MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Opening a world of imagination to hundreds of thousands of children across the world is what the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has done since its inception 20 years ago.
Dolly started the free program as a way to foster a love of reading in preschool children. During the past 20 years it has grown, delivering more than 70 million books to children in the US, Canada and the UK. Expecting families sign up in participating communities and their newborn will receive a free book every month until they're five.
Several years ago, Pascagoula's Excel by 5 was the first to bring the program to south Mississippi. It currently has more than 300 children enrolled.
Moss Point's Excel by 5 also offers the program for its newborns. Thanks to United Way of South Mississippi, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library is available to residents in Hancock, Harrison, Stone and Pearl River Counties.
Nearly 2,000 children enrolled through United Way.
In order to qualify, participants must live in one of these participating communities. To learn more about how to sign up your newborn for the free program, just click here and search by zip code.