Author plans to give cash for reading initiatives

Author James Patterson has announced that he will give a $100,000 donation to help get children reading in New Zealand and Australia.

Author James Patterson
Author James Patterson

With sales in excess of 300 million copies around the world, Patterson is one of the biggest-selling authors of all time. He is prolific, talented and has an ability to write a variety of genres, from thrillers, to romance to books for kids.

Naturally, given his chosen profession, he’s quite keen to get people reading and in particular, children.

The Florida-based author made the announcement in Sydney yesterday. He says he believes there are far too many children at risk of living their lives without books and is concerned that this translates to a world “run by the self-centred, the short-sighted and the glib. The apathetic and the narrow-minded”.

Patterson’s donation means bookstores throughout Australasia can claim up to $5000 each to spend on initiatives to get children reading.

“There is no doubt in my mind that bookshops play an essential role in the community in getting kids reading,’ says Patterson, who has run similar initiatives in the United Kingdom and the United States.

“I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received from bookstores in the UK and the US. And I have been thrilled to see the real difference that these grants have already started to make. I can’t wait to see the proposals from Australian and New Zealand bookstores.”

Booksellers wanting to apply for the grant must already have a dedicated children’s book section in their store.

Booksellers NZ chief executive Lincoln Gould says “this wonderful opportunity for booksellers provided by James Patterson through Penguin Random House, is another example of the bond between authors and booksellers working together to build the next generation of readers”.

“Bookshops guard against a future in which far too many children are illiterate,” says Patterson. “So many bookstores are already making a difference in their communities and I’m looking to help bookstores who want to do more … I’m open to all sorts of ideas. From an after-school bookclub, to an emailed newsletter. From a spot bonus to a valued employee, to funds to create a storytelling tent. Send me your ideas and I will read them,” he says.

“For me, making the pledge is the easy part. The tricky task will be deciding which shops to help.”

Booksellers have until 5pm on June 30 to apply for the grant. Click here to download an application form.

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