From Tennessee all the way to Cessnock right here in the Hunter, Dolly Parton is bringing the gift of reading to kids in 2022.
Cessnock Council has partnered with the queen of country herself, to deliver one free book a month to every child who signs up for the Imagination Library program until they turn five.
Cessnock City Mayor, Councillor Jay Suvaal, said he was delighted to see a program like this rolled out in the Cessnock community.
“I know how much joy reading a book brings to my own children, so I’m really excited to support any program that gives children the opportunity to experience the joy of reading,” Councillor Suvaal said.
There is also hope it will make a difference to literacy levels in the area.
“Early childhood census data shows children in the Cessnock LGA are below the state average when it comes to literacy and communication skill levels,” Councillor Suvaal said.
“This is a practical approach at the local community level to better equip young children and provide them with the resources they need to help lift these numbers.”
It will be run by charity United Way Australia and CEO, Clayton Noble is excited to be bringing the initiative to Cessnock.
“United Way Australia is very excited to be partnering with Cessnock City Library on this innovative program. The commitment to ensuring every child born in the region is school ready is to be applauded,” Mr Noble said.
To register, parents and carers must complete a short registration form, which is available at Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Libraries and local family health nurses.