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McDonald's to Give Books with Happy Meals

McDonald's to Give Books with Happy Meals

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The fast-food chain will give out 4 original books focused on nutrition

McDonald's will be offering kids' books with their Happy Meals for the first half of November.

Looks like McDonald's is bringing its literary Happy Meals (which debuted in the U.K. earlier this year) stateside; AdAge reports that the fast-food company will start giving out books with its Happy Meals in America from Nov. 1 to Nov. 14.

The four books on rotation are reportedly all nutrition-oriented, self-published by the company, with characters like the goat in The Goat Who Ate Everything, or Deana, the world's smallest dinosaur, in Deana's Big Dreams.

Meanwhile, the #mcbooks hashtag is now, appropriately trending on Twitter. Our favorites? "The Catcher in the Fry" and "McBeth." But as Grub Street points out, this might just be a distraction from not-so-healthy Happy Meal options, i.e. soft drinks that can still be offered in the "Happy Meal section of menu boards." And their president? He's claiming that "our fries are already healthy," noting that anyone who wants them to change their fries is "out of your mind."

McDonald&rsquos Is Putting Free Books In Happy Meals Next Month

In the past few years, McDonald’s has done some revamping around their Happy Meals. They’ve downsized their kid-sized fry. They’ve offered fruit like apple slice and Cuties oranges as options for sides. They’ve provided low-fat dairy options like one percent white milk, fat-free chocolate milk, and Go-Gurt yogurt. They’ve removed artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors from their Chicken McNuggets. However, some parents can still be hesitant to bring their families to the golden arches for more than just a special treat𠅎specially when they know they might end up bringing back home another plastic figurine. But a limited edition offering in Happy Meals next month might just warrant a trip.

In honor of National Literacy Month, McDonald’s is giving out a free miniature-sized book with every Happy Meal purchase from September 5 to 18. Yes, that’s right𠅊 book! The fast-food chain is partnering with HarperCollins Publishers to include a copy of Pete the Cat’s Got Class by James Dean, Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish, Just A School Project by Mercer Mayer, or If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff in each Happy Meal box. Books will be available in both English and Spanish, in select locations.

And if free books(!) weren’t exciting enough, McDonald’s is also teaming up with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) to offer families an extended experience around the featured books with a new digital portal. On the site, families can access lesson plans, puzzles, activities, and reading passages for all levels to keep the reading going!

What could be better than reading with your family? Well, promoting literacy nationwide. McDonald’s is also supporting RIF’s efforts by donating approximately 400,000 books from the promotion to reading efforts and programs nationwide.

"McDonald&aposs partnership with RIF is a celebration of the power and joy of families reading together," Beth Meyer, Chief Marketing Officer of Reading Is Fundamental, said in a statement. "Six out of 10 low-income families still have no age-appropriate books in their homes, so providing children with books coupled with supplemental literacy resources they need to achieve their full potential has never been more important."

McDonald&rsquos Swapping Toys for Books in Happy Meals This Valentine&rsquos

For years, McDonald’s slogan has been “I’m lovin’ it,” and leading up to Valentine’s Day this year, the burger chain has a new love: reading.

In a partnership with Reading Is Fundamental, from now until February 15, McDonald’s will be replacing the typical toy in its Happy Meals with one of four books, most of which revolve around a Valentine’s Day theme: Paddington Bear, Pete the Cat: Valentine&aposs Day is Cool, Clark the Shark Takes Heart and Happy Valentine&aposs Day, Mouse! Personally, I can’t vouch for the quality of any of the books besides Paddington Bear, but I’m assuming they’re all more exciting than staring at the side of the Happy Meal box.

The fast food company estimates they will give out more than 17 million of the specially designed Happy Meal–size paperbacks during the promotion. Add that to the previous times McDonald’s has run their Happy Meal Book program dating back to 2013, and the burger brand brags that they believe they will have distributed 50 million books in all by the end of the year.

That’s nearly one book for every time a child threw a temper tantrum because he wanted a Happy Meal. Hey, at least this time there’s a book on their bedsides instead of some annoying Minion character.

By the end of 2016, McDonald’s will have given away 50 million books in Happy Meals

McDonald’s wants American bellies full of bacon and American minds full of stories.

Since the fast-food giant launched a literacy program three years ago, it has tucked millions of children’s books into its famous Happy Meals. This year’s books, available now until Feb. 15, include Paddington and several Valentine’s Day-themed titles.

The company estimates by the end of this year it will have given away 50 million books in the US. That’s slightly more than one for each of the 47 million US children under age 12. Estimates show one third of Americans under 19 eat fast food on a given day.

The fast-food chain may be trying to improve its image with regards to kids. In recent years it has come under fire for promoting unhealthy soda in Happy Meals and for ramped up advertising toward children. In 2013, the company pledged to make improvements to its health record, with mixed results.

In Nov. 2013, McDonald’s launched Happy Meal Books to promote literacy with nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental, giving away 17 million books in two weeks. The titles were limited-edition McD’s originals, each centered around an animal learning about healthy eating.

In Jan. 2015, the program switched to already popular children’s book titles, including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

McDonald's to Give Away Nutritional Books With Happy Meals Instead of Toys

In an effort to end fun, McDonald's will start giving away books with Happy Meals instead of toys on November 1. While some might call an end to Happy Meal toys "the worst thing that they have ever done," don't panic: this experiment in fostering book worm nerdery will only last for two weeks, until November 14. The four books are written to promote healthy eating, for example, Deana's Big Dreams "shows how Deana, the world's smallest dinosaur, grew tall by eating well."

AdWeek reports that this foray into publishing will briefly make McDonald's the biggest publisher in the US. The fast food chain plans to print 20 million books AdWeek compares that to the sales of monster best-seller young adult novel The Hunger Games, which in 2012 sold 15 million print copies. McDonald's tried a similar experiment in the UK last year, although the books released were less focused on healthy eating and more focused on youth literacy.

McDonald’s giving away books with Happy Meals

McDonald’s is offering books instead of prizes in their Happy Meals.

The fast food chain started giving children’s books instead of prizes away since Tuesday and will last until February 15.

Book titles include “Paddington” and “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!”

This is the third time McDonald’s has replaced toys with books in an effort to get children to read more.

By the time this year’s giveaway is over, McDonald’s will have distributed 50 million children’s books.

“Ensuring children have access to books has proven instrumental in combating illiteracy in children in the United States,” Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental said in a statement.

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Give the Gift of Reading with a McDonald’s Happy Meal

Back in May, I was invited to join McDonald’s Canada for the launch of their new Happy Meal Books program. Now, whenever you purchase a Happy Meal for your child, you will have the choice between a book or a toy!

This is a new partnership with Kids Can Press, the world’s largest children’s book publisher and First Book Canada, which helps provide access to books for kids in need. Together with McDonald’s, they will be helping improve access to books for children nationwide which will encourage families to spend more time reading together and ultimately help foster literacy amongst kids.

Every eight weeks, two new books will be available in restaurants, in both English and French and all of these high-quality books are written by Canadian authors. Talk about a truly Canadian experience!

If your kids are anything like mine, they most likely LOVE McDonald’s Happy Meals. While receiving a new little toy makes many kids happy, if I’m being totally honest, my kids don’t need more toys. In fact, I feel like I’m constantly trying to purge our home of little trinkets that have piled up.

But books…we never have an issue with too many books in our home. Our kids really do enjoy reading, in fact, our daughter is one of the top three readers in her class right now! Yup, total brag worthy moment for this mom!

So I seriously LOVE this new initiative by McDonald’s to now offer the option of books with the Happy Meals. The first two that were released were “Hurry Up, ” by Paulette Bourgeois and “Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach” by Melanie Watt. At the event, my littlest was able to meet “Kranklin”, as he kept calling him! And we even got to enjoy a live reading by the author of the Franklin books, while it was being illustrated! So much fun! It’s all about showing kids that reading CAN be fun and exciting while being educational and informative.

If you thought that was exciting, let me tell you about another fun initiative McDonald’s is doing. They want to help donate books to children in need, so they are encouraging all Canadians to post a photo of their bookshelf – a shelfie – on social media, using the hashtag #OwnaBookGiveaBook and in return they will donate up to 20,000 books through First Book Canada!

We are so excited to see the largest fast-food retailer embark on a new adventure like this! Putting kids first, not just with making sure they have nutritious options in their menus but now by caring about their literacy, just goes to show what is at the heart of this company. And as a mom to three young kids, this makes me SO happy to stand with them in full support!

Note: This post was sponsored by McDonalds Canada where I may have received product and/or compensation in exchange for my honest review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make Amidst the Chaos possible!

The full list of McDonald's Roald Dahl Happy Readers books

  • Roald Dahl’s Wonderful Mr Willy Wonka
  • Roald Dahl’s Lucky Charlie Bucket
  • Roald Dahl’s Mischievous Chocolate Factory Children
  • Roald Dahl’s Amazing Matilda
  • Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Miss Honey
  • Roald Dahl’s Rotsome Giants
  • Roald Dahl’s Brave Little Sophie
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantabulous BFG

The initiative comes backed by Peter Andre (because why not?), who apparently reads Roald Dahl books to his two children, Princess and Junior.

‘There are few writers more magical than Roald Dahl,’ says Andre in a statement. ‘It’s wonderful to get to bring his unique characters to life for my children and encourage reading with the help of McDonald’s Happy Readers. Roald Dahl’s stories stand the test of time so it’s no wonder my kids love the BFG as much as I did!’

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The books are available over the next five weeks, so it might be time to pop to Maccies for a Happy Meal.

Happy Meal is often treated like a gateway drug

The Happy Meal is often treated like a gateway drug. I started smoking and never became addicted to heroin I also had a number of Happy Meals as a kid and have seven percent body fat.

As part of National Family Literacy Day on November 1, McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) will begin offering one of four titles that tell a story about the importance of good nutrition. The books were created by Publicis Groupe’s (PUBGY) Leo Burnett, the ad agency that handles the chain’s family and kids marketing.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) describes one of them, The Goat Who Ate Everything, this way: “[It] tells a story of a goat who has a big appetite and struggles to eat right. But when he does, he feels great and becomes the playful ‘kid’ everyone loves.” That’s all well and good, unless of course you hired a herd of goats to clear your land or in order to prevent forest fires, as the California Parks Department does each summer.

McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) expects to distribute 20 million copies of its literary offerings in this two-week campaign. That’s 20 times more than the amount of copies of George Orwell’s 1984 sold on following the Prism leak by Edward Snowden.

McDonald's giving away books in Happy Meals

McDonald's is serving up a side of literacy with their Happy Meals in an effort to give out 50 million books to kids by the end of 2016.

McDonald’s is serving up a side of reading material with their Happy Meals this month. (Photo: McDonald's, Reading is Fundamental)

McDonald’s is serving up a side of reading material with their Happy Meals this month.

The fast food chain will offer children’s books instead of typical prizes through February 15.

One of four books will be available in the meals with titles like Michael Bond's Paddington and Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has replaced toys with books in their Happy Meals. The chain began distributing books in 2013 and by the end of this year will have distributed more than 50 million books, according to a statement.

McDonald’s gave 100,000 books from this year's Happy Meals program to Reading is Fundamental, a nonprofit literacy organization.

“Ensuring children have access to books has proven instrumental in combating illiteracy in children in the United States,” Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental said in a statement.