When my oldest daughter, Joni, was a baby, I heard a rumor that sounded too good to be true: She could be getting books in the mail every month until she turns 5 — for free. All we had to do was sign up.
We did, and Joni has been getting books from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which is sponsored locally by Addison County Readers, for the last four years. There is no cost to families, thanks to ACR, which raises money to cover the cost of each child ($30 per year).
It has been such a joy. First, for the books themselves. Her favorites now are The Mine-O-Saur (we laugh because it reminds us of Joni’s 16-month-old sister, Frankie, who has recently started roaring her favorite word “mine” around the house). Gingerbread Man Loose on the Firetruck (so much fun to read aloud), and Pup and Bear (a beautiful story about love and family).
The other joy is simple: Joni loves finding something just for her in the mailbox. And now that she’s old enough to recognize her name on the address label, the books are even more special.
I haven’t signed up Frankie yet because … well… she’s my second kid and… you know how it is. I also worried we’d end up with two copies of all the same books. But never fear! It turns out while there is some overlap, the books are typically different year to year.
This Saturday, Addison County Readers will have a booth at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market’s Youth Vendor Day. Stop by, get to know the folks behind the free books, and sign up your kids!