Americans fail to recognize fully the tremendous sacrifice that thousands of U.S. troops make while they are stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places throughout the world, best-selling author James Patterson tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
And that is why the man who has made millions from titles such as “Kiss The Girls,” “Tick Tock,” “Private,” and “Along Came a Spider” has just donated a massive cache of 200,000 books to service men and women stationed overseas.
The plight of the troops “is just not an immediate” for most people, who put the service members in the back of their minds. He said he never fails to be amazed by how intelligent members of the military are.
“It is just stunning how bright they are about what’s going on, how involved, how committed, how smart — and you just never see those kinds of stories,” he said in the exclusive Newsmax interview.
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“I don’t find that a lot of the news organizations dig very deep, and if they did dig deep, they would find that a lot of these soldiers are very articulate, they really have great insights about what is going on, and I would love to see more stories like that.”
Patterson decided to make his donation after reading letters sent to a business partner from that man’s son, a captain serving in Iraq. “I would read these things, and I really became aware about what it’s like for these kids.
“They’re over there, so far from home, and they’re not getting the attention that they ought to get.”
Patterson, along with the nonprofits Operation Gratitude and Books for Heroes, had to get 20,000 boxes of books from his printers in Indiana to Fort Benning, Ga., and the Van Nuys National Guard Armory in California, from where they are shipped.
“It’s a lot of books,” he said. “It’s a miracle. If we had saved 20,000 puppies, it would be on the front page of every newspaper. This is actually cooler, getting 200,000 books out to troops.”
Patterson is a former winner of the Edgar Award, the Children’s Choice Awards. His titles also have won the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year and the International Thriller of the Year. He has sold more books in the past three years than any other author, and 19 consecutive titles reached No. 1 on The New York Times best-sellers list. His latest, “Private Games,” has just been knocked from the top spot after three weeks.
It is not the first time he has sent books out to the troops. In 2006, he dispatched 10,000 volumes, but this is a much bigger enterprise. He is also at the forefront of campaigns to get young people to read more and has 10 principles to encourage youthful readers
“As individuals, we cannot solve the health problem, we can’t solve the economic problems of the United States, but we can, in our own households, get our children reading,” stressed Patterson, who has a website devoted to the issue, ReadKiddoRead.com
He said his own son, Jack, is now an avid reader, but that was not the case when he was just 8. “What my wife and I did was say, ‘This summer, we will have him read every day,’ and Jack’s response was, ‘Do I have to?’ and we said, ‘Yeah, you really do.’”
They went out and picked out a dozen books together based more on whether Jack would like them than their literary merits — and they insisted that he read for at least 30 minutes a day.
“By the end of the summer, he had read half a dozen books that he loved. A lot of kids in this country have never read one book that they love, but he had done it and his reading skills had soared.
“I hear people say, ‘I can’t get my kids reading.’ I’ll go, ‘What are you talking about? That’s like saying my kid won’t come to the dinner table.’ We all know it’s our responsibility to teach our boy how to throw a baseball or teach our kids how to ride a bike, but a lot of people don’t get it into their heads that it’s our job to find books for our kids.”
Editor’s Note: To see James Patterson’s 10 principles to encourage children to read — Go Here Now.
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