James Patterson, the world's best-selling author and Palm Beach resident, isn't kidding around when he says he wants young people to read and grow artistically and intellectually. He's trying to boost literacy rates, starting right here in Florida.
For decades, Patterson has been scaring the daylights out of adults with his adventure novels. In the last few years, he’s been penning best-selling children’s books, and kids around the world have been devouring them.
“It’s not about selling books," Patterson said about dipping into the market for kids, “It’s that reading is the cornerstone and the nexus building block to everything.”
The books are part of Patterson’s crusade to bring up the reading level of kids here in Florida.
“Currently, 43 percent of Florida kids don’t read at grade level. We have a program that can get that up to 80 percent,” Patterson said. “And that’s huge for kids and kids’ parents and for society!”
Patterson has partnered with the University of Florida and is working to get the program implemented in Florida first. Eventually he plans to carry it nationwide. At the same time, Patterson has been busy creating a new kids' show called "Kid Stew," which reinforces his mission. The show encourages the love of reading by highlighting the arts, science and adventure.
“It’s a show that’s gonna make kids think, and wake them up, and get them interested in art and music. The show is a lotta fun,” Patterson said. “I just felt it would be good for kids, and make them better human beings”
"Kid Stew" airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide, but will keep its roots right here in South Florida. The entire cast is made up of kids from the Sunshine State, so keep an eye out as they use our community as a backdrop, fooling around and urging others to pick up a book.