Thanks to a partnership with nonprofit literacy organization Reading is Fundamental (RIF), McDonald’s will be offering print books in its Happy Meals from November 1–14, RIF and the fast food company announced today, noting that the offer will provide more than 20 million books to families across the United States. In addition, RIF says it will distribute 100,000 Happy Meal Books to needy children during the two-week period.
“Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource,” says Reading is Fundamental CEO Carol Hampton Rasco in the announcement. “To change this unfortunate reality, RIF is uniting with McDonald’s, a company that embraces the transformative power of books….Together, [we] can truly help enrich kids’ lives through access to books and by putting the fun back into reading.”
For the program, McDonald’s has created four, limited-edition original books featuring Happy Meal characters that focus on nutrition, imagination, and play, the company says.
Also starting on November 1, McDonald’s will give families anytime access to reading with a new interactive digital book each month through the end of 2014. The free interactive e-books will be available on McPlay, the company’s new Happy Meal App, and downloadable online.
The ebooks are available from DK Publishing; the first ebook offered introduces DK’s “Amazing World” Series with The World’s Greatest Cities. Kids will also be able to engage with an interactive digital version of the Happy Meal print book, The Goat Who Ate Everything, via the McPlay app.
The program is “part of a broader book strategy that will combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners, and technology to inspire more family reading time,” says Ubong Ituen, vice president of marketing for McDonald’s USA, in the announcement.
McDonald’s introduced similar book distribution initiatives earlier this year in the U.K, following a pilot program in 2012. The reception, so far, to the announcement has been mixed.