Cheerios(R) Spoonfuls of Stories(R) Celebrates 5th Birthday By Giving the Gift of...

Cheerios(R) Spoonfuls of Stories(R) Celebrates 5th Birthday By Giving the Gift of Reading: Five Million Award-Winning Children’s Books Free in Cereal Boxes this Fall!

The Celebration Includes Five Great Children's Books, Professional Racecar Driver Bobby Labonte - and the Opportunity for Families to Get Involved


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Minneapolis, MN–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–November 13, 2006–The phrase “birthday celebration” conjures up images of cake, singing, and – the best part – gifts. This fall, as Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories turns five, Cheerios is doing the giving.

In honor of the fifth birthday for Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories, which kicks off during National Children’s Book Week (November 13 – 19), Cheerios is bringing the party straight to your breakfast table, by putting five million award-winning children’s books FREE inside boxes of Cheerios cereal. Even racecar driver Bobby Labonte, the driver of the #43 Cheerios Dodge, is joining in the celebration. For every lap Labonte completes in the last 10 races of the season, Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories is donating 43 books to kids in need across the country through its nonprofit partner, First Book(R).

Cheerios is also working with First Book, the international children’s literacy nonprofit, to give a year’s worth of children’s books to 50 reading programs serving disadvantaged children across the country. And Cheerios is encouraging families to use the holidays to make their own “gift” to First Book, by using donation forms on 5 million Cheerios boxes. One hundred percent of the contributions will be used to buy brand new books for children who need them, and books will be distributed in communities where the donation was made.

“Cheerios has built a great track record with this program over the past five years, getting books to millions of kids,” said Labonte. “I’ve got two children myself, and I truly believe that the gift of books is something every child deserves.”

Doreen Cronin, author of Wiggle, one of the books featured inside boxes this year, said, “To have kids open up a box of Cheerios and get a book is fantastic. Cheerios features such a range of books – on different topics, with different stories, even different art styles – so there’s a greater chance of appealing to more kids’ interests and getting them started reading.”

This year’s book offerings from Cheerios are five great titles from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, including a book that Cheerios had specially printed in both English and Spanish. The book titles are:

— Wiggle by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Scott Menchin

— Olivia … and the Missing Toy written and illustrated by Ian Falconer

— The Tiny Seed written and illustrated by Eric Carle

— Horace and Morris Join the Chorus (but what about Dolores?) by James Howe, illustrated by Amy Walrod

— Little Quack’s Bedtime by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Derek Anderson

One of these paperback books will be available inside each Cheerios cereal box marked “Spoonfuls of Stories,” which are expected to be on shelves between November 2006 and early spring 2007. The books, which are specially sized to fit inside cereal boxes, feature all the original content and illustrations. Families can see which book is in the box through a special cut-out window on the front of the box — so they can pick the exact book they want, or collect all five titles. And, First Book donation forms are featured on every box, on the side panel.

“Over the past five years, we will have given away 25 million award-winning books inside Cheerios boxes – featuring authors, stories and titles we’re proud of, and that parents and children can enjoy together,” said Ricardo Fernandez, marketing manager for Cheerios. “To help us celebrate our fifth birthday this year, we want to encourage every family who can, to make THIS the year they contribute to First Book. Though every child deserves an equal opportunity to read, almost 61 percent of children from low-income families don’t have a single book of their own. For a child who may never have had one, receiving a brand new book can be a life-changing experience.”

As part of this year’s Spoonfuls of Stories effort, Cheerios is working with First Book to contribute a year’s worth of books to 50 reading programs across the country, providing 12 brand new books to every child who participates in the program. First Book selected reading programs that are currently registered with them and that serve children from low-income families.

“Cheerios has contributed more than $2 million to First Book, which has enabled us to provide more than 5 million new books to children in need – and that’s in addition to the 25 million free books Cheerios has distributed to kids across the country inside their cereal boxes,” said Kyle Zimmer, president of First Book. “Studies have shown that the only measure that correlates significantly with school reading scores is the number of books in the home – and yet, appallingly, a recent study indicates that there is just one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods. Every single child in this country should have access to great books – and thanks to groups like Cheerios, millions more kids will be turned on to the magic of reading, which is so important to their future – and ours.”

For more information see http://www.cheerios.com or http://www.firstbook.org.

ABOUT CHEERIOS

Cheerios, America’s No. 1 cereal, debuted in 1941 as Cheerioats. The nation’s first ready-to-eat oat cereal has since become one of the most trusted and recognized brands in America. In fact, one of every 10 boxes of cereal sold in America is a box of Cheerios. General Mills’ popular franchise includes Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, Yogurt Burst Cheerios and Fruity Cheerios. Cheerios also has a publishing division that includes the popular Cheerios Play Books and other activity books. For more information, go to http://www.cheerios.com.

Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, Yogurt Burst Cheerios, Fruity Cheerios and Spoonfuls of Stories are trademarks of General Mills.

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Cheerios(R) Spoonfuls of Stories(R) Celebrates 5th Birthday By Giving the Gift of Reading: Five Million Award-Winning Children’s Books Free in Cereal Boxes this Fall!