How Dolly Parton is helping First Nations kids in Manitoba

Country music singer Dolly Parton is mailing 10,000 books monthly to aboriginal children across Manitoba, free of charge, in an effort to boost literacy rates for kids.

Books will reportedly be sent out to the most remote First Nations regions in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories by snowmobiles, planes, and even dogsleds and canoes. Futhermore, Aboriginal culture will be featured in many of the books.

"We don't have libraries, and Northern Stores don't sell books," explained Karen Davis, Manitoba’s leader in the program. "We have very few resources that focus on the child's early years.”

The first book infants will receive is The Little Engine That Could, along with a thank you letter from Dolly to the child's parents. The children will continue to receive books every month until their fifth birthday, when their last book,Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come, is delivered with another letter from Dolly.

Planning for the book program was five years in the making and involves no money from the federal or provincial governments. The retail cost of the books is estimated to be around $10 million. 

The project is part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, founded in 1996 by Dolly in honour of her parents, who never learned to read or write. It now ships out 700,000 books monthly to the United States, Britain and Canada.

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