This month, the legendary singer-songwriter, actress, author and literacy campaigner Dolly Parton has chosen The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper. Here’s what she says about the book:
My favorite book of all time is The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper because it inspired me when I was just a kid and still inspires me today. In fact, I love it so much I asked that it be the very first book in my Imagination Library for the children in the USA and Canada. We even have produced a musical based on the book that is performed each summer at Dollywood.
Of course, everybody knows “I Think I Can, I Think I Can.” To me, it is one of those simple but powerful messages for us all to believe in ourselves and always strive to fulfill your dreams. I often say that little phrase over and over to help conquer my apprehensions or my nerves before I am about to launch into something that is just a little bit scary to me. Once I do, it restores my confidence and allows me go from the little Engine that Could to the Little Engine that Did!
In 1995, Dolly launched her Imagination Library in Sevier County, TN, where she was born and raised. Inspired by her own father’s inability to read or write, she determined that there had to be a way to help children fall in love with books. The program sent free books to children from birth to age five and helped inspire a love of reading in the lives of the children in the mountains of her youth.