BUZZZ…Fron the “BURGH”. A monthly feature that looks at people, current events and stories with roots to Newburgh that have affected main stream media. This month BUZZZ looks at one of the most talented and prolific contemporary American authors of our time…world best selling author James Patterson, who was born and raised on the city streets of Newburgh.
For those Newburgh Restoration followers that may not be aware of the talents of this iconic author, James Patterson has set more records (including the Guinness Book of Records) in writing the most back to back hardcover best sellers to hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list than ANY other author in history. In fact, James Patterson’s novels account for one in seventeen hardcover books sold in the United States. And his novels have sold more copies than the next top three thriller writers…combined.
Patterson is responsible in bringing to life one of the more infamous fictional characters in contemporary literature…detective, Alex Cross, who not only captured the public’s attention in print over a series of novels but also later transitioning to film in two popular movie hits “Along Came a Spider” and “Kiss the Girls”. Also James Patterson’s most recent and possibly the most riveting of his works. “I, Michael Bennett”, has another very popular fictional main character, Michael Bennett and his family unexpectedly facing the hardcore realities taking place in the city of Newburgh (a much changed city than Bennett remembers growing up as a child) as they encounter the grittier side of some of the city streets at the turn of the decade.
On a lighter note (but equally as important), James Patterson also is responsible for developing the much touted www.readkiddoread.com initiative nationwide. The message of his “Read Kiddo Read” program is that it is of utmost importance to teach kids how to WANT to read. The program promotes the need to allow children to read about things and subjects that they personally find interesting. In fact Patterson first introduced this initiative in order to aid his son Jack in helping him build much needed reading skills.
Last July James Patterson returned home for the purpose of speaking to local Newburgh families in order to promote the Read Kiddo Read Program. With almost 200 people gathered outside the Newburgh Free Library on Grand Street, Patterson accounted his early days growing up on the streets of Newburgh. And to the joy of the crowd, he shared with them where his favorite places were in the city, as he signed autographs and wrote dedications inside many of the children’s books who had attended. But his main message to Newburgh parents was to encourage their children to read books from early in their youth, especially during middle school years with hopes of translating that into helping their children in attaining greater academic achievement overall.