No dumb blonde! Dolly recieves literacy award

by Linda Lewanski, Tennessee Star Journal

Dolly Parton is no dumb blonde. A shrewd businesswoman with several ventures under her tiny belt, a theme park, awards too numerous to count, and now, Sevier County's favorite daughter is being honored with the Association of American Publisher's AAP honors.

The formal tribute to Dolly, for "her outstanding work to improve the lives of children throughout books," was presented to her at the Association's annual meeting in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

Dolly's imagination library program, under which every preschooler in Sevier County recieves a book a month from birth to 5 years, was honored for helping focus public attention on American Books and their importance in our society.

More than 70 percent of preschoolers in the county are enrolled, according to the DollyWood Foundation, who administers the program. The foundation's Board Of Directors voted last year to offer the program nationwide, providing assistance to communities around the country who are interested in setting up their own Imagination Library programs. The DollyWood Foundation has given out more that 131,000 books to more than 6,100 children.

"This is a woman who is really making a difference," said President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers Pat Schroeder. " The same love that makes her such an extraordinary performer is transforming the lives of kids in Tennessee, opening up a world of books for them. Soon preschoolers all over the country will have a chance to build their own Imagination Library. What a gift!"

The city of Pigeon Forge will pay homage to Dolly during their 15th annual Friends Of The Forest parade to be held April 14th on the parkway.

Parade grand marshall Dolly will unveil her new $5 million dollar Dreamland Forest on Saturday, April 15th. The bew 15,000 sq. ft. attraction will feature America's largest treehouse with hundreds of interactive games, gadgets and gizmos. DollyWood's Grand Opening Weekend has been named to the Southeastern Tourism Society's Top 20 events in the Southeast for the month of April.

Submitted by Chris Barnes of Chris' Dolly Pages.