Ad of the Day: BT and Hope United champion power of literature with Marcus Rashford

In the third installment of BT and Hope United’s campaign to celebrate Black British history, footballer Marcus Rashford passionately speaks about the impact literature has had on his life and the power that reading can have on shaping a child’s perception of the multicultural society we live in.

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the film features Rashford surrounded by a montage of videos and images showcasing the diversity that makes the UK great, as well as footage from his own childhood and football career. He opens by asking viewers: “One of the best things about our country is how diverse it is. There’s a lot to know, so where do you begin?”

Recounting his youth and the times spent with his mother learning about other cultures, he states that without the help of books children might not be as exposed to different experiences.

The episode will see Rashford share a carefully curated list of books for parents and carers to inspire children and young people, which will be available on the Pan Macmillan website. It features work by authors including Floella Benjamin, David Olusoga and Lenny Henry and illustrators such as Diane Ewen and Dapo Adeola.

When asked if he thinks there’s a lack of representation in the books that young people read today, Rashford noted: “I think there is still a lot more work that can be done. One of the reasons I didn’t really engage in reading as a child was because I couldn’t really see myself in the characters. That was a big driving force for me setting up the Book Club and publishing my own books – I wanted all children to read books and feel like they were written for them, and that they were representative of modern British society.

“But bigger than that, the Book Club was designed to equip all children with life lessons and tools to navigate any challenges they were facing, whether that be at home, at school or life in general.”

Earlier this year, BT formed Hope United, a diverse team of footballers including Rio and Anton Ferdinand and Eni Aluko, who came together from across the Home Nations to educate the country on the digital skills needed to tackle online hate.

“This campaign is another step forward in our mission to connect for good. Through our ongoing work with the Hope United team, and by using our channels, we will continue driving a message of hope, offering the nation online resources to educate themselves on Black British history,” said Pete Jeavons, director of marketing communications at BT.

“We launched Hope United in a collective stand against social media hate; this campaign sees us continue tackling this issue with action, education and a commitment to facilitating change.”

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