As a ’90s kid, there was no greater reward for reading James and the Giant Peach or The Giving Tree than a shot at free pizza.
The premise was almost Pavlovian: Read a book, have your parents write a note to your teacher, get a coupon for free at Pizza Hut.
Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program was beloved by millennials – and their parents – for getting books and delicious personal pan pizzas in their hands. Like POGs, Ecto Cooler, and Chicago Bulls NBA dominance, it’s a cherished collective cultural experience for an entire generation.
In college, my mom was a waitress at the Pizza Hut in our small little town in Pennsylvania so it was always a highlight to stack Book-It receipts and hit the ‘Hut on a Friday night.
Pizza Hut’s BOOK IT! program is very much so still around, encouraging literacy education for PreK-6th classrooms.
Since the restaurant chain has been leaning heavily into the cross-generational nostalgic feels lately, Pizza Hut just introduced what its calling “The BOOK IT! Bundle” for a limited time. The deal includes 2 large, 1-topping pizzas and breadsticks.
The first 20,000 pizza lovers to purchase the BOOK IT! Bundle online will also receive a redemption code that can be entered at theBOOKITshop.com for a free retro BOOK IT! t-shirt.
“We have supported childhood literacy for 37 years and we’re proud to extend our reach through our partnership with the non-profit organization First Book,” according to Pizza Hut CMO Lindsay Morgan. “To give the gift of reading to those who need it most is an act we find incredibly rewarding and to be able to do it simply by ordering pizza makes it a win-win. We first offered the BOOK IT! T-shirts during the launch of Camp BOOK IT! back in October and pizza lovers claimed over 5,000 BOOK IT! t-shirts in just under three hours, so fans will have to move quickly to get ‘em while they’re hot! Every time I wear a BOOK IT! t-shirt out of the house, the touching comments I get from total strangers remind me of the power of the program and the passion people have for it—we’ve got something special with BOOK IT!”
I was a bit of a BOOK IT fiend back in the day. In college, before her job as a middle school teacher, my mom was a waitress at the Pizza Hut in our small little town in Pennsylvania. Family Pizza Hut nights were special – We’d stack BOOK IT coupons and hit the ‘Hut on a Friday night. Because she worked there in the late ’70s-80s, those trips were just as nostalgic for her as they were impactful for us. And they got my brother, sister, and I to read a whole heck of a lot of books.
With so many millennials settling down and having children of their own, it’s a cool time for Pizza Hut to dive back into the nostalgia thing.
Hopefully many books are read by a new generation because of it, making a lot of happy family memories along the way.