The toys that come in McDonald’s Happy Meals might have some larger purpose than holding your kid’s attention for the fifteen or twenty minutes more you are in the car with them, but I sort of doubt it. Unless, of course, adding like 25 million pieces of plastic to the landfills of our shining horizons is a goal.
Again though, that’s doubtful.
So, it comes with great surprise and joy that I read in the Los Angeles Times today that the 1,200 McDonald’s branches in the United Kingdom have agreed to hand out 15 million…yes, MILLION books to kids in their Happy Meals over the next two years.
That is an unbelievable amount of books for kids to read; an almost unfathomable amount of literature for children that they will be setting loose on the streets of the country.
And as LA Times writer, Carolyn Kellogg, aptly points out, there are ten times as many branches of the fast-food giant here in the US as there are in the UK.
“What if American McDonald’s gave away 150,000 million books in the next two years? What would that do for young readers — and for publishers?,” Kellogg asks.
Ponder that for a moment, if you will.
That many books made available to kids through a conduit like McDonald’s means a lot of children who seldom come into close contact with books at all would suddenly have one or two of their own. And kids who already love to read would be replacing their disposable three inch pieces of plastic nonsense with something so much cooler, a book.
Plus, in these trying economic times anything that helps publishing houses (even the bigger ones who are probably front-runners for contracts with a giant like Mickey D’s) will undoubtedly serve to steady a swaying ship
The Times points out that the campaign in the UK is sponsored in part by their National Literacy Trust, whose organization head Conal Presho told the Guardian newspaper, “When children own their own books, it makes a huge difference to their reading.”
How awesome is that to hear from a campaign geared at the burger guzzling public? So here’s to hoping that McDonald’s is wise enough to follow suit in this country before too long.
After all, this might just be their best idea since they made french fries taste like liquid gold.
Info source: The LA Times
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