Dolly Parton inspires Islington youngsters to read

Dolly Parton with some young readers

Dolly Parton with some young readers - Credit: Archant

Country and western legend Dolly Parton is rolling out a new reading project to help Islington children fall in love with books.

The Nine to Five singer’s Imagination Library, which aims to improve literacy skills among under-fives by handing out books to them, will be available to youngsters who live in one of the borough’s 2,500 homes managed by Peabody.

Ms Parton set up the project in honour of her father, who was “the smartest man” she had ever known but could not read.

She said: “I started the Imagination Library in 1997 and can’t believe that we now work with organisations like Peabody to put books in the hands of children. I want kids to love books, to have an emotional connection – even a reverence for books.

“I am most proud of the fact that every child in the Imagination Library does not have to grow up without books in their home.”

Stephen Howlett, chief executive of philanthropic housing provider Peabody, said: “Peabody is delighted to be working with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to help our residents who might not otherwise access the enjoyment and knowledge books can bring.”

n For more information, call Symone Brown on 020 7021 4211.