Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United forward and food poverty campaigner, has just launched a new partnership with MacMillan Children’s Books, aiming to encourage reading among children from all socio-economic backgrounds.
Rashford said: “I only started reading at 17, and it completely changed my outlook and mentality. 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.
“There were times where 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. My books are – and always will be – for every child, even if I have to deliver them myself. We will reach them.”
The publishers are aiming to ensure that children from vulnerable or low-income backgrounds will be able to get their hands on the books.
The first book to be released under the partnership, YOU ARE A CHAMPION: Unlock Your Potential, Find Your Voice And Be The BEST You Can Be, will be an illustrated non-fiction title based on Rashford’s life.
The book will be co-written by The Athletic journalist, and VICE contributor, Carl Anka and performance psychologist Katie Warriner. Each chapter will focus on a different story from Rashford’s life. According to MacMillan, “Readers will find out how positive thinking can change their life, build mental resilience, learn how to navigate adversity and discover the unstoppable power of their own voice.”
In other Rashford news, last week The Mail on Sunday, in a stunning act of investigative journalism, revealed that the Premier League footballer earns a lot of money, reporting that Rashford has bought five properties.
In response, Rashford tweeted, “Ok, so let’s address this. I’m 23. I came from little. I need to protect not just my future but my family’s too. To do that I made a decision at the beg of 2020 to start investing more in property. Please don’t run stories like this alongside refs to ‘campaigning’.”
Whatever your opinion about footballers’ wages, a pattern has undoubtedly emerged in recent years of British media outlets focusing on income inequality when it benefits young Black men who play the sport – first Raheem Stirling, now Rashford – but neglecting to mention CEOs, or investment bankers, or property magnates.
The Mail article contrasts “school meals Marcus” with his “£2m homes empire”, implying that Rashford buying property alongside “campaigning” makes him a hypocrite.
In fact, he seems like a very decent person who has gone out of his way to use his platform to help people less fortunate than himself. Giving money to charity is one thing – and the philanthropy of millionaires shouldn’t be above criticism – but coordinating a political campaign off your own back is impressive.
Being rich and powerful and trying to use your position for good is, of course, morally better than being rich, powerful and doing nothing. It’s better to be a champagne socialist than a champagne Tory.