Marcus Rashford ‘grateful’ to PM for making U-turn on children’s food vouchers

Marcus Rashford launches book club so children from all backgrounds can experience ‘escapism’ of reading

‘My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself,’ says footballer

Sarah Young@sarah_j_young
Tuesday 17 November 2020 15:42

Marcus Rashford has launched a book club so that all children can experience the “escapism of reading”.

The Manchester United footballer has teamed up with Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB) to help promote reading and literacy among children from all socioeconomic backgrounds.

The 23-year-old said he wishes he had been given the chance to read more as a child, adding that his family had to prioritise food over books when it came to budgeting.

MCB said the collaboration will have a particular focus on getting books into the hands of children from vulnerable and underprivileged backgrounds.

The first title launched by the partnership, You are a Champion: Unlock your potential, find your voice and be the best you can be, by Rashford, is an illustrated non-fiction title aimed at young people aged 11-16 and will be published in May 2021.

Each chapter will begin with a story from Rashford’s own life and will cover topics such as the value of education, positive mentality, understanding culture, and female role models.

The book will be co-created with Carl Anka, a journalist for sports media group The Athletic, and Katie Warriner, a performance psychologist.

Two more fiction titles for readers aged seven and up will follow later in 2021 and 2022.

“I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality,” said Rashford.

“I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.”

He continued: “There were times where the escapism of reading could have really helped me. I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it.

“We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change.

“My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them.”

The new initiative comes after Rashford received widespread praise for highlighting the issue of child food poverty. His campaign resulted in the government back-tracking to announce free meals would be provided to disadvantaged children over the Christmas holidays.

The England footballer was also recently awarded an MBE after forcing the government to make a U-turn on free school meal vouchers.

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