Friday, September 18, 2015

Love, Loss And The Comfort A Book Can Bring

A touching, true story of one young brother’s loss of a younger sister, and how he finds comfort in her Imagination Library books

Each month, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library sends nearly 900,000 books to children around the world. The books are personally addressed to each special child who eagerly awaits the day they arrive in their mailbox with their name on the label.

Parents use social media, email and traditional mail to share with us how much their child enjoys the books and their personal stories. We have ways in which families can notify us when they move and need to change their address. However, one affiliate recently received a parent’s request for their child to stop receiving books. This mom asked to contact us by phone. We, of course, found the note a little confusing and obliged her with a contact number. We were not expecting what happened next.   

Here is the story as told by our local affiliate, Winkler Imagination Library

I gave her my number and she called me the next day. I asked her if she had moved or why she wanted to discontinue receiving the books. She told me her daughter, Sophia, had passed away several months ago. I told her I was so very sorry, and she said she knew she should have cancelled the books earlier, but her 7-year-old son, Jacob, enjoyed receiving the books so much, every time they received another book he would take it to the cemetery to read it to his sister at her grave site.  

She said they were expecting a new baby in September and would register the new baby when it arrived and he would be able to read the books to his new sibling.

As a committee we were so touched, we made the decision not to discontinue little Sophie, so Jacob, her brother, could continue enjoying the books. I contacted her with our decision to continue sending the books for her son to enjoy, until the new baby arrives if that met with their approval. I also asked if we could share the story.

She responded by saying, "That would be awesome for my son Jacob, he would be so touched if he could keep getting the books for Sophia, he cherishes every "Sophia" book we've received. They bring him a special joy when there's another Sophie book in the mail. I will leave it as a surprise until the next book arrives in the mail. On September 9, I'm due. We are expecting another boy, that would be very special. I'm sure that our new baby will love being read to by his older brother too! Thanks so much, I'm really touched! Thanks again from the (Smith) family and it would be totally fine if you shared our story and the joy the books have brought us!"

We wish the Smith family the very best on the birth of their new baby boy and look forward to sending out new books for Big Brother Jacob to read to him.

Special thanks to Joyce Sawatzky and the dedicated team at Winkler Imagination Library, Winkler, MB, Canada, for sharing the Smith family’s story. *Names changed to protect privacy

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"I Am A Rainbow" by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's Children's Book - I Am A Rainbow

Written by: Dolly Parton | Illustrated by: Heather Sheffield

Guest Blogger: Dolly Parton

Several years ago my friend Heather Sheffield approached me about an idea of a children’s book that focused on feelings. She had some wonderful illustrations and some great ideas – not surprising to me because her father Buddy is an accomplished writer who wrote for me on my television series back in the 80’s. You know the old saying -- the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

While most people see the world in color, I feel the world in color, so I was eager to tackle this challenge. I wrote it like I write a song. I had a melody in my head as I wrote the words to the book. It made the rhyming easy so in about a day I had the book written. Heather continued to work her magic with the illustrations once I had the words down, and eventually I think we created a pretty nice book.

Even better, the book inspired us to create short musicals based on the Imagination Library books and perform them at Dollywood every summer. They have been a big hit, and now all of the songs will soon be available on my new children's album, “I Believe in You.’’ I think that is a pretty strong legacy for a little book.

So keep chasing your rainbow cause you never know, you just might catch it!