the database.“ That way the library keeps track of the books and children’s ages. The foundation is responsible for the delivery system.

Officially called  the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. it  was the brainchild of the singer/actress who began it in her Tennessee hometown. It has since spread to many US, Canadian and British communities.

The New York City program began in January, offering 60 different books in nine languages. The city also works with families and children to enhance parents' skills in reading and talking to their kids, working with groups such as Jumpstart, Reach Out and Read, libraries and hospitals. Children may be enrolled from birth to age five, and some 19,000 families are active already.

Find out more about the library at

Check out the flier here (PDF) which includes an enrollment form. You may also contact Sharon Rencher at the Department of Education for more information and to find a related program in your neighborhood.