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Dolly Parton launching weekly bedtime reading series for kids during coronavirus outbreak

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Country music legend Dolly Parton is launching a bedtime reading series this week dedicated to comforting children amid the coronavirus pandemic as schools remain closed across the country.

Parton is launching the “Goodnight with Dolly” series on April 2 under her nonprofit organization, Imagination Library, which gifts free books to children around the world.

The group said in a statement announcing the series on Monday that Parton hopes the series “will provide a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest and also inspire a love of reading and books in the hearts of the children who see them.”

“This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right,” Parton said. “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,” she added.

The group said the series will air once a week every Thursday at 7:00 pm EST for 10 weeks.

It will also feature reads like “The Little Engine That Could,” “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake,” “Llama Llama Red Pajama” and “I Am a Rainbow,” which was written by Parton and published in 2009, among other written works.

“The read alongs will be a personal gift from Dolly to all families. Free of charge but not free from obligation as the message will be to pass on the love and keep hope alive because we are all together, you and I,” the group added in the announcement detailing the launch. 

The announcement comes as a number of states and municipalities in the country have ordered mass school closures for an extended period of time as the country grapples with the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Earlier this month, Levar Burton, the former host of “Reading Rainbow,” also said he wanted to launch a reading series for quarantined families that he said could “use some diversion for themselves” during the outbreak.

Neil Gaiman, the author of “American Gods,” and publisher HarperCollins later responded to Burton by granting the actor with permission to do the online readings.


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