This Best-Selling Author Just Donated $2 Million to School Libraries
Right in time for International Literacy Day.
James Patterson isn’t giving up on getting books into the hands of children.
The author announced to the Associated Press on Thursday that he’s following through with his 2018 pledge to give $2 million to the “Patterson Pledge” to support classroom libraries. As part of the campaign, $500 grants will be given out to 4,000 teachers across the country. The donations will also be matched by 500 “Bonus Points” from Scholastic Book Clubs.
Known for his novels, including hit series such as Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club, Patterson said in a statement he was “thrilled” to assist teachers and their “extraordinary efforts” to get children reading. His grants are especially needed as classrooms across the country lack stocked libraries.
.@JP_Books and @ScholasticClub are working together to give 4,000 teachers $500 and 500 Bonus Points to help build their classroom libraries! Teachers: You have until July 31 to apply > https://t.co/jhXosg7bFK#PattersonPledgepic.twitter.com/toHyw4eZjJ— Scholastic (@Scholastic) July 24, 2018
Patterson’s announcement comes two days before the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Literacy Day on Sept. 8, which aims to raise global awareness on illiteracy issues.
Patterson has a strong philanthropy track record. The multi-genre author, who has topped Forbes’ highest-paid authors list three times, has donated millions to literacy programs and independent bookstores over the years. The best-selling novelist has donated more than $7 million to pre-K to 12th grade educators through the Patterson Pledge, first launched in 2015.
That same year, former President Obama assigned Patterson to coordinate the White House’s support of US independent bookstores.
Inspired by his son, who didn’t like books very much, Patterson started motivating children to read in 2008 with ReadKiddoRead.com. The website helps parents find enjoyable books for their kids.
Children aren’t the only ones who need more access to books. There are currently 750 million adults, including 102 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24, who lack basic literacy skills, according to UNESCO. Six out of 10 children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency reading levels. An estimated 267 million children and adults who have graduated school could still potentially join the future adult population struggling with illiteracy.
Efforts like Patterson’s could certainly help.