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Free Books for Kids

My 3-year-old son spots it right away. Sitting in the mailbox is something he knows came just for him, a shrink-wrapped book with his name on it. How exciting to get mail at that age, let alone a present!  It immediately becomes the center of our plans for the night. How can it not? It is colorful and glossy. It is unwrapped before we have the front door unlocked. We read it together three times between dinner and tucking him into bed.

In households all across Shawnee County similar scenarios are taking place as children start receiving their books through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“We began receiving these books soon after the program was brought to our area. My 2-year-old son, who I've read to since before he was born, never really had any interest in books or reading, but since getting several of these books, Otis and the Kittens in particular, HE LOVES BOOKS! On average we read this book 10-15 times a day! They have sent some really cute books and my 4 and 2 year olds love them!” Renessa Ullery Lolly posted on Facebook.

Imagination Library sends an age-appropriate book each month to children birth to 5 years old at no cost to subscribing families. To subscribe complete the registration form. The only requirement is that the child is a Shawnee County resident. If you move, you can easily update your address on this page.

Building a home library supports raising a child who loves reading. Children enrolled in Imagination Library from birth will accumulate 60 books by their fifth birthday. You can also get your child a library card and participate in pre-reading classes held weekly at the library. The library’s Learn & Play Bus travels the community bringing playful learning opportunities to eight locations.

Developing reading habits is simple. Set up a routine, a special time each day to snuggle up and read alongside your child. Let her or him pick out the book even if it is the same one as yesterday. Routine is good for young children. Sharing your time with them while reading a book is too. In fact, recent studies suggest that participation in Imagination Library increases early language and math development.

More than 3,600 children in our community are receiving books and more than 22,000 books have been delivered. Imagination Library is made possible by generous donations to United Way of Greater Topeka, The Library Foundation and the Friends of the Library.

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