England striker Marcus Rashford is to launch a book club to help children experience the escapism of reading.
The Manchester United player, whose efforts to support underprivileged children have forced two U-turns from the British government over funding school meals during holidays, is joining forces with Macmillan Children’s Books.
“I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality,” Rashford, who grew up in Manchester in a family reliant on food stamps and government help, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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.”
The books will be particularly aimed at reaching children from vulnerable and underprivileged backgrounds.
Rashford, who was awarded an MBE – a top honour from the British state – for his school meals initiative, said there were times in his childhood when “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.”
Rashford is even penning a book himself, which according to The Guardian newspaper will be co-created with Carl Anka, a journalist, and Katie Warriner, a performance psychologist.
It will be an illustrated non-fiction title, targeted at the 11-16 age group, and will be published in May 2021.
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