James Patterson dubbed a ‘champion’ by Library of Congress

James Patterson in his Florida study.
James Patterson in his Florida study.
(Steve Mitchell / Associated Press)

Bestselling author James Patterson was named a champion at the Library of Congress this week -- the first-ever Champion of its Young Readers Center.

The 5-year-old Young Readers Center is the only part of the Library of Congress that encourages readers to walk in the door (others need to go through a standard library card process). In a role that’s still being defined, Patterson will be working to encourage reading with kids and families, Publishers Weekly reports.

Patterson is best known for his Alex Cross thrillers, but he keeps many franchises alive. The mega-bestselling author has lately used co-writers to keep up an astounding pace, publishing more than a dozen books in a single year. He’s adapted to multiple formats, including Manga, and was the first author to sell 10 million e-books.


Lately, Patterson has turned his personal attention toward fostering a love of reading in young people. He founded ReadKiddoRead, with support for educators, parents and book giveaways.

In September, Patterson gave the keynote speech at the Library of Congress’ literacy awards. “Better readers become better thinkers. If kids are not good readers, then their chances of getting through high school are slim to none,” he said.

About his new role as Champion of the Young Readers Center, Patterson told Publishers Weekly, ““Growing competent readers can only happen with the right stimuli. We need to pay attention to what [kids] want to read. It’s important not to turn them off.” In his own work he focuses on storytelling and humor. “I love the idea of reaching kids with humor,” he said. “There should be more humor in life, and certainly in books.”


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