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Why Dolly Parton has helped put millions of books in the hands of children

Country music legend Dolly Parton has sold millions of records in her long career. But what you might not know is she’s also responsible for putting millions of books in the hands of children. 

Parton is the driving force behind a charity that distributes books — completely free of charge — to children around the nation.

“They get this book once a month in the mailbox with their little name on it, not in the care of daddy or mommy. It’s their little name on that book. So that’s special to them,” Parton told “CBS This Morning: Saturday” co-host Anthony Mason.

The program, which sends free books to children from birth to age five, delivered its 100 millionth book last year. Parton launched the program in Sevier County, Tennessee, in 1995. It now has partners in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 2017, North Carolina implemented it statewide.

Parton said she started the program because her father and his 11 brother and sisters didn’t get the opportunity to go to school.

“You know he didn’t like to feel like he was going to try to learn to read as a grown man. It was kind of an embarrassing thing to him I think,” Parton said. “My daddy was the one I got my work ethic from and his stamina and his intelligence.”

What she also got from her dad? Her business savvy.

“He knew how to barter, he knew how to trade, he knew how to maneuver. … My daddy, you couldn’t fool him on money. He might not have been able to read the words but he had those numbers in his head. He was a genius with that,” she said.

Parton’s dad, who died in 2000, helped her launch the Imagination Library. He got to live

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