The England and Manchester United striker has teamed up with publisher ‘Macmillan’, which will donate 50,000 books. They will be distributed in more than 850 primary schools across England and Scotland through children's food charity Magic Breakfast. The aim of the book club is to encourage reading for pleasure among children. A survey by the National Literacy Trust in 2019 showed that 383,775 children do not own a single book. Rashford said: "For too long, the joy of reading has been restricted by whether or not a family has the contingency budget to purchase books. I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality. 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.”
In the summer, research by the National Trust found that last year only 26% of under-18s spent time reading each day – the lowest daily level recorded since the charity first surveyed children’s reading habits in 2005. The poet and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen said the findings should act as a “wake-up call for the government”. Rashford said books should have diverse characters as this allows children to relate to characters by making sure people of all race, religion and gender are depicted correctly and representative of modern society. “No matter where you grow up, talent should be recognised and championed,” he added. The prime minister’s official spokesman called the book initiative “fantastic” while praising Rashford for shining a light on the power that books have and allowing more children to benefit from “the enjoyment which books bring”.
The book club launched in June 2021 with the illustrated time travel adventure A Dinosaur Ate My Sister, written by Pooja Puri and illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan.
Before you start reading, there are a few things you should know:
1. I, Esha Verma, am a genius inventor extraordinaire.
2. There is nothing I cannot invent. This includes words.
3. I did not mean to send my sister back to the Age of the Dinosaurs. That was HER OWN FAULT (Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this, please take note).
Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy – the ultimate inventing prize. This year's entry: A TIME MACHINE.
But the day before the competition, Esha's IGNORAMUS big sister hijacks the time machine and is lost in the Cretaceous age.
With help from a new recruit for The Office of Time, Esha and Broccoli will have to face hungry dinosaurs, mysterious black holes and malfunctioning inventions to get them back in time.