It was January 1946, in a small one-room cabin in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee. Dolly Rebecca Parton, the fourth of 12 children, was born to a dirt poor sharecropper.
"My daddy couldn't afford to pay Dr. Thomas for delivering me," Parton explained, "so he gave him a sack of cornmeal." Parton grew up with a "head full of dreams and a house full of love."
With the voice of an angel, Dolly Parton signed her first recording contract at 11 and released her first single Puppy Love in 1959. The talented star has recorded over 70 albums to date.
"Faith, hope, and love are the three most important words in my life," she wrote in her autobiography, "I believe it is faith that helps you achieve those things you hope for and that love is the reason for it all."
With a smile of radiance, the blonde diva was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in September 1999. "Movie Star" Parton has her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and "Hometown Girl" Parton has a bronze sculpture on the courthouse lawn in Sevier County.
"Leave something good in every day," she advised. And Dolly does just that.
She created Dollywood theme park in Tennessee (1986), which revitalized her hometown's economy, and established the Dollywood Foundation for literacy and continuing education (1988).
Her Imagination Library (1996) promotes reading among children. Started in her hometown, the program has grown like kudzu, helping provide free monthly hardcover books to preschool children in over 180 communities in 25 states.
Partnering with United Way and other private donors and nonprofit organizations, Imagination Library is the catalyst, handling program administration and empowering others to get the job done. People respond. By the end of 2003, the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs proved books for 92 Native American communities across the country, mostly reservations.
"I feel the same today as I did when we enrolled the first child in Sevier County," she said. "I feel blessed to be in a position to help any child to learn to read, and probably more importantly to love to read!"
Definitive Dolly resource: dollymania.net
Keep believing in the power of love.