McDonald’s Canada fosters appetite for reading with new Happy Meal books program

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New initiative allows families to choose a book or toy with every Happy Meal purchase

McDonald’s Canada is turning a page on its Happy Meal offerings with their new book program which allows families to choose a book or a toy with their Happy Meal purchase. In partnership with award-winning Kids Can Press, the largest Canadian-owned children’s book publisher, McDonald’s new Happy Meal book launch is meant to foster the love of reading to children across the country and encourage families to share story time together.

Canadian content

The books included in the Happy Meal promotion are all written and illustrated by Canadians and feature distinct Canadian content, including iconic characters such as Franklin the Turtle by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt, the beloved Life in the Wild series by Nicholas Oldland and the Dragon Safety Series from Jean E. Pendziwol and Martine Gourbault.


As part of the launch of McDonald’s new Happy Meal Book program, Canadians can help spread the love of reading through McDonald’s #OwnaBookGiveaBook donation initiative by posting a shelfie – a photo of book shelves – including the hashtag. One book per shelfie – up to 20,000 books – will be donated with First Book Canada to children. First Book Canada provides access to new books for children across the country.


“We believe books are an important piece of building a better future, and can inspire children to learn, create and better understand the world around them,” said Antoinette Benoit, Chief Marketing Officer, McDonald’s Canada. “We hope the Happy Meal Book program encourages families to come together and share the magic of reading.”

“We’ve been working hard to foster a passion for reading in children for more than 40 years,” said Lisa Lyons Johnston, Kids Can Press, President. “The importance of supporting Canadian authors and illustrators is at the heart of what we do.”

“Everyone deserves a chance to fall in love with reading,” said Tom Best, Executive Director of First Book Canada. “Accessibility to literature is a huge barrier to the success and literacy of children and we’re grateful for the chance to help improve this in any way possible.”

“Books have the unique ability to transport students to special places – inspiring creativity, imagination, curiosity, and ultimately, a life-long love of learning,” said Amy Sisam, teacher at Market Lane Public School, whose students will have the opportunity to attend the official launch event in Toronto.


  • It is estimated that millions of books will get into the hands of Canadian children through the new Happy Meal Book program.
  • McDonald’s will also install Little Free Libraries at Ronald McDonald Houses across the country, where books can be left or taken home, further improving accessibility to literature.
  • The first ever Happy Meal was introduced in Kansas City in October 1977, officially launching in all restaurants in 1979.
  • Happy Meals launched in Canada in 1994, with Cabbage Patch Kids and Tonka Trucks as toys.
  • The Happy Meal has plenty of nutritious options to choose from like apple slices, yogurt, milk and snack wraps.

About McDonald’s Canada 

In 1967, Canadians welcomed the first McDonald’s restaurant to Richmond, British Columbia. Today, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited has become part of the Canadian fabric, serving close to three million guests every day. Together with our franchisees, we proudly employ nearly 90,000 people from coast-to-coast and approximately 85 per cent of McDonald’s 1,400 Canadian restaurants are locally owned and operated by independent entrepreneurs. Of the almost $1 billion we spend on food, more than 85 per cent is purchased from over 100 suppliers in Canada. For more information on McDonald’s Canada visit

About Kids Can Press

Kids Can Press, part of the Corus Entertainment family, is the largest Canadian-owned children’s publisher and the recipient of the distinguished 2017 Bologna Book Prize–Children’s Publisher of the Year. Our catalog includes an award-winning list of over 700 picture books, nonfiction and fiction titles for children and young adults. For over 40 years, Kids Can Press has proudly published high-quality children’s books and continues this tradition with its digital publications, custom publishing partnerships and brand marketing initiatives. Browse Kids Can Press books at

About First Book Canada

First Book Canada provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. By making new, high quality books available on an ongoing basis, First Book Canada is transforming the lives of children and elevating the quality of education in the country. Since 2009, First Book Canada has distributed over 5.5 million brand new books to children in need across Canada. All funds raised in Canada go to programs serving children from low-income families. For more information, or to register with First Book Canada, visit us at and follow our latest news on Twitter and Facebook.

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