NEW YORK (AP) — Dolly Parton is the latest musician to have one of her songs become a book.
Grosset & Dunlap, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, announced Thursday that it will release “The Coat of Many Colors” on Oct. 18. Based on her classic song about her childhood in rural Tennessee, the book will feature illustrations by Brooke Boynton Hughes and a downloadable song by Parton, “Making Fun Ain’t Funny.”
“Every year I receive dozens of letters and emails from teachers talking about how they use the song (‘Coat of Many Colors’) in their classroom to discuss being proud of who you are, that being different is not a bad thing, that every person is special and the terrible consequences of being bullied,” Parton, a longtime advocate for children’s literacy, said in a statement issued through her publisher. “It has always made me feel honored that my little song has been used in this way.”
Parton, 70, wrote her ballad in 1971 about the “rags” her mother sewed together so Dolly would have a coat, which she wore proudly to school, only to be mocked by her fellow students.
“I carried the hurt from that day for a long time before it all finally came together in one frantic moment,” Parton said in her statement. “The words just poured out of me. Of course, over all of these years my memories are all about so many people who have shared with me how this song helped them heal a similar hurt. I can see all of their faces and remember all of their words.”
Other songs that inspired recent books include Tim McGraw’s “Humble and Kind” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”