‘Reading is cool’, says football star

Score! Marcus Rashford also campaigned successfully to give free school meals to children in lockdown. © Suki Dhanda

Can anyone be a writer? Marcus Rashford has set up a book club to spread the joy of reading to young people. One of the first books on the list will be one that he has written himself.

What’s happening

Last week, a footballer sent a Tweet out to nearly 4 million followers. It was short and clear.

It read: “Reading is cool. Books are cool. That’s it.”

The footballer was Marcus Rashford, and he was writing it to celebrate his new project: a giant country-wide book club.

Find out more

Marcus Rashford has spent a lot of his time this year campaigning for young people. During the first lockdown, he made sure that children had access to free school meals.

Now, he has teamed up with a publisher to create a book club. He wants to make sure everyone has a chance to enjoy reading.

“Over 380,000 children across the UK today have never owned a book,” he explained, “that has to change”.

The book club will also publish brand new stories. The first is a non-fiction book called YOU ARE A CHAMPION. Each chapter will be about Marcus Rashford’s own life.

When Marcus was younger, his family could not afford books. He only started reading for fun aged 17. Now, just six years later, he is writing one himself.

Can anyone be a writer?

Some say…

Yes! Marcus Rashford did not start reading books until he was 17. Now he has written his own. J K Rowling was told by lots of publishers that she wasn’t good enough. But she had success aged 36. And you can start young, too. Michele Nkamankeng wrote her first book when she was just six. These role models prove that anybody can do it.

Others think…

Writing is not for everyone. What Marcus Rashford teaches us is that it is good to be inspired and to express yourself. There are lots of ways to do this besides writing. Some people like singing, dancing and drawing. Others prefer to tell stories out loud or make things with their hands.

You Decide

  1. Do you prefer fiction books that tell made-up stories, or non-fiction books about real-life events?

Activities

  1. What is your favourite book? Make a short speech to your class explaining why you think it is so good. Give at least three reasons.

Some People Say...

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

Toni Morrison, American author

What do you think?

Word Watch

Tweet
The name for a message posted on a Twitter account.
Campaigning
If you campaign for something, you take part in a series of planned actions in order to reach a particular goal.
Free school meals
During the coronavirus pandemic, the government gave vouchers to children who usually have free school meals. These were due to stop at the end of term – until Marcus Rashford wrote to MPs urging them to change their decision.
Publisher
A company that works with authors to turn ideas and writing into real books. Macmillan Children’s Books publishes books specifically for children.
Book club
The club will give out free books to the most disadvantaged children to make sure they can enjoy reading as much as all of those lucky to have their own.
Non-fiction
A fiction book is one that is about a made-up story. A non-fiction is the opposite, meaning it is about a real-life event.
YOU ARE A CHAMPION
The book’s full title is, YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock your potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be. Marcus Rashford will write it with the help of a sports scientist and a journalist.
Afford
If you can afford something, you have enough money to buy it. For some families, books are too expensive to afford. This means that thousands of children do not own their own book.

Subjects

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