SHAWNEE, Kan. — The Shawnee Mission School District is now the first district in Johnson County, Kansas, to partner with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has been shown to improve child language and literacy skills, enhance home literacy environments, and increase the frequency of parents reading to children,” Kimberly Hinkle, Executive Director of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, said.

Starting Thursday, September 22, children up to 5 years old in the SMSD boundary will be eligible to receive one “age appropriate” book for free every month thanks to the partnership between the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation and the Imagination Library.

“By serving as an affiliate of the Imagination Library, the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation is committed to helping foster a love of reading in children before they are even students in the Shawnee Mission School District,” Hinkle said.

Families can learn more about the program and register for the free books online at no cost.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has donated nearly 200 million free books across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.