James Patterson donates 45,000 books

James Patterson James Patterson's young readers' book Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life reached number 10 on USA Today's best-selling books list in 2011

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US author James Patterson is to donate 45,000 copies of his books for young readers to more than 300 schools in New York.

The books will be offered to 11 and 12-year-old sixth grade students to encourage them to read during their summer holiday break.

The donation follows a similar scheme in Chicago, where Patterson gave away more than 28,000 books to students.

The author has sold more than 300 million books worldwide.

Although he is best known for his Alex Cross novels, he has also been highly praised for his young-reader books including Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, I Funny and Treasure Hunters.

'Summer slide'

"I love New York City, and I'm so delighted to be sharing the gift of books and reading with the city's sixth graders," Patterson said.

"These students have the potential to do great things, and supporting and nurturing that potential is our most important job as parents, and as citizens."

The aim of the donation is to "avoid the summer slide when students lose ground in their learning progress during long breaks from class".

New York Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina added: "We know that in the long-term summer reading is critical in enabling our students to succeed both in and out of the classroom, and this donation will help do just that."

Patterson has been an active campaigner in encouraging children to read.

In 2008 he set up his ReadKiddoRead initiative to help parents, teachers and librarians find the best books for children of all ages.

Last year he also joined Booktrust's Get Dads Reading campaign to encourage more fathers to read to their children.

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