WFIT

Maureen Pao

The Library of Congress hosted a very special guest at story time this week:

Dolly Parton.

The country music legend is also a champion of early childhood literacy, through her Imagination Library. Every month, the nonprofit program mails a free book to more than a million children — from infants to preschoolers.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

We're going to end this hour with a strange and wonderful moment from earlier this week. It happened in the normally hushed Great Hall of the Library of Congress here in Washington, D.C. NPR's Maureen Pao was there.

"A busybody." That's how Raven Judd describes her 10-month-old daughter Bailey.

"She loves tummy time. She likes to roll over. She'd dive if you let her," says the 27-year-old mother from Washington, D.C.

There is one thing, though, that will get her baby girl to stop what she's doing: when her mother reads her favorite book, the aptly named My Busy Book.

When Maisha Watson heard about baby boxes, her first reaction was: "Why would I want to put my baby in a box?"

She was talking with Marcia Virgil — "Miss Marcia" to her clients — a family support worker with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative.

Giving new moms face-to-face education about safe sleep practices — and providing them with a cardboard "baby box" where their newborns can sleep right when they get home — reduces the incidence of bed sharing, a significant risk factor for SIDS and other unexpected sleep-related deaths, a study from Temple University in Philadelphia has found.

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