Macmillan Children’s Books has partnered with children’s food charity Magic Breakfast to launch the Marcus Rashford Book Club, donating 50,000 free books through the charity and reaching children in over 850 primary schools across England and Scotland. This is the first confirmed partnership since the launch of the initiative and more will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Marcus Rashford Book Club is a reader-recommends programme created by England International footballer and child food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford MBE and Macmillan Children’s Books, to encourage and nurture a love of reading in children.
Magic Breakfast offers healthy breakfasts to around 170,000 children each school day, ensuring pupils in disadvantaged areas of the UK start their day with the energy and nutrition they need to make the most of their morning lessons. The joint mission of MCB, Magic Breakfast and Marcus Rashford is to work closely with schools to get books into the hands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to encourage reading for pleasure amongst children who don’t have access to books at home. 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, including mainstream schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRU) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools. Each school will be offered an allocation of books to distribute among some of their appropriate age children to own and take home Children can enjoy reading on their own, share with siblings or read with parents or carers.
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 laugh-out-loud, fully-illustrated time travel adventure. A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first middle grade title from author Pooja Puri (The Jungle, Ink Road) and was acquired by Simran Sandhu and Rachel Petty as part of three book world rights deal from Lauren Gardner at Bell Lomax Moreton.
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 getting into the hands of children who need them most.
Marcus Rashford MBE says, “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. I’m really happy to be partnering with Magic Breakfast to get our books in the hands of children that need them most.
“I’m proud to have Pooja join us too. She writes in a way that is engaging, escapist and authentic. Pooja is super talented and I’m a big fan, and I’m sure that the recipients of her book A Dinosaur Ate My Sister will soon be fans of hers too.”
Rachael Anderson, Head of Schools at Magic Breakfast, comments, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Marcus Rashford and Macmillan Children’s Books, reaching thousands of children at our partner schools in disadvantaged areas of the UK with Marcus’ Book Club books. 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. We know children at our partner schools will be delighted to have a Marcus’ Book Club book of their own to take home and keep, and this will help inspire a new generation of children to discover the joy of reading.”
Jayne Elliott from Mackie Hill Junior and Infant School in Wakefield, a Magic Breakfast partner school, said, “We are delighted to be part of Marcus Rashford’s Book Club, and we can’t wait to receive copies of the A Dinosaur Ate My Sister to give out to our KS2 children. 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.”
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, Executive Publisher at Macmillan Children’s Books says, “We are so proud to be launching this Book Club with Marcus Rashford and to be announcing our first partnership to help deliver it, with Magic Breakfast, today. Together, we are able to reach thousands of children this summer, putting books directly into the hands of children who need them most. Pooja Puri’s A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is a brilliantly funny story and offers the perfect gateway to a lifetime of reading for pleasure. This is the first step in the Book Club’s journey and we couldn’t be more excited – and ambitious – about what we can achieve.”
Pooja Puri said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled that A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is going to be published by Macmillan Children’s Books. Being given the opportunity to be part of the Marcus Rashford Book Club is a real honour. I believe that every child should have access to books and I’m incredibly excited that the Book Club will be partnering with Magic Breakfast to bring this story to children across the country. I truly hope that A Dinosaur Ate My Sister will help a new generation of readers discover the wonder of books and the joy of reading. I look forward to hearing what children think of the story!”
Marcus’s first children’s book, written with Carl Anka, You Are A Champion: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be The BEST You Can Be will be publishing on 27th May 2021 and is an illustrated non-fiction title for young people aged 10+, to equip them with mental resilience and grit.
You can follow the official Marcus Rashford Book Club on Facebook and Instagram: @MarcusRashfordBookClub