A 'celebrity' court case has rather dominated the news this week, being accorded attention that seems rather disproportionate, to say the least. The BBC website refers to the case between two footballers' wives being about a "tweet that brought the nation to a standstill"...?
Away from the front pages, though, there was a report of the quite different actions and motivations of one international star.
Singer and songwriter, Dolly Parton, who funded research into a coronavirus vaccine in the early days of the pandemic, has once again used her wealth and influence for good, seeking to aid healing in a population which is experiencing huge trauma through recent events. She is partnering with the publisher Penguin Random House and the charity Give a Book to provide 200 refugee children in London with a book each every month until they turn five years old.
One of the books chosen was 'Billy and the Dragon' by Nadia Shireen, who said of the initiative: "Children's books are magical portals that can comfort, console and delight. For families who have been through unimaginable upheaval, receiving a book to share may be a small thing, but it will hopefully also be a loving, warm and familiar thing."
This is part of the Imagination Library, a flagship programme of the Dollywood Foundation which was launched in 1995 in honour of Dolly Parton's illiterate father. It has subsequently distributed more than 100 million free books, with 618,000 books given to children across UK and Ireland last year.
Executive director of the foundation in the UK, Marion Gillooly told the Guardian: "Delivering books to these children every month will give them the opportunity to experience the joy of reading with their families. We hope that this will support family relationships and inspire a love of reading that will last a lifetime."
It is encouraging to see such a programme in place. We can all do our part, though, in choosing a book for a child or a friend to help them through difficult times. I'm pleased to say that there are more and more uplifting and joyful stories being published for readers of all ages! Take a look at my website for my suggestions for great fiction and non-fiction titles, or ask for recommendations from the team in your independent bookshop and support your local community too!
Thank you for reading.