On Saturday, May 14th, the McDonald’s Mid-South Co-Op in Tennessee participated in the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival at the National Civil Rights Museum where they were a sponsor at the event and gave away 1,000 books to Mid-South children. The book festival, hosted by Ruby Bridges and actress Kathy Bates, celebrated Bridges’ legacy of passionately advocating for equal rights, education and tolerance by bringing children and families together through reading. Every child that entered the Festival was able to select 1-2 books to take home at no cost.
The McDonald’s booth was definitely one of the more popular at the event, with kids eager to grab books and take them home to read. Even some of the parents fought the urge to ask for a book, reminiscing on their childhood favorites.
Access to books is key to reading skills. Studies show that the number of books in the home directly predicts reading achievement and children who grew up with books in their homes reached a higher level of education than those who did not. In some communities, book ownership is low.
Through their Happy Meal Books program, McDonald’s helps meet a critical need for many children by increasing access to reading materials while also encouraging families to celebrate the fun of reading together. At the end of 2016, McDonald’s USA will have distributed more than 50 million Happy Meal Books to children through both sales and donations since the program began in 2013 – enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12.