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Country music superstar Dolly Parton has launched a new charity initiative as part of her Dollywood Foundation, where free books will be made available to children in foster care across Scotland.

The Dollywood Foundation project proved successful in the US and other parts of the UK, after Parton developed it in 1995 for her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee.

And now celebrity Parton is working with the Scottish government and the Scottish Book Trust to launch the ‘Imagination Library scheme’, in which youngsters in care in Scotland will be given a free book every month until their fifth birthday.

The Scottish project is the first to run on a national basis, purely for children in care.

“When I started the Imagination Library in my hometown, I never dreamed that one day we would be helping Scottish kids," says Parton, “Much of my music has been inspired by Scotland, so it’s only right that we are now in a position to bring more joy into the lives of the nation’s looked-after children…From the bottom of my country heart, I want to thank the Scottish government and the Scottish Book Trust for asking us to be part of something so special.”

Children’s Minister Adam Ingram added: “Research also shows that children whose parents and carers talk to them frequently have better language skills than those who do not and that the presence of books in the home can have an important impact on long-term achievement.”

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