Back to Her Roots: Early Childhood Education

Life Lessons from Children’s Literature

1-2 hours or can be modified for a brief inspirational speech.

A brief statement of the history of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is presented. The Imagination Library has now delivered millions of books to children from birth to age 5. The Imagination Library started in Tennessee and is now throughout the US, Canada, UK and Australia.
Short selections from children’s literature are presented followed by life lessons derived from Aesop’s Fables and the theme book of the Imagination Library – The Little Engine that Could with the motto, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.’ Other highlighted books are Leo, the Late Bloomer for a lesson to overly anxious parents; Kaola Lou for parents’ pressure on children about sports; The Ugly Duckling about appearances; Miss Charity Comes to Stay for the strengths developed from being poor; some lines from Langston Hughes’ Poem on ‘Misery and Home;’ and from Robert Louis Stephenson’s Poems for Children ‘Rain, rain, go away.’ The presentation also has some advice for people with unusual names as Chrysanthemum and from Anne of Green Gables always the question, ‘What are you going to wear?’

I relate Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goeth before a fall” to the Aesop Fable: The Eagle and the Cocks and the Cherokee tale, “Why the Possum Has a Skinny Tail.” The finale is a focus on self-esteem with quotes from Jamie Lee Curtis’s I’m Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem and Nancy Carlson’s I Like Me!. I end with the meditation from the Skin Horse to The Velveteen Rabbit about what it means to be real.

(This speech was given first to an Altrusa meeting, a civic organization, and then was requested for the Imagination Library Conference. The Conference of Directors from US, Canada, UK and Australia for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library held at hotel near Dollywood Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. I received a standing ovation. The speech also was given at the Tennessee Association for Early Childhood Education and received a standing ovation. I have now given the speech in Austin and Dallas, Texas).