SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In time for Valentine's Day, McDonald's restaurants of Northern California are inviting families throughout Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto to celebrate the "love" of reading with the launch of new Happy Meal Books focused on Valentine's Day-themed storylines and punch-out valentines.
Beginning February 2 through February 15, McDonald's will offer books in print for Happy Meal customers in partnership with HarperCollins Children's Books, one of the leading publishers of children's books. The books offered this year include Pete the Cat, Paddington, Clark the Shark, and Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! The launch of this year's Happy Meal Book program will allow McDonald's USA to distribute more than 50 million Happy Meal Books to children through both sales and donations since the program began in 2013 – enough to provide a book to every child in America under the age of 12. Since 2013, McDonald's USA has distributed 32.5 million books through sales and donations. In comparison, the Library of Congress (the largest library in the world) has 23.9 million cataloged books in its classification system.
"We're excited to invite families to spend time together and celebrate the love of reading through these fun Happy Meal Books," said Courtney Ristuben-Escalante, a Sacramento-area McDonald's owner and operator. "This is one step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families, and part of a broader book strategy with an outstanding literacy partner to combine the fun of the Happy Meal with more family reading time."
Literacy continues to be a critical issue for American children, which is why McDonald's is trying to increase access to books. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 93 million adults inthe United States read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully to society. Book ownership in the home is low. One study found that in middle income neighborhoods the ratio is 13 books per child; in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one book for every 300 children (https://www.firstbook.org/images/pdf/Statistics-on-Literacy.pdf).
As part of the launch of Happy Meal Books in 2016, families in Northern California are invited to the McDonald's restaurant located at 7632 Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights on Saturday, February 13 from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m. for a "Reading with Ronald" event. All children in attendance will receive a free edition of one of the Happy Meal Books, will listen to stories read by Ronald McDonald and will learn about the importance of reading.
About McDonald's in Northern California
There are over 170 McDonald's Restaurants in the Greater Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto Area, owned and operated by more than 54 franchisees. McDonald's USA, LLC, is the leading foodservice provider inthe United States, serving a variety of wholesome foods made from quality ingredients to millions of customers every day. More than 80 percent of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees. For more information, please visit www.mcdonalds.com