McDonald's is giving away paperback books to children in its Happy Meals instead of plastic toys.
Along with Happy Meal Books, the fast food chain also partnered with and donated 100,000 books to the non-profit organization Reading is Fundamental to aid in its literacy program. The publishing company, Harper Collins, is also on board the program.
McDonald's gave away a total of 17 million books nationwide on the first run of Happy Meal Books in 2013 and the company reveals that, after the Feb. 2-15 book giveaway, the program would have distributed 50 million books in total.
— McDonald's (@McDonalds) February 2, 2016
"To put that into more perspective, McDonald's USA will have distributed more than twice the number of children's books than are cataloged in the classification system at the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world," writes Carol H. Rasco, the president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental.
The slim, illustrated paperback books were especially made to fit in Happy Meal boxes and there are four titles available: Michael Bond's "Paddington," Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond's "Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!," Kimberly and James Dean's "Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool" and Bruce Hale's "Clark the Shark Takes Heart."
All of the books come with a Valentine's card the kids can give. On top of that, kids can scan the books and head on to the Happy Meal website to unlock games and other interactive content.
"Numerous studies confirmed the number of books in a home directly predicts a child's proficiency at reading ... With two-thirds of children living in poverty without books, McDonald's is helping to provide critical access to books to inspire children to read," adds Rasco.
If you're still wondering why the literacy program is so important that McDonald's is willing to remove the shiny plastic toys Happy Meals are known for in exchange for books, take a look at the infographic showing the statistics below.