Imagination Library Graduate

Ian loves books and has for as long as I can remember.  This is in part because of his participation in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which started at a very young age.

In the state of Tennessee and a few others, children can be registered at birth and receive a book a month until they turn 5 years old.  Isn’t that an amazing gift?  I certainly think so!!

Pictured is Ian reading the first book that he got in the program — “Skippyjon Jones Up & Down” by Judy Schachner.  He was fascinated with the pictures and story. He enjoyed listening to us read it to him too.

We didn’t register him until he was about 7 months old so he still didn’t receive all of the books he could have during this first 5 years of life, but he now has an impressive collection.

Since he turned 5 years old on Tuesday, he has graduated from this program.  I am a bit sad since we so looked forward to what the books would be each month.  They were right on track with his age and interest.  Clearly they have a staff who knows about children’s books.

The good thing about this program was him seeing and reading books that we probably wouldn’t have picked on our own or hadn’t heard about.  Now he likes a variety of books and has learned to love reading.

Imagination Library was created by Dolly Parton.  She grew up in Tennessee and wanted to do something to give back to the community and the state.  Thank God for Dolly since she has done so much for childhood literacy!

This morning I looked at the program’s web site ( and saw that more than 600,000 children are currently enrolled.  That is an amazing amount of books being given away!

The book that Ian received this week for graduation includes a really nice letter from Dolly Parton.  The book itself is about kindergarten, “Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!” by Nancy Carlson. This is great for getting kids ready for the next step.

Dolly Parton’s graduation letter says in part, “My, how time flies.  It seems it was only yesterday when your family and friends read you your first story.  You were just a baby.  Now you’re five years old and about to go to school.  How exciting!

“This may be your last book from my Imagination Library but you have to promise me you will keep on reading,”  the letter continues.

Yes, Mrs. Parton, we promise to continue reading and will go to our local library regularly to keep the love of reading alive in Ian!

We also like the new and used book stores, and Ian has a closet in his room that is his at-home library.  He will often say, “Mommy, I’m reading in my library.”  I love to hear that sentence!

My dream would be to write a children’s book that would be included in this collection!  That would truly be amazing!

Some of our favorites from this program have been:

  • “Skippyjon Jones Up & Down” by Judy Schachner
  • “Otis” by Loren Long
  • “Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain” by Verna Aardema
  • “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats, a winner of The Caldecott Medal
  • “The House That Jack Built” by Jeanette Winter
  • “Easy Street” by Rita Gray (about how roads are made)
  • “The Tale of Pip and Squeak” by Kate Duke
  • “Firefighters to the Rescue!” by Kersten Hamilton
  • “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper
  • “Holler Loudly” by Cynthia Leitich Smith

We will continue to read and hopefully can provide new books to Ian on a regular basis.  And, we hope that this program continues to grow and awaken the love of books in other children as it has in Ian.

Thanks again to Dolly Parton and the entire Imagination Library staff and authors of the books!  You are providing such an amazing service to so many!!