Dolly Parton talks about the meanings behind her new children's album

Wendy Geller
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

Dolly Parton has done many things over her storied career, but — remarkably — she’s never released a children’s album. That changed this fall, when the superstar released her first collection just for kids, I Believe in You.

The album combines Parton’s cheery vocals with a variety of gentle thoughts and lessons aimed at the younger set. Yahoo Music is pleased to exclusively premiere Parton’s track-by-track discussion of three of the record’s standout songs.

Regarding the track “Together Forever,” Parton talks about the importance of being a good friend —  sharing a little detail about her own close friendships — and how it’s great to have lots of friends in general.

Meanwhile, “A Friend Like You” speaks specifically to the joy and fun of having a best friend. “Just sharing and caring … and having a special friend.”

“I Am a Rainbow” was written as an illustration of “all the moods that we are” — both good and bad. As Parton explains, “I thought it would be a good way to talk to children about their feelings, and I just thought it was a precious little way to do that.”

“I’m Here” is one of Parton’s personal favorites on the album. It’s uniquely written from the point of view of a parent who needs a little personal space but still wants to reassure his or her children that everything is fine. “The mothers will appreciate me for this song, I think,” she chuckles.

All of the proceeds from I Believe in You are earmarked for Parton’s literacy nonprofit, Imagination Library, which provides free books to children in need. Parton founded the charity with a very special person in mind: her late father, who was illiterate.

“I created the Imagination Library as a tribute to my daddy,” she says. “He was the smartest man I have ever known, but I know in my heart his inability to read probably kept him from fulfilling all of his dreams.”