A Book Club Built for Kids

A Book Club Built for KidsCourtesy Linda Richter
Tim Richter and his wife, Linda, had taught for over 30 years near Buffalo, New York—he in computers, she in special education. “Teaching means everything to us,” Tim would say. In April 1998, he learned he would need a quadruple bypass. It was the kind of news that leads to some serious thinking about life’s purpose.

Not long after the surgery, Tim saw a brochure describing Imagination Library, a program started by Dolly Parton’s foundation that mailed a book every month to children from birth to age five in the singer’s home county of Sevier, Tennessee. “I thought, Maybe Linda and I could do something like this when we retire,” Tim recalls. He placed the brochure on his dresser, “as a motivational thing.”

Five years later, now retired and with that brochure still on the dresser, Tim clicked on imaginationlibrary.com. The program had been opened up to “affiliates,” partners who could take advantage of book and postage discounts.

The quality of the books was paramount to the Richters. Rather than sign up online, they packed their bags for Dollywood for a look-see. “We didn’t want to give the children trash,” says Linda. The books—reviewed each year by teachers, literacy specialists, and Dollywood board members—included classics such as Ezra Jack Keats’s The Snowy Day and newer titles like Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama series.

Satisfied, the couple set up the Richter Family Foundation and got to work. Since 2004, they have shipped more than 12,200 books to preschoolers in their area. Megan Williams, a mother of four, is more than appreciative: “This program introduces us to titles I’ve never heard of.”

The Richters spend about $400 a month sending books to 200 children. “Some people sit on their fanny and wait to die,” says Tim. “Others get as busy as they can in the time they have left.”

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram


A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.


Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”


Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.