James Patterson to Work with Library of Congress on Youth Literacy

November 18, 2013

The Library of Congress named longtime bestseller James Patterson as the Champion of its Young Readers Center. The mission of the Center is to connect young readers with good children’s literature. Patterson’s role, though not yet fully conceptualized, will correspond to his belief that involving parents, grandparents, and guardians in the encouragement of children’s reading will improve the state of youth literacy. “Parents would never knowingly give their children a handicap,” Patterson said. “But not encouraging them to read does just that.”

This nomination follows a notable shift in Patterson’s personal agenda towards nurturing a love for reading in the young generation. Having authored several young adult series throughout the past decade, in 2008 he started a website entitled ReadKiddoRead where he discusses ways in which kids can be motivated to read more, targeting parents as the responsible agents to make it happen. Also on the site, educators can find lesson plans, there are reading lists of books that serve as vehicles to jumpstart a child’s reading habits, and resources provide reviews for books for younger audiences. Patterson said, of his new role championing the Young Readers Center, “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.”

The Young Readers Center, the only section of the Library of Congress open to the public, opened its doors five years ago, giving young people a place designed specifically for them to explore the world of books. Patterson, in joining the Young Readers Center, hopes that “In the Library of Congress, in this wonderful building with this much firepower behind it, we should really be able to make something happen in the lives of children and families.”

Sources: Publishers Weekly & The Los Angeles Times

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