McDonald's Is Swapping Out Happy Meal Toys For Children's Books In Huge Campaign

A big change that could mean smarter kids.

We all remember opening our McDonald's Happy Meals and wolfing down the food just to get to that awesome plastic toy. But for millions of children, the toy will be replaced by something else: a book.

McDonald's announced this week that they will give out more than 50 million books by the end of 2016 through a partnership with pro-literacy charity Reading Is Fundamental. Every Happy Meal for the next two weeks will have a book inside. Via Mashable:

McDonalds has four books in their line-up, three of them Valentine's Day themed (McDouble your suffering). They are: Clark the Shark Takes Heart by Bruce Hale, Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond, and Pete the Cat: Valentine's Day Is Cool. The children's classic, Paddington, will also be offered to all the disappointed children to pair with their cheeseburgers.

Studies have shown that access to books is an "instrumental" part of combating illiteracy, and the campaign will give out enough books for every child under the age of 12 in America. 

McDonald's USA.
McDonald's USA.

That massive collection of books is actually more than you can find in the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, which has less than 24 million. 

According to Reading Is Fundamental, many parts of America are still struggling with literacy. 65 percent of fourth graders read at or below the basic level, and more than 75 percent of children who are poor readers by third grade fall behind in school and never catch up — so pairing children's books with Happy Meals could have a huge impact.

"Books are the building blocks for a better future," Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading is Fundamental, told A Plus. "They foster the imagination, expand our understanding of the world and fuel a lifelong love of learning."

Cover Photo: David Paul Morris / Getty Images.