After his successful campaigning not once, but twice forced the UK government into a U-turn on policies to help feed children from low-income families, Marcus Rashford is launching a book club in 2021 to help kids enjoy “the escapism of reading.”
The Manchester United and England forward is working with publisher Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB) to help provide more children from underprivileged backgrounds the opportunity to read.
“I only started reading at 17 and it completely changed my outlook and mentality,” Rashford said in a statement. “I just wish I was offered the opportunity to really engage in 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.”
Rashford’s book club will recommend titles that “will champion the works of young, emerging writers and illustrators from all backgrounds,” said Macmillan.
“There were times as a child the escapism of reading could have really helped me,” added Rashford. “I want this escapism for all children. Not just those that can afford it. We know there are approximately 400,000 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 will be, for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them.”
Fiction and non-fiction books
Rashford’s deal with MacMillan will also see the soccer star publish a range of fiction and non-fiction books.
The first will be co-created with Carl Anka, a journalist for The Athletic, and performance psychologist Katie Warriner, with the first title – YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be – to be published in May 2021. The book is aimed at children aged 11-16.
Each chapter will begin with a story from Rashford’s own life and, according to MCB, will cover topics such as: adversity; the value of education; positive mentality; understanding culture and female role models.
“Readers will find out how positive thinking can change their life, build mental resilience, learn how to navigate adversity and discover the unstoppable power of their own voice,” said MacMillan.
Two fiction titles for readers aged seven and up will follow later in 2022, according to the publisher.