Somehow I completely missed this news story about fast food giant McDonalds giving away 9 million books by Michael Morpurgo to children with their Happy Meals in 2012. Since I never go to McDonalds, however, it might not be that surprising that I missed it. The success of this venture has led to a further programme this year and a partnership with the National Literacy Trust. Over the next two years, the plan is to give away 15 million books with the sale of Happy Meals, and will be known as the Happy Reading programme.
I don’t think there is much question of the Happy Meals being sold and the books being given away. It also seems like a sensible partnership for the National Literacy Trust – getting a ready made and captive young audience. Anything that will encourage children and families to read together is surely a good thing. However, McDonalds claim that if they give away as many books as they plan, they will be the largest children’s book distributor in the UK, and for some reason, this just doesn’t sit very well with me.