James Patterson is one of the most famous authors in the world, with more than 100 books (at least one of which explodes) to his name. He's becoming just as well known in the publishing world for his philanthropy, after giving well more than $1 million to independent bookstores across the country since 2013. Now the thriller writer is following that up with a $1.25 million pledge to a program benefiting school libraries.
Patterson will donate the money via a Scholastic Reading Club grant program, the Associated Press reports. School libraries will be able to request grants between $1,000 and $10,000, with Scholastic matching the donations in "Bonus Points" that can be redeemed for classroom supplies.
In a statement on the program's website, Patterson says the goal of the grant program is to get more books in the hands of children: "We're at a pivotal moment in our history. School libraries are shutting their doors left and right, despite the fact that it's more important than ever for a child to grow up with a school librarian."
Any American school with students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade are eligible for the grants, which can be requested by school employees as well as parents or students affiliated with the school. Applications for the grants, which can be made though the website, will be accepted through May 31.
The author of the "Alex Cross" books made news in 2013 by donating $1 million to independent bookstores; he followed that up the next year with an additional donation of $473,000. The latter grant benefited some Southern California bookstores, including Skylight Books in Los Angeles, Book Soup in West Hollywood and Once Upon a Time in Montrose.
Patterson told the AP his latest donation aims to address the lack of print books in many school libraries across the country. "There's a myth out there among some people that the kids are reading only digital books now," he said. "They're not."