I am really looking forward to attending the gala at the Bouchercon convention and hearing James Patterson speak on his dedication to literacy and higher education. The event will raise funds for Literacy Instruction For Texas (LIFT), one of the first literacy organizations I came in contact with while researching the relationship between illiteracy and incarceration rates.

As the world’s best selling author (a fact I just learned recently), Patterson has donated more then one million books to underfunded schools and youth programs across the United States. Patterson also recognizes that having access to books is crucial to literacy, and to date he has donated $7.25 million to school and classroom libraries. Besides writing thrillers and mysteries, Patterson also writes books for kids, with the sole purpose of putting books in their hands and encouraging a life-long love of reading. To get kids off their phones and tablets and into books, Patterson has created Read Kiddo Read, whose mission is to foster the pleasure of reading and learning. The site is full of extensive resources providing appropriate books by age, activities, tips to keep kids engaged in reading, and lesson plans for educators. Two of Patterson’s tips (he and his wife Sue used them with great success on their son) is to find a book you love, and to set aside a designated time for reading each day.

Not only that, in 2015 Patterson launched Jimmy Patterson Books, an imprint at the publisher Little, Brown and Company. His goal is to create fun to read books for kids and teens that they enjoy and leave them wanting to read more.

I can’t wait to meet Patterson and hear his thoughts on literacy and the joy of reading. Like I do through my involvement with the East Side Learning Center, the Minnesota literacy organization I volunteer with, I’m sure I’ll gain new insights and ideas on providing every child the fundamental opportunity to lose themselves in a good book.

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