California Governor Signs Law Expanding Dolly Parton’s Free Books for Children Program

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California children under the age of five will now be eligible to enroll in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library Program to receive a free book each month beginning in June 2023.

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Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 1183, which expanded the program to children across the state. According to a press release from Newsom’s office, Dolly Parton started the program to inspire a love of reading at a young age.

The Imagination Library of California statewide program will work with local partners in each county to mail free, age-appropriate books directly to readers every month, as stated in a press release from Senate Leader Toni Atkins’ office.

Dolly Parton began the program in 1995 in the Tennessee county where she grew up. Since the statewide adoption of the program in 2004, 186 million books have been gifted across five countries. One out of every 10 children under the age of five in the U.S. receives a book each month.

California is now the 15th state to create a statewide Imagination Library program.

“We know the most significant brain growth occurs from birth to five years old, and that exposing children to reading early in life can boost brain development and improve their overall health and well-being, all while cultivating a love of learning, reading and literature,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom in an Instagram post about the program, as reported by the San Francisco Examiner.

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Newsom said that 2.14 million children will be eligible for free books through the program.

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This article originally appeared on California Governor Signs Law Expanding Dolly Parton’s Free Books for Children Program