Footballer Marcus Rashford is launching a book club to ensure all children can enjoy the escapism of reading. As the BBC reports, the Manchester United and England player is teaming up with Macmillan Children’s Books to promote reading and literacy among children from all socio-economic backgrounds, and focus on getting books into the hands of vulnerable and underprivileged children.
The partnership will begin with the publication of an illustrated non-fiction book titled YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be, which is set for release in May 2021.
Aimed at children aged between 11-16, the book will be written in collaboration with journalist Carl Anka and performance psychologist Katie Warriner. Each chapter will begin with a tale from Rashford's own life — covering topics such as education, positive mentality, understanding culture, and female role models. The book will then be followed by two additional fiction titles for readers aged 7+, which are expected to be released later in 2021 and 2022.
Next year will also see the launch of the Marcus Rashford Book Club, which is described as "a reader recommends programme with the aim of championing the works of creatives from all backgrounds." Commenting on the scheme, the footballer revealed his own lack of opportunity to read more as a child is what inspired the project.
"I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality," Rashford told the Guardian. "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."
To support Rashford's latest project — which follows on from his hugely successful free school meals campaign — you can pre-order a copy of YOU ARE CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice and Be The BEST You Can Be online now.