Belinda Huang/ Emertainment Monthly Books Editor
On the last day of BookExpo America, James Patterson launched his children’s book imprint at Little, Brown, and Company, a division of the Hachette Book Group. Called jimmy patterson, the imprint aims to increase children’s engagement with the literary world, both by publishing interesting books for young people and by contributing to the literary, teaching, and publishing communities.
The enthusiasm was clear in the room as the news was announced. The new imprint’s mission is to have children finish a jimmy patterson book ask for another, and then another, therefore creating lifelong readers and learners. To this end, jimmy patterson aims to grow a selection of readable, engaging books for young people, focusing also on representing a diversity of backgrounds and interests. James Patterson himself has written many books aimed at younger audiences, including the successful Maximum Ride series that has been adapted into manga, a Marvel comic, and was optioned for film, with the potential for becoming a web series. Patterson has often cited his son as the reason he got into writing for children, and these young adult fantasy novels are just one example of his success.
On the other side of reading, jimmy patterson also aims to provide programs and support for librarians, teachers, and parents, to help foster environments that create young readers. Profits from the site are also going back into the community, through scholarships for teachers, to support these same programs, and to help provide books for young people who may not otherwise have access to them through financial hardship. These initiatives provide a multi-faceted approach to encouraging children’s literacy, which has been linked to higher rates of high school graduation, college education, active citizenship and socioeconomic mobility.
Patterson is a prolific and commercially successfully author in his own right, having published over one hundred New York Times bestsellers, according to his publisher. However, he has also been noted for his commitment to children’s literacy. He helped launch the non-profit website, Read Kiddo Read, to help parents get their children reading, and keep reading. This website was the winner of the National Book Award’s Innovations in Reading Prize. Patterson has also donated millions of his own money to support independent bookstores and school libraries, as well as scholarships.
The announcement of jimmy patterson at BookExpo America was a successful launch for the imprint. Throughout the day, people wearing jimmy patterson t-shirts gave out promotional material and information to the interested booksellers, librarians, and publishers at the event. With it dedication, resources, and star power, jimmy patterson stands a good chance of making a significant difference in the reading habits of young people all across the country.