A few years ago I had the privilege of hearing James Patterson present at NCTE. I hate to admit it, but James Patterson was just an author I had heard mentioned from time to time. I had never read one of his books. I just knew that several of my friends loved his books, and he was an acclaimed author. Mr. Patterson shared his passion for getting adventurous books into the hands of middle school students. His son was at the age, and so he wrote a book called Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Mr. Patterson wanted students to love reading again.
I have a son, Wes, who is a great reader. With his talent for the word, excellent comprehension, and a mother who loves reading, a person would assume that he would be reading a lot. Wrong! Wes would prefer to be outside hitting a baseball or throwing a football. “Reading is for school,” he often says. Seeing my look of protest, Wes adds, “I do read. I read everything the teacher assigns me.” Ugh!
After hearing James Patterson speak, I couldn’t wait to return home and introduce the Maximum Ride book to Wes. He was reluctant, but began reading. Wes loved the book. He wanted the next one to come out right then. He was excited about reading again.
Upon heading to the library yesterday, Elizabeth headed upstairs to get some books. Wes checked out some videos and then said, “Is it okay if I go upstairs?” I looked at him blankly. Was he joking? “I want to see if James Patterson has any new books.” I couldn’t believe my ears. Dumbfounded, I nodded my head.
Several minutes later, Wes returned with his sister. I stared. There in his hands were two books. “Yeah, I know. Surprise, surprise,” he added matter-of-factly.
Elizabeth interjected my stunned silence, “I helped him find them.” Wesley just rolled his eyes.
Tonight, I am typing my slice of life with my son sitting on the couch, reading. He stayed up late last night reading the first Daniel X book and finished it this afternoon. My husband is reading the sports section in the paper. As Rick comments on the news, Wes is in his own world. Rick asks him a question and receives no response – all because of a great book. Thank you, James Patterson.