Marcus Rashford launches book club for disadvantaged children

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image captionManchester United forward Marcus Rashford has campaigned for children to claim free school meal vouchers in the school holidays during the coronavirus pandemic

Footballer Marcus Rashford has launched a book club to get disadvantaged children reading more.

The England and Manchester United striker has teamed up with publisher Macmillan Children's 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 who do not have access to books at home.

A survey by the National Literacy Trust in 2019 showed that 383,775 children do not own a single book.

image captionMarcus Rashford was awarded an MBE for his campaigns on child hunger

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.

"The children who often miss out are those on free school meals and users of breakfast clubs, who more than likely need fiction, and non-fiction, to escape reality from time to time.

"We haven't been affording these children the option of reading for fun, but that changes today.

"Everyone is aware of my experiences with breakfast club - it brightened up the start of my day, it stabilised the school day for me, allowed me to engage in reading and allowed me to form life-long friendships."

image captionMarcus Rashford was awarded a prestigious Gold Blue Peter badge for his work in making a difference to young people’s lives

Rachael Anderson, head of schools at Magic Breakfast, said: "We know children at our partner schools will be delighted to have a Marcus' Book Club book of their own to take home and keep, and this will help inspire a new generation of children to discover the joy of reading."

The book club will launch in June 2021 with the illustrated time travel adventure A Dinosaur Ate My Sister, written by Pooja Puri and illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan.

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