How To Get Free Books From Dolly Parton's Book Club

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Through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, children under 6 years old can get new, high–quality books for free every month.

Fact checked by Sarah Scott

Have you heard about Dolly Parton's book club, Imagination Library? This book gifting program mails children a free book each month from birth until they are 5 years old. The books are chosen by experts in publishing and education and are based on the child's age. Parton's mission is to foster a love of reading in children by making the experience of reading fun and meaningful.

There are no eligibility requirements for Dolly Parton's book club except living in a community that's served by the program. The Imagination Library is now available in over 2,000 communities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Australia.

Since the program's inception in 1995, it has distributed more than 226 million children's books to young readers. In 2023, over 29 million books were gifted to children. Learn more about Dolly Parton's book club, including how it works, how to sign up, and how to start your own local program.

<p>Shannon Finey / Getty Images </p>

Shannon Finey / Getty Images

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Books

The free books from Dolly Parton's book club are a mixture of classic and contemporary fiction and non–fiction for children. Children get brand-new books that are appropriate for their age on subjects including nursery rhymes, letters, safety, diversity, and school preparation.

The books from the Dolly Parton Imagination Library strive to showcase diversity, build self-confidence, and show the importance of the arts and their impact on the world. Audio and braille books are also available.

The first title that children receive is always The Little Engine That Could, and the last title is always Kindergarten, Here I Come! Other titles have included:

  • The Bug Book

  • Peace Is an Offering

  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit

  • Pretend

  • The First Strawberries

  • Violet the Pilot

  • Jake at Gymnastics

  • Plenty of Love to Go Around

  • Last Stop on Market Street

A portion of the books change each year to make room for newly published titles. Your child will get at least 60 different books if you sign them up at birth. That's a lot of reading!

How To Sign Up for Dolly Parton's Book Club

To see if Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is available in your area, visit the availability page, choose your country, and enter your zip code. Currently, there are participating communities in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

If the program is available for you, go through the steps of registering your child (submitting your mailing address and information about your child). If online registration isn't available, or you prefer not to register online, you can contact your local affiliate to sign your child up.

There are no income limits or other qualifications to participate in Dolly Parton's book club program. As long as your area has an affiliate, you can enroll your child in the program any time between birth and their sixth birthday.

How the Imagination Library Works

Every month, your child will receive a new book from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. The books will be addressed to them, so they can look forward to getting their own package in the mail.

Be sure that you have entered your correct mailing address and email so that program staff can contact you if necessary. You can make the most of your books by checking out the parent resources, which include reading tips, printable worksheets, and extra stories.

Other Resources for Free Kid's Books

If Dolly Parton's book club isn't available in your community, you can still get free, age-appropriate books for kids with resources like:

What Inspired Dolly Parton’s Book Club Program

Country music star Dolly Parton credits her father with inspiring her to start the Imagination Library. Dolly's dad couldn't read or write because he never had the opportunity to attend school as a child. Nevertheless, he worked hard to provide for his wife and their 12 children in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Seeing her father struggle due to not being able to read, Dolly decided to create a fun and accessible way for children to learn this skill so that, even if they couldn't afford an education, they could learn about anything that interested them.

The program began in 1995 in Sevier County, Tennessee, where Dolly grew up. The first book order totaled 1,760 books.

How You Can Start a Local Imagination Library

If the Dolly Parton book program isn't available in your area, you can learn how to become an Imagination Library Local Champion and start a program where you live. The Imagination Library is supported by local organizations and individuals who volunteer their time helping children in their community get free books.

After submitting your information on the website, a regional representative will contact you to help get the process going.

Related: Editors' Picks: Our Favorite Children's Books To Read Aloud

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