By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Never fear, Dolly Parton is coming to the rescue. The country music legend will be reading children’s books for children at bedtime, beginning Thursday, April 2, at 7 p.m. ET, in conjunction with her Dollywood Foundation and global theatrical distributor Abramorama. The series is titled “Goodnight with Dolly.”
Additionally, the documentary about her Imagination Library “The Library That Dolly Built,” will now open nationally the week of Sept, 21, to commemorate the Library’s 25th anniversary, it was announced this week. It initially was scheduled to open in theaters April 2 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Imagination Library but due to the Covid-19 crisis that has shuttered most theaters along with other businesses, the inspiring documentary film’s release date was pushed back. Since its 1995 inception, the Imagination Library has gifted more than 135 million books to children and is currently gifting books to 1.5 million children around the world each month.
“Goodnight with Dolly” will feature Parton reading a series of Imagination Library books all carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time. Dolly welcomes viewers and introduces the title, author and illustrator. Snuggled in bed with her Imagination Library book, she will share stories that are just right for this moment in time. The readings will be a mixture of Parton and the interior pages of the books. Parton’s books will include “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” by Loren Long, “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney, “I Am a Rainbow” by Dolly Parton, “Pass It On” by Sophy Henn, “Stand Tall Molly Lou Mellon” by Patty Lovell, “Violet the Pilot” by Steve Breen, “Max & The Tag-Along Moon” by Floyd Cooper , “Last Stop on Market Street” by Matt de la Peña, “Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton, and of course, “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper.
Once a week for, The Book Lady (a.k.a. Parton) will deliver her story with the program available across the Imagination Library, Dolly Parton, World Choice Investments, and Dollywood channels. These read-alongs will be a personal gift from the country singer/philanthropist to all families. The performance is free but not free from obligation as the message will be to pass on the love and keep hope alive.
In a statement Parton said, “This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love. It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think.”
Regarding the film’s release, she added, “Although it was the right thing to do, postponing the screening of our documentary was a disappointment. So many of our Imagination Library affiliates had organized events around the nationwide screenings, however things do have a way of working out so the documentary will still have its day.”
“The Library That Dolly Built,” is directed and produced by journalism professor and director of Land Grant Films Nick Geidner, and narrated by Danica McKellar, goes behind the scenes of Dolly Parton’s literacy-focused non-profit, Imagination Library, to show how one of the most famous and beloved performers in the world has developed an efficient and effective program for spreading the love of reading. Imagination Library started as a gift for the children in Dolly’s hometown, Sevierville, Tenn., and is now active throughout the U.S., and in five other countries, gifting 1.5 million free, age-appropriate books to children every month.
The film also provides a glimpse of the profound impact the Imagination Library has on the people through original interviews with authors, policymakers, Imagination Library staff, recipients, and Parton. Woven throughout the film is a biographical sketch of Dolly Parton, featuring rare photos and films from her childhood. Unlike most biographies about the legendary performer, it doesn’t focus on her music. Instead, it demonstrates that at every point in her career, any time she has had success, Parton has come back to Sevierville to give back to her people.