Cheerios Serves Up Six Million Children’s Books Inside Boxes this Fall

MINNEAPOLIS, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire/ — General Mills (NYSE:GIS) – Bedtime stories are a tradition for many families, but this fall families are invited to also START their day with a great book. Beginning in October 2009, Cheerios is again bringing books to the breakfast table, by providing six million children’s books free inside Cheerios boxes. The books, for children ages 3 to 8 years old, include a new book in the popular “Trucktown” series, available only inside Cheerios boxes. And all five books have been specially printed in both English and Spanish.

“Parents and caregivers play an important role in nurturing children’s love of reading, by reading with their child every day,” said Jeff Hingher, Cheerios marketing manager. “We hope this simple action of putting great books inside Cheerios boxes can make it easier for families to enjoy a book together, and help set the foundation for more children to grow up as readers.”

Cheerios is also making a financial donation to First Book, an award-winning children’s nonprofit organization that gets new books to children from low-income families. “For many kids, just having a book to read is the biggest obstacle to learning,” said Kyle Zimmer, president of First Book. “Cheerios’ support means we can deliver even more books to kids, many of whom don’t have a single book to call their own.” This is the eighth year of the Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories program, and over the past eight years, Cheerios has distributed more than 40 million books inside Cheerios boxes – and given $3.2 million to First Book. The program is part of an ongoing commitment to helping parents provide their children with a healthy, nutritional and educational foundation.

Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories kicks off during Give a Child a Book Week, October 12 – 19. With the help of Cheerios’ financial support, First Book will give a year’s worth of books to every child participating in 50 selected reading programs, one in each state across the country.

This year’s book offerings from Cheerios – all by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – are:

Junkyard Fort, by Jon Scieszka, and illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and Dave Gordon. A new book in the popular “Trucktown” series, available exclusively inside Cheerios boxes. Scieszka is the United States’ first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Tea for Ruby, by The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser.

Sleepyhead, by Karma Wilson and illustrated by John Segal.

Ballyhoo Bay, by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Derek Anderson.

What’s Under the Bed?, written and illustrated by Joe Fenton.

Families can see which book is inside through a special cut-out window on the front of the box, so they can select the specific book they want, or collect all five.

“Encouraging kids to read is about making books available to them, and providing a variety of storylines, characters, illustration styles, and reading levels,” said Scieszka. “From my perspective as an author, a teacher, a dad, and as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, what Cheerios is doing through this Spoonfuls of Stories program is exactly and spectacularly right. This is how you make it both fun and easy for families to feed their child’s love of books.”

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