Bestselling author and tireless literacy advocate James Patterson is kicking off the holiday season with a thank-you gift to independent bookstore employees: a donation of $250,000 that will be granted as bonuses of $1,000 to $5,000 to individual booksellers at ABA member stores.
Patterson, who recently launched the children’s book imprint Jimmy Patterson, will be donating all his proceeds from the sale of Jimmy Patterson Books to fund pro-reading initiatives, including the holiday bonus program. In announcing the bonus initiative on Wednesday, Patterson said that he created the program because he believes that bookstore employees are saving literature and that their work is critical to building a more literate America.
In 2014, Patterson awarded more than $1 million in grants to 178 independent bookstores committed to fostering a love of reading among children and young adults.
“Every holiday season I get the chance to pick out books to give my son, Jack,” said Patterson. “I think hard about what he'll love reading — what will excite him? What will inspire him? Of course, every day booksellers ask these questions on behalf of the people in their community. And I think they should be rewarded for spreading the joy of reading. These holiday bonuses are my humble acknowledgement of the important work they do all year. Here’s to you, booksellers, and to a joyful holiday season!”
ABA CEO Oren Teicher said, “We are extremely grateful to James Patterson, who once again has shown himself to be a singular champion for literacy and independent booksellers. His commitment and generosity continue with this latest initiative, which will ensure that a number of independent bookstore owners will be able to offer well-earned bonuses to their colleagues in the store, who are working so hard to put just the right book in the hands of readers of all ages.”
Anyone can nominate a bookstore employee for a bonus — store owners, managers, fellow booksellers, publishing professionals, and shoppers. The application, which is open now through November 1, asks one simple question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” Patterson will personally select the bookstore employees who will receive bonuses, and the full list of winners will be announced in December. The nomination form, program rules, and an FAQ can be found at bookweb.org/bonus.
Over the past decade, Patterson has given away more than a million books to students throughout the U.S. and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy.
The National Book Foundation will honor Patterson for his many years of literacy activism with the presentation of its 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community on November 18 at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner in New York City.
Jimmy Patterson Books launched with the following mission statement:
We believe a kid who reads is a kid who can succeed.
We believe it’s every adult’s responsibility to get books into kids’ hands and into kids’ lives.
We want to make reading fun for kids — through stories and voices that speak to them and expand their world.
We want to make books available to kids — through teacher scholarships, bookstore funding, school library support, and book donations.
We want every kid who finishes a Jimmy book to say: “PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.”