Tom Percival's Silas and the Marvellous Misfits will be the second children’s book selected for the Marcus Rashford Book Club, with 50,000 free copies to be distributed in partnership with BT and children's food charity Magic Breakfast.
The book club is a reader-recommends programme which was first unveiled by Rashford and Macmillan Children's Books last November. The first title, A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan, reached 50,000 children in the UK in June 2021, the publisher said.
Silas and the Marvellous Misfits will be published in October 2021 and is billed as an "action-packed illustrated adventure" exploring big emotions. It is the third book in the The Dream Defenders series which encourages children to learn about emotional intelligence in an "exciting and accessible" way.
Rashford said: "Encouraging children to find joy in, and celebrate, their differences is so powerful in today's society. Tom inspires this mindset in the most fun, engaging, action-packed way. I would have loved to read this book as a child."
Percival commented: "I’m so proud that Silas and the Marvellous Misfits has been chosen to be part of Marcus Rashford’s Book Club. Marcus is an absolute powerhouse of positivity and this latest campaign is vitally important. Books and reading have played a massive part in my own life, providing me with a never-ending source of comfort, escapism, fun, excitement and relief when times were challenging and even providing me with my career now. I owe pretty much everything to books and it's fantastic that the Marcus Rashford Book Club is making reading more accessible, which I hope will bring a love of reading to thousands of young people up and down the country, and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of it."
For the second round of the book club, Macmillan Children's has partnered with BT— which worked with Rashford on anti-abuse initiative Hope United — which will provide sponsorship to support getting 50,000 free copies to more than 850 primary schools in disadvantaged areas of England and Scotland in the autumn via children’s food charity partner Magic Breakfast. In addition, paper merchant Gould Paper Sales and paper manufacturer Holmen Paper AB have supplied paper for the book club books free of charge, while printing company CPI has donated to the production of the 50,000 copies.
Rachael Anderson, head of schools at Magic Breakfast, commented: "We have had an incredible response from the children in our partner schools who were gifted a copy of A Dinosaur Ate My Sister. The children were over the moon to receive a copy of this specially chosen book to take home and keep, and the schools have told us how much the children are loving reading the book. Inclusion in the book club is a wonderful opportunity for children in schools we support in disadvantaged areas of the UK. We know many children don’t have books at home, and we know it means a great deal to children to be part of this special project with Marcus, who is an inspiration to so many. It's brilliant to see children so excited and engaged in reading for pleasure, and we cannot wait to be able to send our partner schools the wonderfully titled second book in the Marcus Rashford Book Club, Silas and the Marvellous Misfits, which we know will be a huge hit."
MCB, Magic Breakfast, BT and Rashford share a "joint mission to work closely with schools to get books into the hands of children from disadvantaged backgrounds to encourage reading for pleasure amongst children who may not have access to books at home", said the publisher.
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, m.d. at Macmillan Children's Books, said: "Tom Percival’s story is both accessible and engaging and we know will draw more children into a love of reading for pleasure, as well as giving them a book that they can own themselves. Research from the National Literacy Trust tells us that nearly 400,000 children do not own a book in the UK and our ambition with the Book Club is to reach as many of these children as possible. We are also very pleased to welcome new partners to the Book Club with this announcement, too. By working together in this way I hope we can start to inspire and make a difference to these young people’s lives."