Dolly's address to the Association of American Publishers

Read Dolly's address to the National Press Club here and Questions and Answers with the Press Club here.

March 22, 2000

Washington, D.C.


INTRODUCTION U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley: Thank you very much. (Audience applause) Thank you so much, Bob. And that's an awful generous introduction. And I'm the only thing standing between your meal and Dolly Parton. (Audience laughter) So, uh, I do get put in interesting positions. (Audience laughter) But this is one that I really cherish. (Audience laughter) Carol Rascoe is here. Carol, where is, Carol Rascoe who heads up our America Reads Challenge. (Audience applause) And is a wonderful senior advisor of mine. And I'm so pleased to be here to, in behalf of the Association of American Publishers, and all of us here congratulate one of the first citizens, really, of our country, Dolly Parton.

Now, Bob in his generous introduction didn't go on to tell you that I'm a fan of country music. And that is, that is a bonafide fan. I was for country music when it wasn't cool. (Audience laughter) And I have a record to show that. I remember my wife and I were talking today about going to the auditorium in my hometown in South Carolina. WESC radio sponsored this great country music evening, and we saw Dolly there. And "Here You Come Again" was probably what brought us there. Her great song that we love so. But I would say a lot of you people that are claiming to be country music people today really are not near as legitimate as I am. (Audience laughter) But it's alright just for this day. I think it's, it's acceptable.

I'll tell Dolly that I use country music lyrics to make a point often times as secretary. A few years ago when some members of Congress tried to eliminate my department and with that take my job, and I was fighting for the department and my job, and I used the title of a country music song when people asked me my reaction to that. And I said that, "It reminds me of a country music song, 'I Don't Know Whether to Kill Myself or Go Bowling.'" (Audience laughter) And that, my staff then gave me a bowling ball for the honor.

But I'm here not only as the U.S. Secretary of Education but as somebody from upcountry South Carolina that has really followed Dolly as a fan, and I'm pleased to say that I'm a fan of hers for more than the reason that she is a wonderful legend in country music. Dolly Parton knows how to sing. We all know that. But she has a great sense of infectious optimism that says a lot about America, a lot about America's future. Dolly's a woman of many talents. She knows something about what it means to struggle growing up. What it means to work "9 to 5." What is means to have perseverence, to get beyond the low expectations that people set for you and reach for your goals. Yes, I am a fan of Dolly's who knows that she cares about children, she cares about their education. And that's why we're here today, really, to honor her.

So, as publishers, all of you understand the economics of book publishing, and I'm sure that all of you are passionate readers as well, enjoy a good book. But just think, just think of the millions of young people, and often their parents as well, who cannot read and remain frustrated by their illiteracy, who never have a book in their home. Who then are told to learn to high standards. They often do not have books or computers or things around the house to learn to read. They remain frustrated in their illiteracy. And imagine their frustration and their sense of hopelessness, and you get a sense of what it must mean when they see the Imagination Express Train coming into view. As you know, Dolly's foundation provides a book a month for every child in her area. And it's a very, very poor area, one of the poorest in the country, but she gives it to all children, rich, poor, in the middle, a, a, a book a month for five years of their child's life, and they then have their whole library.

This nation's getting serious about reading, and we have set a national goal of making sure that every single child in America can read well by the third grade, if not earlier. We've worked hard to see some success in reading. We're starting to see some good things happening. Reading scores are up in all three grades tested in last round of the national tests. But we still have a long way to go, as you know. And we need a lot more dedicated citizens like Dolly Parton to make it happen.

Dolly's setting an example and I hope many other patriotic and concerned Americans will follow in her footsteps. And I want to ask her then to let me step aside and for her to come out and make some remarks. And then I will make a presentation to her. Let me know present you Dolly Parton. Dolly? (Audience applause)

DOLLY: Well, hello, there! (Audience applause)

RILEY: I'm proud of you. (Audience applause)

DOLLY: Richard Riley! Hello, out there! (Audience applause) Thank you.

RILEY: I have a, it's now a great pleasure for me to present the AAP Honors Medal to Dolly Parton and the AAP check for $5,000 to your foundation for books for these youngsters that love 'em and need 'em. (Hands medal and check to Dolly)

DOLLY: Well thank you so much, thanks so much. I appreciate this and you said a lot of nice, wonderful things. So I'm gonna lay this here for now, and I think I'll probably step over here to where my little speech is. How's everybody doin' today? (Audience applause)

Well, I didn't know how to dress for a special luncheon. How do you like what I got? (Audience laughter and applause) I don't envy you men. I tell you. It took me three hours to get this tie on, still don't know if it's straight. I wanted to look like a business woman, but I didn't want to look like a bull dyke. (Audience laughter) I don't, do I? I hope not. I just hope Barney Frank ain't in here. He'd kill me for this outfit, wouldn't he. (Audience and Dolly laughter) Anyway, I just wanted to say how happy I am to be part of this. In fact, Pat Schroeder, I was here in D.C. and I was talking to her, and I said, "What is the difference in a politician and a publisher?" She said, "Well, a politician will listen to your problems and try to solve 'em. And a publisher will listen to your problems and try to make a book deal." (Audience laughter) That true? I know that was sorta true.

'Course, I really want to thank Secretary Riley for the nice introduction. He's a nice man. As a matter of fact, you don't mind if I wear my glasses, do you? I'm gettin' that age now. Anyway, as a matter of fact, when I was talkin' to him, I realized that he, well, he was backstage, he was just pattin' on me and huggin' on me, and you know it, it was kinda sweet, and I like that. And, 'course, I. (Audience laughter) Well, I did! I'm married but I ain't dead. (Audience laughter) Anyway, he was back there pattin' on me, and I realized several years ago back at Carson Newman, a lot of you folks know that I barely graduated from high school much less go to college. So, they made me a, a, gave me a doctorate degree from Carson Newman College, and I was very, very honored with that, and I realized that Secretary Riley was a friend of the guy that gave me that back there. I think, what was his name? Maddox? I think his name was Maddox? Anyway, I remember back when he was doin' that, he kept pattin' and huggin' on me. (Audience laughter) And then I realized that they were in college together, and I just thought well it's a good thing neither one of 'em was runnin' for office, or I might just have to tell what they said to me backstage. (Audience laughter) I'm not runnin' for office either, but Secretary Riley was definitely checkin' out my platform. (Audience and Dolly laughter) Just kiddin'. (Audience laughter) Anyway. (Audience and Dolly laughter)

But in all seriousness, when, when I told my folks, you know. When I do these special kinda things, my parents really, are really proud of me. And I told 'em, I said, "Well, I'm comin' up to D.C., and I'm gonna be making a speech, and I'm going to be introduced by this very intelligent, very educated man, Richard Riley." I said, "He's the Secretary of Education." My Daddy said, "Well, hell, if he's got that education why's he still a secretary. He oughta be the boss by now!" (Audience and Dolly laughter) So, I thought, well, you know, I can't say. Also, when, when I was told I was going to be accepting an award and speaking to the AAP I thought that AAP was a 12-step program for publishers. (Audience laughter) And it might be, for all I know! But actually the first thing I did think when I was asked to speak was, well, Oprah must be busy. (Audience laughter) Oprah's done more for books than Bob Dole has done for Viagra. (Audience laughter) That was my thought.

Anyway, seriously, though, I did right out some things, and I have a tendency to wander, so Ted Miller from the Dollywood Foundation and David Dotson asked me to kinda stick to the script so I'd be sure to cover all the ground, but I can't keep from throwin' in my little stuff now and then.

But all the things I ever dreamed of I never believed that I'd be in front of a distinguished group of people like you accepting an award like this. And it's a long way, truly, from the Smoky Mountains to what I call the top of the world, and bein' able to be in the presence of great people like this for a very worthy cause like the education program that we have back in Sevier County means a great deal to me. Growing up in the Smoky Mountains was tough. I'm sure you heard Riley talkin' about it. But I'm not complaining. God gave me some special gift that both got me through it and inspired me to remember it fondly. And that's not necessarily true with a lot of my family and friends. As a matter of fact one of the reasons that I decided to get involved with the education and with the kids was because a lot of my family were not able to read and write. In fact, my Dad never was able to read and write. My folks got married when my Mom was 15 and Daddy was 17. They had 12 kids by the time my Dad was 37 and Mama was 35. So you can imagine how hard that was. And that was true of a lot of the folks back in the Smokies. People had to go work in the fields and, to raise their families. In fact, I used to kid my Dad, or he used to kid me, I used to say, "Daddy, they told me when I'd get a bad report card," I said, "I would just forge your name." He said, "Well, hell, how hard can that be? How many ways can you make an X?" (Audience laughter)

Anyway, my Daddy, even though he didn't get an education and wasn't able to read and write, he still happens to be one of the smartest people I know. And I've often wondered what all my Dad might have done if he had a chance to've gotten an education. But that's true with a whole lot of my folks back there. Like I say, a lot of folks ask me about my family, and they like to hear about of me talk about my growin' up days. And people ask me if we were Catholic, 'cause we had so many kids. I say, "No, just horny Holy Rollers." (Audience laughter) But I don't mean that with any disrespect. (Audience laughter) I don't. My folks loved each other, and they loved us. In fact, we kept our mother on a pedestal. We had to. It was the only way we could keep Daddy away from her. (Audience laughter)

But a book was a very special thing back then. In fact, there were very few books that survived in our house with all the kids. They'd either tear 'em up or chew 'em up or they'd get rolled up into a roll-your-own cigarette or they'd go to the outhouse. So homework to us was milkin' two or three cows, sloppin' three or four hogs, gatherin' eggs, washin' dishes and bringin' in the milk. So we didn't get the chance to have really the education we needed, either. But I did love books. So every chance I got I'd stay after school or whatever to read or whatever that I had to do to find out what was goin' on in the rest of the world. And books were not a top priority in our house with the exception of the Bible, that my Mama used to read to all us kids. And I loved all the stories that Mama used to read. And I believe those memories may well have both given me spiritual strength but also taught me the value of parents reading to their children. I know if I had kids, I'd of read to them. God didn't let me have kids, 'cause I believe He kinda wanted all kids to be mine in some special way, and my husband of 35 years and I raised about five of my younger brothers and sisters, so those kids always seemed like our own kids, and now my nieces and nephews feel like our grandkids. But we tried very hard to help them try to get an education and work with them as best we could.

Anyway, many of you probably know that I wrote a song years ago based on a story that my Mom read out of the Bible. It's a little song called "Coat of Many Colors." And it talked about the fact that you don't have to have money to be rich. In fact, the chorus of it goes like (singing), "In my coat of many colors that my Mama made for me, was made only from rags but I wore it so proudly. And although we had no money I was rich as I could be in my coat of many colors that my Mama made for me." And it was all a story about a coat that Mam. (Audience applause) Oh you don't have to do that!

But anyway, it was a story that Mama told me from the Bible because we didn't have any money, we didn't have anything that money could buy. But Mama had a great attitude, and she used to talk to us about you don't have to have money to be rich. The same theory of, of a person can make money but money cannot make a person. So this little story she told me at a time that I actually had needed a coat to wear to school. And it was down in the fall of the year. And people used to send us, because Mama had so many kids she used to make all the quilts for our bed and used to sew clothes for us, hand-me-downs or anything that she could get her hands on she would make something out of it. She could cook anything and make it taste good or sew anything and make it look pretty good. So she had made me this little coat to wear to school, and she told me the story about Joseph. And so I was so proud of that little ragged coat, it was just made of all these different colored corduroy scraps because there were not enough scraps to make a solid coat. And 'course Mama made everything sound so good I couldn't wait to wear that little coat to school. 'Cause I just knew that I looked exactly like Joseph and I was so proud.

But I got to school and the kids all laughed at me and it broke my heart, it really did. And I was really upset about that. And I was embarrassed and I was kinda mad at Mama because I felt like she had kinda lied to me or kinda set me up somehow. And I went home and I told her that, you know, that they laughed at me. And, you know, she said, "We're not poor. I'm tellin' ya, you just look around you. You know, we've got love, and we've got kindness, and we've got understanding. And there's a lot of people in worse shape than we are." So she made me feel good about that. And of course years later I wrote a song, that little song called "Coat of Many Colors." And, 'course, I had been so hurt I'd carried that hurt around for so long. And when that song became a hit, that hurt left me. (Audience laughter) It's amazing how healing money can be. (Audience laughter)

You suppose I could have a glass of water or something from somewhere. My mouth's gettin' dry, and I'm just gettin' started here. (Audience laughter; gets water) Well, I'll, I'll get it later (sets it down). But anyway the point that I was making about the little "Coat of Many Colors," well of course now when after that song became a hit I had told my Mom, that I said, "Well, Mama, you get your pocketbook," after I got my first royalty check. I said, "You get your pocketbook. I'm takin' you to Knoxville, Tenn." which was the nearest big town. I said, "I'm gonna buy you a mink coat!" She said, "A mink coat?! Where in the world am I gonna wear a mink coat? To a rooster fight?" (Audience laughter) She said, "You just give me that money!" (Audience and Dolly laughter) She said, "I can buy a lot of stuff with that kinda." So that's the kind of mother that I had.

And, of course, a few years back the "Coat of Many Colors" was illustrated and put out by Harper Collins as a children's book. And I'm sure most of you remember that. So I was really very, very proud of that. So, after I wrote the song I decided to have it illustrated. Still, wrote that right there as a children's book because I hoped it might inspire kids who were made fun of by other kids. As y'all know, it's not always about clothes. Sometimes it's about your size, it's about your color or just being different. You probably noticed, as I pointed out, that I'm still a little different. (Audience and Dolly laughter) Dress and look a little different. But I don't mind 'cause I kinda like that. I like to wear all these wigs and all these fingernails, and, and these (motions to chest). Well, I bought these when I wrote "Jolene!" (Audience and Dolly laughter) Oh, but that's another story all together. (Audience laughter) But surgery can be kinda uplifting if you're gonna (Audience laughter) keep 'em up, they keep a little upkeep, you know. (Audience laughter) But anyway, I'm sure you read all about that stuff in the National Enquirer. (Audience laughter) I'm pretty popular in the National Enquirer. Think I take up more room in there than a sumo 'rastler in a hot tub. (Audience laughter)

But, anyway, I, to receive an honor or award because you've done something that you love or are passionate about is truly personal to me. But I sure didn't start the Imagination Library to get awards. I didn't realize there were rewards for books. I just thought you got grades or graduated. Well, I'll tell you a little bit about the Imagination Library. I think Secretary Riley mentioned it. The Imagination Library is a program we started in my hometown, Sevier County, Tenn., and we give a book a month to every child from the day they're born 'til they start to kindergarten. It's about 60 books with a bookcase that's a little engine and a little caboose. And the first book they get is The Little Engine That Could, which I think is just perfect for that. Woah, I'm gettin' my pages mixed up! Um, OK. Ah-ha, and we mail the books directly to the child so that they feel it's theirs. I didn't say I's organized. (Audience laughter) I sing better than I speak, hopefully!

And we mail the book directly to the child so that feel like it's theirs. In fact, they often wait at the mailbox, which I thought this was cute. We have a lot of parents that send us mail sayin' that most of the kids think that I bring these books personally myself. (Audience laughter) And sometimes they wait and look for me. Sometimes they leave me gifts in the mailbox, sorta like Santa Claus, which I think that's cute. But they do go, and it gives them a great chance to get a gift that has their little name on it. So I think that's very inspiring.

So we hope to help as many communities as we can to find a sponsor that we can work with and replicate the program. And we just started, and we have a lot of people gettin' interested in it. In fact, we have a bank in Pratt, Kan., and we have an individual in Georgia. And we'll work with civic groups, corporations, politicians and anybody else that's willing to help us out with that. In fact, if you want more information, my folks are right are over here from the Dollywood Foundation. You may have some stuff there, but if not you can get in touch with, with them at Dollywood. And, of course, David Dotson, who's head of the Dollywood Foundation, and Ted Miller helps me put all this stuff together. So they can get you any more information.

And today, I'm very, very happy and excited to announce that I'm donatin' $7 million from, to help with the expansion of the Imagination Library all across the country from one of our companies, the Dixie Stampede. It's a dinner theater that caters to family. We have a lot of kids and families that come through there. And we've done so very well with that we thought that would be a wonderful way to kinda kick things off. (Audience applause) So we're very happy about that. (Audience applause) And, uh. (Audience applause) Yeah. (Audience applause) Just. (Audience applause) Just wait. (Audience applause) 'Course now, we're gonna need help! I can't do it all myself 'cause I do have to keep a little money back for me. (Audience laughter) 'Cause you'd be amazed at how much it costs to make a person look this cheap. (Audience and Dolly laughter) I mean I do require a lot of upkeep and I ain't gettin' no younger either. (Audience laughter) But anyway, so we do need all the help that we can get.

And, of course, we have Dixie Stampedes. I don't know how many of you are familiar with those. But we, we do so well. We have one of the Dixie Stampedes where we have all these beautiful horses and, you know, we have this great dinner show, a couple of hours where families can come. And we have one in Myrtle Beach and one in Branson, Mo. We have one in Pigeon Forge. And we have a bunch of others that we're hoping to, you know, to get started. So that's why we wanted to, to donate this money, in hopes it would kinda kick this off in fine fashion.

Of course, the mission of my Dollywood Foundation is "To Dream More. To Learn More. To Do More. And To Care More." And, 'course, when I, when we first started the Imagination Library. Actually, we've been working with the kids in East Tennessee for a long, long time. We still give out at graduate, when kids graduate, we give scholarships and do all of the work that we can before we actually started this. But when I started this I wrote a little song, or a poem, and one of these days I will record it as a song. And I had intended to maybe sing today, but I can't hardly sit down in my clothes are so tight, and. (Audience laughter) I thought well, I'll just stand up, and I'll just partly sing and partly talk.

But anyway, this song that I thought was very fitting of what the Imagination Library and just inspiring kids 'cause we used to work a lot with the high school kids with the drop-out rate there several years ago. And we really, really did well keeping kids in school. And we were very proud of the progress, 'til we decided that the best time and the best way to help kids was in the very early years before they really, you know, got all programmed with other stuff and being teen-agers. And although it's important to do all that, but I think if you can catch a child when it's young and get it programmed and learn to read and love to read and have parents work with 'em it would be good. 'Cause I truly believe, and I think that I'm a, an example of the fact, that you can come from anywhere and do just about anything you want to if you're willing to work hard enough and God is kind enough to give you all the stuff you need to try to make it. 'Course God can give you stuff, but you got to help Him. You know, He's willing to help those willing to help themselves. And I've been very, very fortunate that I've had definitely more guts than talent, I think. But I've been able to do a lot, and it's only fair that I try to give back. So anyway, this was a song I kinda wrote based on my own feelings, but I think it fits. It says:

"I've chased after rainbows. I've captured one or two.

And I've reached for the stars, and I've even held a few.

I've walked that lonesome valley. Topped the mountains. Soared the sky.

I've laughed, and I have cried, but I've always tried.

I've always been a dreamer, and dreams are special things.

But dreams are of no value if they're not equipped with wings.

So secure yourself for climbing. Make ready for the sky.

Don't let your chance go by. You'll make it if you try."


So try to be the first one up the mountain, and the highest flying eagle in the sky.

Dont' let somebody tell you you can't do it. And if they say that, tell 'em it's a lie.

Just try to think of life as just a journey. And the road gets rough and rocky now and then.

So try each day to try a little harder. And if you fail, get up and try again.


'Cause nothing is impossible if you can just believe.

Don't live your life in shackles, when faith can be your key.

The winner's one who keeps determination in his eyes.

Who's not afraid to fly, and not afraid to try.

So try to be the first one up the mountain, and the highest flying eagle in the sky.

Dont' let somebody tell you you can't do it. And if they do, tell 'em it's a lie.

And if you fail at first, just keep on trying. You're not a failure in God's eyes.

The path you're taking now can make a difference. It all depends on just how hard you try.

So spread your wings and let the magic happen. 'Cause you never really know unless you try.

So anyhow, that's my little. (Audience applause) Unless y'all wanna sing with me! (Audience applause) I keep wantin' to just let loose and sing, and I just feel funny without my guitar. But anyhow, I think Pat Schroeder had some, something else. It says, "Pat Schroeder to come up after you sing 'Try.'"(Audience and Dolly laughter)

SCHROEDER (AAP president): I was panicked that I was going to have to sing, that song. (Audience laughter)

DOLLY: Yeah, Lord knows, we don't want you to sing. (Audience and Dolly laughter)

SCHROEDER: Oh, no, you don't. You don't. (Audience laughter) You wanta know, this'll be a room clearer. I could clear this room in, in no time. But I really wanted you to know that the Country Music Association wanted to join with us.

DOLLY: Oh, great!

SCHROEDER: And they're going to add money to this whole thing. So.

DOLLY: Well, wonderful!

SCHROEDER: We thank you for inspiring us. So I'll turn it over to Rick.

DOLLY: So, I guess Rick's from the Country Music Association!

RICH MURRAY: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.

DOLLY: Well, welcome.

MURRAY: Thank you. And if you think you don't wanna hear Pat sing, you really don't wanna hear me sing. I'm the way they clear the house at the end of the night. First I'd like to thank Pat and Kenny Lee for making this all possible for us. And in my world there's a difference between an artist and a superstar. An artist can move into a superstar status. A superstar starts with talent; they have enormous amounts of talent. They are the CEO of their own business. They build an incredible business over a long period of time. They have ca, charisma, which is really unparalleled to, to the most charismatic politician that we may see in this city. And they are very humble, as I, I think you can see here today. More importantly, they really, really touch the heart. They can reach beyond the footlights, beyond the stage ,and they can connect with the audience. They can touch the heart and the soul with their music. They can make the, the audience really feel somethin', whether it's good, whether it's bad, thinking about something, and sometimes escaping to a different place where they forget about the problems that they've had in their life. And perhaps most importantly, they do remember their roots. They remember where they came from. They remember that it's about giving back, that, that those are the people that made it there and that they will use their success to help other people for the rest of their life.

I think you'll agree with me that Dolly Parton is one of the world's greatest superstars. (Audience applause) And so on behalf of the Country Music Association Board of Directors, our staff and the 6,000 members in 40 countries around the globe, we'd like to recognize you, Dolly, for your commitment to literacy, giving Americans the opportunity to read and write and experience the poetry, emotion and power of the written word and present you with a check to the Dollywood Foundation for $5,000. (Audience applause)

DOLLY: Wow, that's great! (Audience applause)

SCHROEDER: That's terrific! (Audience applause)

DOLLY: OK, thank you. Alright! Well, this is wonderful. Of course, you know, every little bit helps. And all this definitely will go to the kids, not me. I pay for my own stuff. (Audience laughter) But anyway, that is quite an honor. What? Oh, you want to take it? I thought you were, you don't get to spend this money personally either. It still goes to the kids. (Dolly laughter) Anyway, of course, that's gonna help a lot of kids, and, and anybody else wants to help, you know, we're not up here begging for money, but I think anything that we can do to help the kids, it'll be great. Also, think, that all the main things we had to? Yeah, that's great.

And I, I just, a lot of people want to know what I'm doing in my own life these days. And hopefully I'll be gettin' a chance to do more of this kinda stuff, and hopefully I'll be doing some more movies, and I'm working on a few projects and got a lot of things in motion, so hopefully I'll just keep making more things happen so we can make more money so we can help more kids.

And, 'course now, when, several years ago I wrote a little song called "God's Coloring Book." And this particular year we are opening Dollywood's 15th season. Can you believe that? Dollywood has been open 15 years. On the 15th of April we open, and we have, in honor of the children this year, we have a new addition called Dreamland Forest. And it's like this huge area, like a big treehouse where the kids can go play and do all sorts of things.

And, I had a song years ago, same as like the "Coat of Many Colors," where we also had a coloring book, and this year we, we're putting together through the foundation a little coloring book based on the little song that I'm gonna read to you. And maybe I'll even sing this one. But anyhow, every child that comes to the Dollywood opening this year will actually get a free copy of the little coloring book. So anyhow, I just wanted to thank all of you 'cause after I finish this I think we're gonna take some pictures and do all the other stuff we need to. Make sure I got these together before I start. I don't wanna screw up any more than I have. Think that's it, OK.

But anyway, this was a little song that many years ago I was just sittin' out in a field out on my farm and just thankin' God for all the good things that have happened to me because I, I'm not a very religious person, but I'm a very spiritual person. I truly do believe that there is something greater than all of us. In fact, I know there is, there has to be because I draw from it everyday. But I was just lookin' at all the beautiful things around me and I thought, "Wow! This really is like God's coloring book." So this was a little song I wrote.


Today as I was walkin' in the fields just down the way.

I sat down on a fallen log to pass the time away.

And as I looked around me, the more that I did look,

The more I realized that I was viewing God's coloring book.

I saw a golden ray of sunlight. A silver drop of dew.

A soft, white floating cloud sailing 'cross the sky of blue.

A yellow dandelion. Pretty evergreen.

And some red and orange flowers growing wild along the stream.

And the more I look around me, the more that I do look.

The more I realize that I am viewing God's coloring book.

The grayness in an old man's hair. The pink in baby's cheeks.

The blackness in a stormy sky. The brown in fallen leaves.

A multicolored rainbow stretched out across the sky.

And the purple haze at sunset just before the night.

And the more I look around me, the more that I do look.

The more I realize that I am viewing God's coloring book.

Then I turn my face toward the sky and say a silent prayer.

Though God doesn't speak to me I see Him everywhere.

For He is all around me. He's everywhere I look.

And each new day is but a new page in God's coloring book.

Each new day is but a new page in God's coloring book.

(Speaking) Thank you. (Audience applause) God bless you! (Audience applause)

SCHROEDER: Dolly for president! (Audience applause) I love it! (Audience applause) Oh, God! (Audience applause) You were just wonderful! (Audience applause) Thank you, thank you! (Audience applause) Woah! (Audience applause)

Thank you, thank you, Dolly. (Audience applause) It was just terrific. (Audience applause) Thank you. I have just several announcements A. You get to eat. B. There were not enough Anderson reports to go around. For those of you who want them, we have a silver bowl. Drop your business card in, and they will pick them up. And other than that, how wonderful. Can you think of anybody better for the AAP Honors than Dolly Parton! Great, great day! (Audience applause) Thank you, enjoy your meal. And thank you, Secretary Riley. (Audience applause)

CSPAN ANNOUNCER: Country music singer Dolly Parton received the Honors Medal of the Association of American Publishers for her work promoting reading and literacy. The medal acknowledges individuals and organizations outside the publishing industry who make special efforts to draw attention to the importance of books.

Read Dolly's address to the National Press Club here and Questions and Answers with the Press Club here.