"The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world." (Dolly Parton)
Dolly Parton was born and raised in a log cabin in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee in 1946. Dirt poor, her parents, Mr. Lee and Miss Parton, struggled to raise twelve children. Every day her father would go to work with a green dinner bucket. He would save something in his lunch -- a piece of pie or a part of a sandwich -- to share with his children when he returned. While children in the first world would not think of it as much, Mr. Lee's children "would take those tasty treats to a hideaway under a blackberry bush and have a picnic fit for a king."
Dolly thought about how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. "At night, we used to take turns rubbing Daddy's cracked, hard working hands with corn silk lotion and we soaked and washed his tired old feet." The tradition continued for decades until Mr. Lee passed away and gave his green dinner bucket to his friend Oscar Dunn. It was a difficult Christmas that year, but Dolly's brother Randy had a surprise waiting for him under the Christmas tree: the green dinner bucket. When he opened it up, he discovered that Mr. Lee had etched his name in the green paint, something he had learned to do later in life since he never learned how to read.
Dolly grew up to be a star in country music, amassing a small fortune. She became a prolific songwriter and wanted to promote literacy in the United States. She decided to open the Imagination Library, her dad serving as her inspiration. The library, now 20 years old, has donated 8.3 million books to pre-school children across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia.