Dolly Parton's children's book is the newest addition to the Library of Congress

Published: Feb. 27, 2018 at 3:26 PM CST
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There's a song in her heart, but Tuesday, it's Dolly Parton's book that hits a high note.

Parton's children's book is now preserved in the Library of Congress, but its addition isn't really about the story. It's a recognition of Parton's efforts to help young children learn, and love to read.

Her charity - Imagination Library - just gave away its 100-millionth book. Those books go to children, every month, until they turn five.

Parton only had one book in her home growing up. "My mother used to always read from the bible, tell us all the bible stories," she said.

It's easy to see her mother's influence in her new story, and her charity honors her father, who never learned to read.

Even when reading Dolly Parton can't help but sing. Tuesday, she belted out several bars while showing off her book to kids from Washington, D.C.

Parton credits her reading habits for much of her success, including her songwriting. "It kind of inspires you to dream, and if you can dream, that leads you to success, and to other things," she said, "that's why I think it is so important to get books into the hands of all these special little kids."

University of Tennessee Knoxville students made the trip to D.C. to tell this side of Parton's story - one with which many aren't so familiar. "It's something so different from her music career," said graduate student Lindsey Owen, "you get to see the philanthropy that she's so involved with and you get to see all the families and the people who have worked with her and who've been touched by her."

Owen said she was struck by the library, and continues to be inspired by Parton's charity work, but for her, it always comes back to the music. " 'Nine-to-five' has been stuck in my head the entire time we've been in there," she said.

The students' documentary is due out next fall.

Parton said she hopes her charity reaches eventually reaches the billion book mark. Even with her busy schedule, Parton said she reads 52 books a year, one a week. She also claims she does her best thinking while she's reading.