James Patterson has sold 300 million books worldwide and has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer – ever. He is the international bestselling author, penning both hardboiled crime novels (think the Alex Cross series) and books for children.
As a philanthropist and activist for children’s literacy, he is donating $1.25 million to school libraries this year to help keep books and reading a priority in the United States. Patterson is joining forces with Scholastic Reading Club, who will match each dollar with “Bonus Points” teachers can use to acquire books and other materials for their classrooms.
Patterson hopes this strategy will “[shine] a light on the problem. I mean, here we are on radio and we’re talking about it. Hopefully rather than just listen, people will go out there and stimulate the librarians, or somebody at the schools where their kids go, and go ‘hey, why don’t you apply for that?’ and think about giving books to the local school library because a lot of them need books and a lot of them need librarians.”
Applications are available to nominate a school library for a donation. Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000, and may be used for anything from computer repairs to school projects focused on books and reading.
Patterson is also releasing a new illustrated novel entitled “Public School Superhero” on March 16. The book is right in line with the kinds of novels Patterson is known for – the kind of book a kid will not want to put down. “Kids need to read, they need to read a lot. The first class trip every year in every school in this country should be ‘today we’re going to visit our own library in the school.’ And it shouldn’t be about the rules, it should be about what a wonderful place it is.”