Marcus Rashford donates 50,000 books to primary schools

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
Fresh from his food poverty and free school meal campaigning, Marcus Rashford has now launched the Marcus Rashford Book Club to support children's literacy (image: Suki Dhanda)

The newly launched Marcus Rashford Book Club is to donate 50,000 books to more than 850 primary schools across England and Scotland.

The Marcus Rashford Book Club is a “reader-recommends” programme that has been created by the Manchester United footballer and child food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford in partnership with Macmillan Children’s Books.

The club is to deliver the books via the children’s food charity Magic Breakfast, which runs breakfast clubs in schools across the country.

The initiative is aimed at getting the books to children from disadvantaged backgrounds to encourage reading for pleasure among those who do not have access to books at home.

It comes after a survey by the National Literacy Trust in 2019 showed that 383,775 children do not own a single book.

The 50,000 books will be divided between the primary schools Magic Breakfast currently supports.

Each school will be offered an allocation of books to distribute among some of their pupils to own and take home.

The Book Club will launch in June 2021 with its first title, A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan. A new title in the Marcus Rashford Book Club will launch in the autumn as part of an arrangement that will see two books a year given to selected pupils.

Mr Rashford said: “For too long, the joy of reading has been restricted by whether or not a family has the contingency budget to purchase books. The children who often miss out are those on free school meals and users of Breakfast Clubs, who more than likely need fiction, and non-fiction, to escape reality from time to time. We haven't been affording these children the option of reading for fun but that changes today.

“Everyone is aware of my experiences with Breakfast Club – it brightened up the start of my day, it stabilised the school day for me, allowed me to engage in reading and allowed me to form life-long friendships.”

Rachael Anderson, the head of schools at Magic Breakfast, said: “Now more than ever, families are facing hardship and for too many it’s a struggle to put food on the table – these children often miss out on the joy of brand new books at home to own and re-read. We also know the benefits of breakfast in school extend further than filling hungry tummies, it is a special time that also enables children to build friendships, learn through play and sit and read a good book.”

Jayne Elliott from Mackie Hill Junior and Infant School in Wakefield, one of the Magic Breakfast partner schools, added: “Our pupils love breakfast and they love reading, so we look forward to hearing how they’ve been able to get lost in their books, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of Marcus’ Book Club.”

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