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Dolly Parton to read bedtime stories over the Internet

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Country music icon Dolly Parton will read bedtime stories to children over the Internet as families across America hunker down at home during the coronavirus crisis.

She made the announcement in a video posted online, wearing pajamas and holding a book and reading glasses while flanked by a row of large pillows.

“I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love,” Parton said in a statement through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, her book-gifting program for children.

The “Goodnight with Dolly” video series begins at 7 p.m. EST on April 2 and “will focus on comforting and reassuring children during the shelter-in-place mandates,” the library said. It will run for 10 weeks.

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Up first is “The Little Engine That Could,” about a small train engine that overcomes a literal uphill battle with optimism and determination.

According to the library, the book is an ongoing source of inspiration for Parton, and it's the first book given to all children when they register for the program.

“Dolly hopes these videos will provide a welcomed distraction during a time of unrest and also inspire a love of reading and books in the hearts of the children who see them,” the library said.

The Imagination Library mails books to children from birth until kindergarten, according to its website. In 2016, it began sending out over 1 million books a month.

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The April 2 date was initially intended to be the release of a documentary on the book-giving program, “The Library that Dolly Built.” That has been pushed back to Sept. 21.