Imagination Library delivers free books to children

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Starr Magee sits down with her family to read a childhood classic.

"Chug, chug, chug . . . puff, puff, puff. The little train rumbled over the tracks."

The Little Engine that Could is the first book they received from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Magee's newborn, Caleb, was born in July. That means he's eligible to receive a brand new book each month, until he's five. The best part - It's absolutely free.

"Every month it's a new surprise and we're excited every time we get them," said Magee.

Colleen McAdams says the Imagination Library was a perfect fit for United Way's mission, which focuses on education, income and health. The hope is by putting books in a child's hand from the moment they're born, they'll be more likely to thrive.

McAdams explained, "If children are ready to learn when they enter school, they are more likely to succeed. If they graduate high school, that means they'll have a better chance to getting a stable job that can provide for themselves and their family. And that means they have better education when it comes to health and how to live their life in a healthy way."

Thanks to a generous grant from IP Casino Resort and Spa, United Way is able to offer Dolly Parton's Imagination Library to every child born after January 1st, 2013, in Harrison, Hancock, and Pearl River Counties.

"That's a huge amount of books, once a month. It's 60 books total," said McAdams.

In the Magee home, two year old, big brother CJ is also benefiting from the books. That's because his parents make a point to read to him as often as possible.

"Education just takes you so far, and reading can only advance it. We actually, we read to them everyday and every night," said Magee.

According to numbers from the Imagination Library, parents who received these free books were 75% more likely to read to their children.

If you live in Harrison, Hancock or Pearl River Counties, and wish to enroll in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, just click here.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved