Sophie's Squash: Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf
Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 11

McDonald's to Provide Books in US Happy Meals for the First Time

Hjappy-hourI just received the press release below, and thought that it was worth sharing. I applaud McDonald's efforts to put books inside of Happy Meals, instead of toys, and to also share books with RIF for distribution to kids in need.

I have to admit that personally I would have liked to see books included that are a bit less message-y (see descriptions at the end of the press release). I haven't seen the books themselves, so they may be better than I'm expecting. I hope so. My general fear of message-y books is that they can backfire, and turn kids off of reading. I do trust that RIF's involvement will help. 

In any event, given the number of US children who lack any books of their own, I am in favor of a program that reaches out to families where they already are and says "Hey, books are important. Here's one for you!". This is the first time that McDonald's has put books in Happy Meals in the US (there was a prior effort in the UK), though they plan another cycle next November. What do you all think?

McDonald's USA to Provide More Than 20 Million Books to Families in the U.S. Through New Happy Meal Promotion

  • Partnership with literacy non-profit Reading Is Fundamental will give an additional 100,000 books to kids nationwide
  • McDonald's two-year book offering: anytime access to reading with new interactive digital books through 2014, second installation of Happy Meal Books to be offered in 2015 

OAK BROOK, IL--(Oct 10, 2013) - In time for National Family Literacy Day on Nov. 1, McDonald's USA is inviting families to celebrate the joy of reading with the launch of a new Happy Meal Books promotion.

From Nov. 1 - Nov. 14, McDonald's will offer books in print for Happy Meal customers, providing more than 20 million books to families across the U.S. Throughout the two-week Happy Meal Books offer, families will be able to enjoy four original books featuring McDonald's Happy Meal characters. Each limited-edition book brings nutrition, imagination and play to life in a fun way.

"We're excited to invite families to spend time together and celebrate the joy of reading through these fun and original Happy Meal Books," said Ubong Ituen, vice president of marketing for McDonald's USA. "This is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families, and part of a broader book strategy that will combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners and technology to inspire more family reading time."

As part of the launch of Happy Meal Books, McDonald's is collaborating with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest children's literacy non-profit in the U.S., to help more children and their families discover the joy of reading. RIF will distribute 100,000 Happy Meal Books to children who do not have easy access to books. 

RIF_Primary_Vertical"Books are essential for inspiring children to explore, dream, and achieve, yet far too many children do not have this basic resource," said Reading Is Fundamental CEO Carol Hampton Rasco. "To change this unfortunate reality, RIF is uniting with McDonald's, a company that embraces the transformative power of books and is committed to helping families and communities thrive. Together, McDonald's and RIF can truly help enrich kids' lives through access to books and by putting the fun back into reading."

e-Books to Launch November 1
Also starting on Nov. 1, McDonald's will give families anytime access to reading with a new interactive digital book each month through the end of 2014.

The free interactive e-books will be available on McPlay, McDonald's Happy Meal App, and will allow kids to read, discover and explore exciting new worlds. McDonald's has partnered with DK Publishing, an award winning global publisher, to offer educational and entertaining content for customers -- the first e-book introduces DK's Amazing World Series, with "The World's Greatest Cities."

Kids will also be able to engage with an interactive digital version of McDonald's Happy Meal print book, "The Goat Who Ate Everything" via the McPlay app.

The Happy Meal Books, as well as the DK Publishing e-books, will also be available for download at Spanish versions of McDonald's Happy Meal Books will be available on and

About Happy Meal Books
The four limited-edition books include:

  • "The Goat Who Ate Everything" -- 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.
  • "Deana's Big Dreams" -- Shares how Deana, the world's smallest dinosaur, grew tall by eating right. 
  • "Ant, Can't" -- Features Ant, a bite-sized bodybuilder who's big on encouraging physical fitness through exercise and eating right.
  • "Doddi the Dodo Goes to Orlando" -- Follows happy-go-lucky bird Doddi who travels the world. She eats right because this dodo is always on the go-go.

McDonald's is already planning its next Happy Meal Books program, scheduled to be released in 2015.

For more information about Happy Meal Books, visit