McDonald’s To Give Away Books With Happy Meals in Britain

McDonald's is set to become the largest children's book distributor in the UK with their new Happy Readers program.

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A flag blows in the wind above a McDonald's restaurant

REUTERS/Mike Blake

Along with burgers and fries, McDonald’s is going to be serving up children’s literacy. The fast food franchise is set to start offering books as the prize in children’s Happy Meals instead of cheap toys — in the U.K., at least.

Following a pilot program, which gave nine million books away last year, McDonald’s committed to a longer promotion, which is backed by Britain’s National Literacy Trust. The super-sized book giveaway, called “Happy Readers,” kicked off today with a five-week promotion of non-fiction books from DK Books’ Amazing World series. According to The Telegraph, young readers can also opt to choose their own books at a local retailer, W.H. Smith.

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“Our research tells us that there is a very clear link between book ownership and children’s future success in life, so it is very concerning that one in three children in the U.K. doesn’t own a book, and half of kids don’t really enjoy reading,” Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust, told the Telegraph. “Initiatives like McDonald’s Happy Readers campaign play an important role in getting more books into the hands of children, and inspiring families to read together as a fun and interactive pastime.”

If they meet their expectations to distribute one book with each Happy Meal sold in the U.K., McDonald’s estimates that they will become the largest children’s book distributor in the country, with a total of 15 million books handed out by the end of 2014.

McDonald’s currently has no plans to bring the Happy Readers initiative to the United States, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t come here in the future, Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, Vice President of Global External Communications, told Yahoo! Shine.

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36 comments
Susan Innes
Susan Innes

they need to bring this to the states

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Lia Kes
Lia Kes

I'd die reading about McDonald's giving away apples!

Yvette Marie Gaudreau
Yvette Marie Gaudreau

I liked it at first but then thought well the poor kids might start reading and then have more hope for their lives which is only going to benefit the rich in making them suffer. it is enlgand. wher your station in life is your station in life.

Pat Collender
Pat Collender

Great idea but what is more important is that Mc Donalds should provide more healthy meals as an alternative to burgers and fries as there is a very serious epidemic of child obesity in the developed world.

Daniel Brice
Daniel Brice

noticed that yesterday! thought it was cool

Razia Akoo
Razia Akoo

The books will be selected to serve their propaganda, just ignore MacDonalds and watch the food never decompose, we shall now call them MacDonald Chemical Museums.

Jerry Pecks
Jerry Pecks

Hopefully they'll read/learn enough to run from McD's screaming!

Lisa Graham
Lisa Graham

then again, why not save the middle man and go right to the book store or better yet the library...

Mary Sneary
Mary Sneary

I hope for classic reads with age divisions based on current reading levels with a bell point curve to denominate age-reading literal levels. Basically what current parents skipped when we did not want to do summer reading for school. : )

Hon Sheliahosm
Hon Sheliahosm

Reading books while eating chips or icecream is great

Go-Getter ML
Go-Getter ML

Oh good.. Get the kids in UK fat, with high cholesterol... Maybe they will become obese like they are here :)

Eugene Ho
Eugene Ho

i see a sales drop in happy meals

Lyndsey Elkins
Lyndsey Elkins

Yay now you can have a light read with your cancer :)))

Etta Cook
Etta Cook

They have been doing this for at least 2 years in Denmark.

Rebekka Schmitt-Illert
Rebekka Schmitt-Illert

They did that in Germany for a while and my daughter loved it - she's never asked for Happy Meals so often as during that period!

Steven Chung
Steven Chung

Why don't they just read the nutritional facts?

Joe Flanagan
Joe Flanagan

Here they'd come with more liberal indoctrination books.

LunchboxJoe
LunchboxJoe

Its called a "Happy Meal" for a reason! its not called the "Homework Meal"! Bring back the toys, thats why kids want the Happy Meal.....idiots!

rpearlston
rpearlston

If McDonalds was really interested in helping kids,  they would do much better by taking away all of the extra sugar, salt and fat, and not just in their "Happy Meals".