March 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

James Patterson Puts Cash Behind his Convictions with the Help of Scholastic Reading Club


As National Library Week continues, Scholastic Reading Club (SRC) has announced the Patterson Pledge grant program. For the second year, author James Patterson will personally donate $1.75 million, and Scholastic Reading Club will match each dollar with “Bonus Points,” which teachers can use to acquire materials for their classrooms.

The aim of the program is to give as many children in the United States access to books and a functioning school library as possible. Last year, nearly 28,000 entries were received and 467 schools were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000. The number one needs expressed in all those entries is, perhaps unsurprisingly, books. “Seeing hundreds of photos of empty library shelves….and understanding the urgency of the situation, has been the motivation behind renewing this campaign,” says Judy Newman, president, Scholastic Reading Club. Patterson agrees that the biggest needs are the most basic. “We hear from thousands of schools that haven’t been able to buy books in two years or four years or longer because there’s no budget. It’s hard to encourage students to visit the library if there are no new books. We also hear from lots of schools that they no longer have a librarian or the library was turned into a classroom, which is just as bad.”


The Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report, created by by an independent research firm, found that kids cite school libraries as the number one place they find books they want to read. It also put forth the fact that if kids don’t have access to books they want to read—for free—a downward spiral starts.

“Kids need to be connected with books that really turn them on to reading, and librarians have the power to guide them towards stories that they won’t be able to put down. And then recommend another, and then another…pretty soon they’re hooked!” says Patterson.

Newman agrees. “Not having a librarian in a school library is like removing a math teacher and saying to the kids, ‘OK, you’re on your own.’”

The grant applications can be submitted by librarians, teachers, administrators, or parents on behalf of any U.S. school that services students in grades pre–K through 12, between now and May 31, 2016.


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Christina Vercelletto About Christina Vercelletto

Christina Vercelletto is School Library Journal’s former news editor. An award-winning writer and editor, Vercelletto has held staff positions at Babytalk, Parenting, Scholastic Parent & Child, and

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  1. Trisha Hutcherson says:

    Thank you to James Patterson and Scholastic for your support of school library programs!

  2. My students and myself love James Patterson books. We also have a Scholastic Book Fair every year. Thank you James and Scholastic for this offer.