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News story

McDonald’s launches new Book or Toy initiative to get more books into families’ homes

29 Jul 2020

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An exciting new initiative from our friends at McDonald’s means that from today, parents will be able to choose a book or a toy every time they purchase a Happy Meal for their child, in a brilliant effort to get more books into families’ homes across the country.

We are proud to have supported the McDonald’s Happy Readers scheme for the past eight years, which is where toys are replaced with books for a six week period annually. We are excited that, as part of the Book or Toy scheme, restaurants will be offering the choice of a book with all Happy Meals from now on to provide greater access to books all year round.

We know that when children love reading and have books of their own, they are much more likely to do well at school and later on in life. Yet our research shows that 1 in 11 disadvantaged children across the UK could be missing out on these benefits because they don’t have a single book of their own. The widespread closure of schools and libraries during lockdown has further limited many children’s access to books, so getting books into children’s homes is more essential than ever.

McDonald’s is the largest provider of books to children in the country and, to date, has given away 93 million books through its Happy Readers scheme. To launch the initiative, two new books will be available from today - Scooby-Doo and the Haunted Castle and Scooby-Doo and the Werewolf - and book choices will rotate alongside the toy promotion.

In addition to the option of choosing a book with every Happy Meal, McDonald’s is distributing 2,500 books to local charities such as Fareshare to help ensure families in greatest need have books over the summer.

Books have the power to enrich children’s lives – they fuel imaginations, help children learn new things and support positive mental wellbeing. Yet many children are missing out on these benefits at a time when they need them most because they don’t have a single book of their own. That’s why we’re so pleased to be supporting McDonald’s to bring the magic of stories into children’s homes this summer through their new Book or Toy initiative. When children enjoy reading and have their own books, they are more likely to succeed in school, work and life, so we must do everything we can to inspire children to fall in love with reading for a lifetime.

Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive
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