Words: Dylan Murphy
“I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it.”
England and Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is launching a book club to encourage reading and literacy among children from all socio-economic backgrounds.
The footballer will join forces with Macmillan Children’s Books and there will be an additional priority in giving books to children from vulnerable backgrounds.
The first book in the partnership is an illustrated non-fiction geared towards 11-16-year-old called ‘YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be’. It will be published in May 2021 and each chapter will begin with an anecdote from Marcus’ own life and will focus on topics such as the value of education, positive mentality, understanding culture, and female role models.
It will be followed by fictional titles in 2021 and 2022 for a younger audience along with the Marcus Rashford Book Club.
Speaking on the news Rashford said, “I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality. I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage with reading more as a child, but books were never a thing we could budget for as a family when we needed to put food on the table.”
“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. We know there are over 380,000 children across the UK today that have never owned a book, children that are in vulnerable environments. That has to change. My books are, and always will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them.”
“Let our children read that they are not alone and enable them to dream. Equip them for obstacles and adversities they might face. Allow them 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.”
The news follows Marcus Rashford’s campaign to provide free school meals for children during the school holidays. The Manchester United forward pushed the government into a U-turn and was subsequently awarded an MBE.