McDonald's announced on Thursday that they will be including books in its Happy Meals instead of toys for two weeks starting Nov. 1, which is national family literature day, according to their website.
McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., said it will provide more than 20 million books to families in the U.S., while also giving 100,000 additional books to the literacy non-profit Reading is Fundamental. The books will be published by McDonald's themselves and feature four original books featuring McDonald's Happy Meal characters.
"This is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to enrich the lives of families, and part of a broader book strategy that will combine the fun of the Happy Meal, new partners and technology to inspire more family reading time," Ubong Ituen, vice president of marketing for McDonald's USA said in a press release.
McDonald's said they're already planning the next Happy Meal Books for 2015, many are skeptical about the motive behind the campaign.
According to ABC News, Corporate Accountability International, a watchdog group that has called on McDonald's to stop all marketing to kids and the group that brought a nine-year old girl to McDonald's shareholder meeting to scold CEO Don Thompson last May, is critical of McDonald's reading campaign.
According to NPR, CAI said the campaign is McDonald's trying to earn "undeserved goodwill" from parents and health advocates.
The fast food chain has been desperately trying to revamp its image with new menu offerings that offer healthier options like fruits and vegetable, but CAI campaign director Sara Deon called it "a thinly-veiled promotion designed to get the brand in front of more kids and earn goodwill," NPR reported.