Children at Reading from the Start sessions at Pembury

Free books for under 5's living in Hackney, Chingford, Tower Hamlet and Thamesmead.

Do you have children aged under five? Or do you want to volunteer as a storyteller?

Supported by VINCI Facilities and delivered in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, our new initiative is for families to share the magic of books and reading.

Children will receive:

  • a book every month (until their fifth birthday)

And you'll be invited to visit our reading corners to join in with fun family activities including storytelling sessions, arts and crafts, and nursery rhyme singalongs.

Dolly Parton talks about Reading from the Start

Watch CNBC’s interview with Dolly Parton and discover how we're helping families to share the magic of books with the success of the Imagination Library - watch from 08:38.

Reading from the Start sessions

Find out when our Reading from the Start sessions are being held at:

We're looking for volunteers 

This project is a great way to get involved in your community while receiving training and developing new skills.

As a volunteer you'll encourage a passion for books among children, arrange reading and arts & crafts activities for families, and improve parents’ confidence and literacy. All we ask is that you are:

  • Over 18
  • Confident about reading and writing
  • Experienced with young children, either through work or your own family
Volunteer with Peabody


Who is eligible for free books?

The programme is open to Peabody residents living in Hackney, Chingford, Tower Hamlet and Thamesmead with children aged up to five.

When will I start receiving books?

Between eight and 10 weeks after we receive your registration form. 

How to apply

Please complete the form below.






Contact details

Alternatively, email us at