As most of you know, I am a huge lover of all types of books; and I consider myself very fortunate that my kids seem to be developing the same appreciation for books that I have. My nine year old daughter always is walking around with her nose in a book, and my four year old son will sit forever and let me read to him. But, it's sad to say that not all children feel this way about books. In fact, according to the 2008 Kids and Family Reading Report by Yankelovich and Scholastic, despite 80% of parents wanting their kids to read for fun, most kids claim there aren’t enough really good books for their age group.
As the parent of a young child, James Patterson, number-one selling author and one of my all-time favorites, truly understands the seriousness of this problem and has been working to resolve it. Patterson has always been a proponent of reading and sponsored the James Patterson Pageturner awards, which rewarded people and organizations that spread the excitement and joy of books and reading. He has also given millions of dollars to people and causes that are working to spread the joy and excitement of reading. His latest venture is ReadKiddoRead, a program which helps parents and educators connect children with the books that will give them a lifelong appreciation of books. You can read more about the program here.
Make sure you check out the ReadKiddoRead website because it is an awesome resource. I can't stress enough how wonderful I think it is -- teachers and librarians should love it. I had a great time just looking around this website and getting ideas for new books for my children. There are suggested books for every age-level including Great Illustrated Books, Great Transitional Books, Great Pageturners, and Great Advanced Reads. Each level of books is further divided into sub-genres like Fantasy, Real-World Fiction, Action/Adventure/Mystery, Just the Facts, etc. When you click on a recommended book, you will see a brief synopsis as well as a review. I especially liked the "If You Love This Book, Then Try:" section where I got even more book ideas. There site also lists other books in the series, related themes in the book, quotes from critics, as well as links to the book websites. In addition, the website provides resources for finding book discounts and promotions, features interviews and contributions from authors and celebrities, and even allows members to connect with each other via a Ning community.
In addition to his Read Kiddo Read website, Mr. Patterson has also started writing books that will appeal to kids -- especially boys. Just a few months ago, I read and reviewed one of his children's books THE DANGEROUS DAYS OF DANIEL X. This book is chock full of action, and I'm sure young boys (and girls) will just love it. I agree with Mr. Patterson that there are wonderful books out there for children -- we just need to get the right books in their hands.
Mr. Patterson recently spoke with Al Roker, from the Today Show's Al's Book Club for Kids fame, about Read Kiddo Read as well as his latest Alex Cross novel CROSS COUNTY. You can read more about the interview and even listen to it here. In addition, Mr. Patterson has done interviews about ReadKiddoRead with Jeff Kinney and Rick Riordan.
A big thanks goes out to MotherTalk for choosing me to participate in the blog tour for ReadKiddoRead.