It’s been an interesting few years for McDonald’s. It has had problems with franchisees, a very expanded menu for a fast-food chain, and those who are pushing for healthier food. And all of this time, the firm has worked hard to improve its image as the world’s leading fast-food company.

As part of its healthier choices for kids, a few years ago to McDonald’s added a piece of fruit to its Happy Meals box. And in 2013, McDonald’s began distributing Happy Meals Books:

“Ensuring children have access to books has proven instrumental in combating illiteracy in children in the United States. Studies prove the simple act of reading a book to a child at bedtime has a direct impact on his or her educational growth and potential. To help fill this critical need, McDonald’s began distributing Happy Meal Books in 2013 and, by the end of this year, will have distributed more than 50 million books to children — enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12.”

As the firm announced on Twitter:


AND, from February 2 through February 2016, it will be offering a book instead of a toy with Happy Meals.

Samantha Grossman reports for Time that:

“Trying to get your kids to read more? You might want to take them to McDonald’s, where they’ll get a book instead of a toy in their Happy Meals, now through Feb. 15.”

“According to the Los Angeles Times, McDonald’s is including four different books. Three of them are Valentine’s Day themed: Clark the Shark Takes HeartHappy Valentine’s Day, Mouse!, and Pete the Cat: Valentine’s Day Is Cool. The fourth book is the classic Paddington.”

“This is the third time the fast-food chain has served miniature paperbacks instead of plastic toys in its Happy Meals.”



10 Replies to “McDonald’s Strong Involvement in Children’s Literacy”

  1. Providing books for children is a great way to increase customer’s satisfaction on the company’s product. The main key of a company is not to loose his customers but to gain more customers in order to make more profit. If the satisfaction after the purchase good or if the customers kids enjoy the books they will be willing to go back to McDonalds for food. This will also increase McDonald’s reputation because it shows how the company care about consumers education since a simple act of reading a book to a child at bedtime as an effect to his or her educational growth. So giving 50 millions books by 2016 is a great way to increase customers satisfaction.

  2. I think it’s a great idea that McDonalds is giving out books instead of happy meal toys. Parents look at it as a positive influence for their children and many children will look at reading as a fun thing vs a boring thing to do. However, McDonalds isn’t the greasted place to eat and although they serve one piece of fruit, the children are most likely still getting the high in fat happy meals and deserts. To me, selling already 50 millions books to children is insane because even though the book idea is a great thing, that could be 50 million children with obesity at the same time. As a whole, I believe that McDonalds should change the whole menu to have healthier foods and also give out reading books all the time to power the mind nutritionally and educationally.

    1. Several years ago a judge dismissed a lawsuit that claimed McDonald’s was responsible for the plaintiffs’ children becomming obese with a very simple question: “did McDonalds come to the plaintiffs’ homes withbthe food?” In essence, the judge heldvthat the responsibility fellnupon the parents.

      In another such case, the judge dismissed the case ruling “(w)here’s should the line be drawn between an individual’s own responsibility to take care of herself and society’s responsibility to ensure others shield her? The complaint fails to allege the McDonald’s products consumed by the plaintiffs were dangerous in any way other than that which was open and obvious to a reasonable consumer.”

  3. Prior to reading the article, I had no idea that McDonalds had ever implemented this book program in the first place. It definitely seems like a great idea because if the book is right in front them, the children will be more apt to read it. I’m surprised that McDonalds has been suffering given they come up with such creative ideas. It’s comforting to see large companies of this caliber taking an interest in a younger generation and looking out for their well being. I thought that the creativity would only go as far as healthy food options, but this is a new level. My only concern is that if these are replacing the toys, even if only for a limited amount of time, kids will be less inclined to want the happy meals. It will make the parents content but the children will be disappointed. It makes sense to throw in the book as an extra “reward.” That excitement about getting a second prize will entice them to take an interest in the book.

  4. I enjoyed reading the following article because I first hand see my younger brother take interest to the fruit and book. The fruit is a treat since they make it easy to eat, by cleaning and cutting it. When he does not find a toy in his happy meal he views the book as a replacement and actually reads it. The book is beneficial to children and parents with education in reading and the fruit is beneficial with health.

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