james-patterson_web.jpgRIVIERA BEACH — Renowned author and Palm Beach resident James Patterson, whose books have sold more than 230 million copies worldwide, making him one of the bestselling authors of all time, has a new goal in life: “To make kids readers for life.” 

His website, Read Kiddo Read, is dedicated to that goal, and recently, five students from John F. Kennedy (JFK) Middle School  in Riviera Beach participated in a webinar with Patterson to promote reading. 

The reading leaders of JFK Middle, who earned above 250 points in Reading Counts, an incentive-based reading program, received a copy of  Patterson’s book, Middle School: Get Me Out of Here, and were tasked to read the novel and generate five questions to pose to the author for the webinar.

The JFK students were treated to chauffeured transportation to the King’s Library in the Society of the Four Arts in the Town of Palm Beach where the show was taped. They met with their peers from Palm Beach Day Academy and rehearsed the segment to be filmed.

The set was a cozy library in which students posed questions regarding Patterson’s career, his future projects and the making of movies from his books.

When eighth-grader Mohini Valdes asked Patterson about the most inspiring book he has written, he said that he enjoyed writing for children, and that because people are always intrigued by the ability to fly, “Writing the Maximum Ride series, which ends this year, is a favorite of mine.” (Max, the main character, and her friends, are part human and part bird and can fly.)

Nicole Hemmer, a seventh-grader asked whether the author includes people he knows in his books. His response: “In the Middle School books, I included the name of my high school girlfriend. She got a kick out of it.”

Patterson, who was selected by kids across America as the Children's Choice Book Awards Author of the Year in 2010, told the students, “If you are lucky, you will get to do what you love, and if you are really lucky, you will get paid to do it.”

“It was a spectacular day. I just kept thinking, it’s really him,” said Kordell Garland, a sixth-grader at JFK.

“The advice that he offered to the students was inspirational and something that the students listened to with rapt attention,” said Donna Dekersky, Media Specialist at JFK.

“The fact that the students were excited about meeting an author and enjoyed conversing about books made it a wonderful experience for all involved,” she said.

For more information contact donna.dekersky@palmbeachschools.org  or 561-845-5433.


Photo: James Patterson