McDonald’s is ditching toys in its Happy Meals for one week

Happy Meal Books Program

If you head to McDonald’s and order your kid a Happy Meal from February 9 through February 15, they will not receive a toy. That’s because the company is giving children a free book instead.

Franchises in the United States will take part in the promotion. Books being given away include the following well known titles:

  • Michael Bond’s “Paddington.”
  • Bruce Hale’s “Clark the Shark Takes Heart.”
  • Kimberly and James Dean’s “Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day is Cool.”
  • Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond’s “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!”

The books will be downsized so they can fit into the Happy Meal boxes.

The initiative is based on a partnership betweet McDonald’s, HaperCollin, and Reading is Fundamental (RIF), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting children’s literacy in disadvantaged communities.

“Our goal is not only to distribute books to kids who need them, but to ignite a passion for learning. When children develop a love of reading, they become better students and more aware of and engaged in the world around them,” RIF says on its website.

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RIF says the program, which McDonald’s started in 2013, will have distributed more than 50 million books to children  by the end of this years program. That’s  enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12.”

RIF adds, “Nearly 65 percent of 4th graders read at or below the basic level. And more than 75 percent of children who are poor readers by the end of 3rd grade remain poor readers and ultimately fall behind in school. To help fix this we must get books into more young readers’ hands.”