Dolly Parton, 77, Opens Up About Being ‘Bullied’ For Being ‘Very Poor’ As A Child
The country music star Dolly Parton has revealed that she was "bullied" as a child for being "very poor" in Tennessee.
The country music legend Dolly Parton has built up a fortune that is worth an estimated $650 million over her decades in the business, but she’s never forgotten her roots growing up in poverty in rural Tennessee.
While promoting her new children’s book “Billy the Kid Makes It Big,” which is based partly on her own childhood, Parton opened up about being “bullied” as a child for being “very poor.”
The official cover of Dolly’s upcoming children’s book Dolly Parton’s Billy the Kid Makes It Big, out on April 25th. pic.twitter.com/jeOmSDPQkU
— Dolly Parton News (@PartonNews) December 8, 2022
Parton Was ‘Bullied’ For Being ‘Very Poor’
“This little book, ‘Billy the Kid Makes It Big,’ it’s really about what I’m about too,” Parton, 77, told People Magazine. “Music and a positive attitude, and it’s about standing up to bullies and just having the confidence that you can do what you dream about doing, if you just keep on going and doing it. So it just seemed Billy was a perfect little voice piece for us to have great messages for kids, because kids relate to animals, as you know.”
Based on her own childhood, Parton can relate to having to deal with bullies all too well.
“We were a very poor, big family, and we didn’t have good clothes and all the stuff like that. So we got bullied,” she explained.
Dolly Parton, who just released her own children's book called "Billy the Kid Makes it Big" and has a rock album on the way, talks about staying busy and when she will retire. pic.twitter.com/ahtlKHpstl
— AP Entertainment (@APEntertainment) April 26, 2023
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Related: Dolly Parton Reveals Real Reason Her Husband Of 57 Years Stays Out Of The Spotlight
Parton’s Childhood Literacy Mission
Childhood literacy is an issue that Parton has been devoted to for decades. Back in 1995, she founded her Imagination Library, which has since handed out more than 200 million books to over 2 million children.
“I got started doing this because of my own father,” Parton stated. “We’re very country people, living out in the woods as so many families are, very poor and they have to work in the fields and everybody has to do their part to make it.”
“My dad was from a huge family too, 13 or 14 kids,” she continued. “He never got a chance to go to school. And Daddy was so smart and so hardworking, was a good daddy, but he couldn’t read and write and that troubled him. And so, I got the idea that I wanted to do something for my dad.”
Parton later told NPR that her father “was the smartest man I’ve ever known.”
“But I knew in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from seeing all his dreams come true,” she added. “If you can teach children to read, that teaches them to dream. And if you can dream, you can be successful. And if you’re successful, then you’ve got a good life ahead of you.”
100 million books to kids in honor of her father who couldn’t read or write. Thank you Dolly Parton!!! ♥️ pic.twitter.com/1IN9hvI0QR
— Patrick Schwarz (@Patrykschw1) December 24, 2020
Related: Dolly Parton’s Sister Stella Slams Woke Left – ‘White People Aren’t All Evil’
Parton Doubles Down
Parton further opened up about her mission on the Imagination Library website.
“When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true,” she said. “I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.”
“The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world,” Parton continued.
Woman of the day: Dolly Parton (1946–) who grew up poor, 4th of 12 children of an illiterate father. I found out yesterday her Imagination Library has given away more than 125,000,000 children’s books. pic.twitter.com/8smPMA0hIV
— Julie Sullivan 朧淺夫人 (@Webwight) September 13, 2019
Parton is one of the most beloved people in the entertainment world for a reason. She’s never forgotten where she came from, and she uses her wealth and fame to help others. If her father were alive today, he’d definitely be proud of all the work Parton has done to help children everywhere learn to read.
We can’t help but think that the kids who dared to bully Parton and her family back in the day must really regret it now!
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