Dolly Parton released her first children’s album, I Believe In You, on Friday, and with it she donated $1 million to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.


Parton visited the hospital to share her music and her generous gift. “It’s so important to take care of children whether they’re sick or whether they’re well, especially when they are not feeling good,” Parton told a group of patients, parents, and administrators. Parton’s niece Hannah Dennison, who underwent treatment for leukemia at the same hospital, attended the ceremony. Parton said the donation was made in Dennison, now 28, and her mother’s honor.

“That’s something that will help a little bit,” Parton said to the cheering audience. “This ain’t about me, it’s about them.” The singer wore butterfly wings on the cover of the album, the same as many of the children at the hospital. They listened intently as Parton gave her speech.

I Believe In You was released digitally on Sept. 29 and is now available in stores worldwide. The Country Music Hall of Famer wrote every song herself, and it is her first children’s collection in her 50-year career. The last two songs on the album, “Chemo Hero” and “Brave Little Soldier,” were inspired by Dennison’s fight against leukemia.

“We know that not only are the kids chemo heroes, but the parents are, too,” Parton said, referencing her sister Rachel Dennison‘s struggles as Hannah fought her cancer. “We were exhausted and we were frightened, but we had such good care. The doctors and nurses took us step-by-step what was going to happen, when and what to do.”

Later during the event, Parton gave a live performance of “Chemo Hero” and a few other songs from the album. She also visited some of the hospital’s sickest patients. She also shared that money earned from “Chemo Hero” would be donated to the care and research of children’s medical issues, such as cancer. 100% of the proceeds from the album will be donated to her Imagination Library organization, which works to erase illiteracy among children in four countries. Parton has given away almost 100 million books since Imagination Library’s start in 1996.

Parton says she visited playgrounds that she and her family frequent for inspiration for her songs, trying to get into the mindset of a child. “It’s different writing children’s songs,” Parton said last month. “It’s fun for me to do it. It makes me happy to think like I kid. I wanted this album to be a good teacher. Hopefully when they listen to the album they’ll learn to be better little people.”

Read more about:

Leave a comment