W H Smith is partnering with Macmillan Children's Books to gift a copy of Marcus Rashford’s book, You are a Champion: How to Be The Best You Can Be, for every copy pre-ordered or sold.
The high street retailer is also partnering with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) for the scheme. The free copies will be distributed through NLT hubs which work to tackle literacy issues in communities at a local level across the UK. Customers will also be able to donate money at W H Smith high street and travel stores at the till point or online.
It is estimated that 380,000 children in the UK do not own a single book of their own, according to a survey of schoolchildren undertaken by the NLT in 2019.
You are a Champion is Rashford’s first book, written with Carl Anka. It is due to be released by Macmillan Children's Books on 27th May.
Rashford said: “Enjoying reading can’t just be a privilege; all children should be able to access books, no matter what their background. Having good literacy skills supports children to succeed in life and everyone should have the opportunity to discover a love of reading.”
Lucy Swinburn, head of books at W H Smith commented: “At W H Smith, we share Marcus’s vision to ensure every child in the UK has access to their own book at home. We have championed literacy over many years through our partnership with the National Literacy Trust, donating over 76,000 books to date to disadvantaged children. However, we know there is more work to do and the events of the past year have increased the gap in children’s literacy levels even further.
“As a result, we’re now even more driven to continue on our journey to tackle this issue and ensure every child has the opportunity to immerse themselves in a great book. The donations we raise across our UK store estate and online will enable this to happen and we’d like to thank all our wonderful customers in advance for their support.”
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, m.d. at Macmillan Children’s Books, said: “Macmillan Children's Books is absolutely thrilled that our collaboration with Marcus Rashford and its shared vision of reaching children without books in the UK will now be amplified through this phenomenal campaign with WHSmith and the National Literacy Trust. We are confident that this powerful partnership will have impact and bring change to the lives of children who need this support more than ever.”
W H Smith will also be hosting a digital event for the launch of Rashford’s new book on 27th May. It will distribute 1,500 free tickets to schools in deprived areas and will also donate 1,500 copies of the book to these schools for their libraries. Customers will also be able to get a ticket to watch the interview on demand when they buy a copy of the book instore and online.