July 18th, 2012
Author Patterson visits Newburgh Free Library
The world's best selling author James Patterson, signed copies of his books for Anthony, August and Aidan Grice at Newburgh Free Library in Newburgh, NY on Saturday, July 14, 2012. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.
NEWBURGH - The world’s best-selling author, James Patterson, returned home Saturday for a speaking engagement at the Newburgh Free Library on Grand Street in Newburgh, NY.
The 65-year-old American author spoke to a crowd of 170 as part of his Read Kiddo Read! Initiative. More watched inside via a live telecast in the community room.
Patterson recounted the streets he lived on and places he would frequent as a kid growing up in Newburgh during his opening remarks. People in the crowd proclaimed to be former classmates as well as a long lost cousin.
In 1971, Patterson began working as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson. He retired from advertising in 1996, and then devoted his time to writing.
Today, Patterson’s novels account for one in 17 of all hardcover novels sold in the United States. He pointed out that his novels have sold more copies than the next top three thriller writers combined.
Many of the children attending Saturday’s event had Patterson’s book “Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life.” Newburgh Enlarged City School District incoming sixth grade students were given the book to read over their summer vacation thanks to a grant from New York State Senator William Larkin.
Patterson emphasized to parents that encouraging children to read books early in life, especially during the middle school years, will translate into higher academic achievements and more career options.
Patterson fans were exited that “I, Michael Bennett,” his latest novel, is set in Newburgh. Overview: The lead character, Michael Bennett takes his ten kids on a much-needed vacation to his family’s cabin near Newburgh, New York. But instead of the calm and happy town he remembers from growing up, they step into a nightmare worse than they could have ever imagined. Newburgh is an inferno of warring gangs, and there’s little the police - or Bennett - can do to keep the children safe.
For more than 30 minutes, Patterson spoke about his childhood, his career, the importance of reading and took questions from the large audience gathered on the front lawn of the library. He then headed inside the Newburgh Free Library to autograph copies of his books and meet his countless hometown fans.