Eva Longoria joins Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks to open a chapter on reading, interview

Eva Longoria for Mott's Snacks and Stories program, photo provided by Mott's Fruit Flavored Snacks
Eva Longoria for Mott's Snacks and Stories program, photo provided by Mott's Fruit Flavored Snacks /

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.” While that quote might not be as well-known as reading is fundamental, it captures a concept that parents and children have done for years, read together. Through its Snacks and Stories program, Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks encourages everyone to open, and even share, a book with others. It is an idea that Eva Longoria stands behind.

To launch the Mott’s and Stories program, Eva Longoria and the Mott’s Snacks and Stories Mobile Library held a special event in Los Angeles. Featuring a wide array of multicultural stories and in partnership with the Penguin Random House, the event encouraged all ages to open a book and discover what those stories have to offer.

While the mobile library stands as a gathering place for this program, it is only one aspect. Now through May 2024, purchases of Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks can be redeemed for up to 16 children’s books. While a great snack can curb a hunger in the moment, a great book brings satisfies even after the last word is read.

Eva Longoria for Mott's Snacks and Stories program
Eva Longoria for Mott’s Snacks and Stories program, photo provided by Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks /

Recently, FoodSided spoke with Eva Longoria about her partnership with Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks, this Snacks and Stories program, and her desire to instill the love of reading in everyone.

According to Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC), 45% of children in the U.S. in an area considered a book desert. While some people might be familiar with the term food desert, a book desert is just as concerning for communities and their impacted families.

When asked her opinion why it is vital to raise awareness and make changes to this community deficit, Longoria said, “We need kids to have greater access to a library and books, especially a library of diverse characters. When you look at the statistics, 45% of children in the U.S. are living in book deserts with limited access to books. That means those communities don’t have that exposure to the world outside of their own community, which can sometimes lead to intolerance or misunderstanding. When you have access to all of these diverse authors, books and characters, it opens up your mind to the idea that we truly live in a global world. It exposes you to different cultures and languages, which can nurture very open-minded children.”

While many people can agree that working together to encourage everyone to open a book is vital, a starting point or a spark can be that moment to begin the conversation. Since food is a great connector, snack time can be that moment of engagement.

When asked about blending snack time and reading time, Longoria said, “It is a great combo! I love eating and reading, so why not put the two together. Snacks and Stories feels like a match made in heaven. Instead of only reading stories before bedtime, you can create a whole bonding experience with your kid through snack time making it a special, curated moment!”

As Longoria explained, the new Snacks and Stories program is a great way to get people to start that conversation. She said, “This curation of books that Mott’s has put together is really fantastic. There’s a lot of books that are bilingual, so you can read it in English and Spanish.”

A lot of kids that I’ve seen read these books will say “I wanna read it in Spanish!” even if they don’t speak Spanish — and you’re like “Great, go for it, try it!” And to see their mind just expand in the moment of reading a different language, it is beautiful to watch. And, I think it is super important because, like I said before, the world we live in is going to demand that they know about other communities and cultures.

Given that the program allows participants to redeem books through July 2024, there is plenty of time to read, read more, and keep reading. With purchases of Mott’s Fruit-Flavored Snacks, families can redeem their receipt to receive up to 16 children’s books featuring multicultural stories written by diverse authors.

In her household, Longoria’s family appreciates a wide array of stories and authors. Speaking about her child, “We’re big readers in our house! Santi loves bilingual books. So, in our house we have a special reading spot with a reading chair, we have bookshelves where Santi can pick whatever books he wants. He’ll grab three or four books and he’ll say ‘I wanna read these!’”

While creating a special spot can be important, everyone has to want to open that book. For Longoria, having options has encouraged that love of a great book.

Eva Longoria and Santiago
Eva Longoria and Santiago at Mott’s Snacks and Stories event, photo provided by Mott’s Fruit Flavored Snacks /

She said, “We have a big library! You know, some people go to toy stores, we go to bookstores. Santiago can pick anything he wants when we go. We’ll be there for hours, we try to make it a fun event. He’ll look at covers and explore. A book is a big deal in our home! It’s bigger than video games, YouTube videos or movies. It’s like “AH! A book!” In my household a book is equal to a toy and that’s what I’ve been trying to nurture.”

Even though the book may be more exciting than a screen, the story itself and the interaction brings the moment alive. Longoria admitted, “what makes it really fun is the performance by me. I do the voices, act it out – Santiago loves it! It’s like a theater show.”

Whether that book invites the reader into a fantasy world or it is something closer to home, many people still are drawn to their favorite children’s books. Longoria continues to share those stories with her family.

“I really love “Lil Libros” by Patty Rodriguez—they’re also bilingual with beautiful illustrations. I also love a lot of the books in the Mott’s Snacks & Stories collection, including “What Can You Do with a Paleta?” by Carmen Tafolla and “Too Many Tamales” by Gary Soto.”

“For me growing up, I grew up with “Charlotte’s Web” and “Moby Dick.” I didn’t grow up with diverse storytellers and characters. Even today, only 7% of children’s and young adult’s books published in 2022 had significant Latine/x content according to books received by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center in 2022. And you’re like “What! How is that?””

“We need to do a better job at celebrating the authors that are telling these wonderful stories from different communities and characters.”

“You know, I grew up in a book desert, so for me, my heart fills with pride seeing all of these authors being celebrated by the Mott’s Snacks and Stories program and mobile library. It is going to be really amazing for all of these kids to have access to these storytellers through this program.”

Access is one component to changing the storyline on book deserts. Hopefully, with the help of programs like Mott’s Snacks and Stories, the happily ever after that is that more children have books in their hands, turn another page, and have another story to enjoy time and again.

More information on Mott’s Snacks and Stories and how to join the program for redeeming books can be found at MottsStories.com.

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