James Patterson will give a book to every New York City 6th grader

James Patterson, speaking to Venice High School students in 2012, has announced a gift of 45,000 books to students in NYC.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Mega bestselling author James Patterson announced Monday that he will give close to 45,000 books -- one for every sixth grader in the New York City Public School system -- to students before the school year is out.

The idea is to jump-start kids’ reading during the summer.

Students will get one specific book, “Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” written by Patterson and co-author Chris Tebbetts. It’s the first in a five-book series.

In a statement, NYC school Chancellor Carmen Farina said, “Our student’s [sic] academic development does not stop when school ends. We know that in the long-term summer reading is critical in enabling our students to succeed both in an out of the classroom – and this donation will help do just that.”


Patterson, one of the world’s most successful authors, has repeatedly expressed concern about the health of the literary community and the need to do a better job raising readers.

This is just the latest in a rash of charitable actions taken by Patterson to encourage reading. He has donated 28,000 books to students in Chicago and 4,000 to students in Washington. And since February has given $535,000 in cash grants to independent bookstores nationwide.

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