Press Release  – Stories Connecting Children & Parents

Press Release  

For immediate release
Childhood Development Initiative

 October 14, 2022, at 10am

Stories Connecting Children & Parents

As the 200,000th Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library book is delivered to Tallaght children, we hear how stories connect us, and how those connections are essential to helping babies and young children manage their emotions.

This investment in children’s futures will be celebrated at a conference held by the Childhood Development Initiative (CDI). Speakers will talk on the theme of ‘Being With’, a simple concept central to babies and young children understanding and managing their emotions.

The event explores the relational aspect of reading with children and the importance of ‘being with’

  • How Stories Connect Children and Parent/Carers
  • Relational approaches
  • Sensory-emotional aspects of reading and emotional regulation. 
  • Celebrates the delivery of the 200,000th book through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
Mum reading with a baby
Mum reading with a baby, at the launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, in Tallaght. Photography: Conor Healy / Picture it Photography
Granddad reading with his grandson
Granddad reading with his grand son at launch of a Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Tallaght. Photography: Conor Healy / Picture it Photography









Dr Ciara McCarthy, Senior Clinical Psychologist with the HSE, says, “Relationships between Babies and their Parents/ Caregivers are the most important ingredient for Child Development. Back and forth interactions with a sensitive Caregiver involving touch, tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, crying, singing and babbling, create the essential building blocks”. Ciara highlighted daily joint activities like exploring a book together provide wonderful opportunities for “being with” moments that support the child to embody a felt sense of being safe, being seen, being understood and being loved.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting programme launched in Ireland by the Childhood Development Initiative in 2019. This programme provides a free book each month for every child registered in Dublin 24, from birth to five years, at no cost to parents. The significance of reading books from birth is highlighted by Dr Marion Gillooly, Executive Director, The Dollywood Foundation UK. Marion says, “When a parent reads with their baby, they are in the moment, giving their full attention, and showing interest not only in the book but in the baby, and the baby starts to associate reading with a sense of being cared for and loved”.

Reading to your child goes beyond the words on a page. Dr Sinéad McNally from Dublin City University emphasised this, “When we read with babies and young children, we share attention around the story and give children a fantastic opportunity to hear new words and learn more about the world. Building young children’s early vocabulary in this way is wonderful for supporting children when they start to read at an older age. But reading together also provides a special shared space in busy lives that is both warm and nurturing for young children, two aspects of caring for children which are so important for early development”.

Dr Hester O’Connor, Clinical Psychologist, focused on professionals working with babies, young children and families and how they can stay present when working with parents struggling to connect with their babies and young children emotionally. “Working with babies and young families can be very emotive, and we need to be aware of our responses and how we may communicate that to parents.”

The Childhood Development Initiative would like to extend special thanks to all our supporters and funders since our launch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in 2019 – An Post, Amazon Web Services, ESB Energy for Generation, Dublin Bus, Ireland Funds Flagship, CHIS – Adelaide, Stocker Foundation (CAFA), HSE Lottery, The Rotary Club Dublin, Aldi, Shamrock Rovers, and all of our local community organisations, services and families. Penguin Random House UK is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.


Conference: ‘Being With’ – The Essence of Emotional Regulation
Date: Tuesday 18th October 2022, 9.30 am-1 pm
Location: Institute of Population Health, Russell Building, Tallaght Cross, Tallaght, Dublin 24.


Notes to Editors:
Celine Moran, Ante-natal to Three Coordinator, The Childhood Development Initiative, is available for media interviews.

#bondingwithbabyCDI; #ImaginationLibraryIreland #AWSInCommunities

The Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) works to improve outcomes for children, families and communities in Tallaght and throughout Ireland. To do this:
-We deliver evidence-informed prevention and early intervention programmes, in partnership with communities and services.
– We support the child and family workforce through professional development training and consultancies.

Media Contact
Pauline Minsky, Communications Coordinator, Childhood Development Initiative (CDI) | |