Little, Brown has big news to share with booksellers at BEA: the publisher is announcing the launch of James Patterson’s children’s book imprint, called jimmy patterson. The new line, which will include books written by Patterson as well as other authors, reflects some of Patterson’s most heartfelt goals: to inspire kids to become willing, self-propelled readers; to help teachers, booksellers, and librarians get the tools, opportunities, and skills they need to accomplish that mission; and to identify the right books for each child by publishing books that showcase a compelling diversity of human voices and experiences.
Patterson’s own profits from sales of jimmy patterson books will be put toward funding scholarships for teachers, supporting bookstores and school libraries, increasing the reach of the author’s website, ReadKiddoRead.com, and distributing books to children unable to afford them. Reagan Arthur, Little, Brown senior v-p and publisher, will oversee the imprint, which will have a dedicated staff of editors, marketers, public outreach and advocacy experts, and designers.
Describing his new venture in a nutshell, Patterson says, “Our mission is simple: that every kid who finishes a jimmy patterson book will say, ‘Please give me another book.’ What could be better than that? Mom, Dad, Grandma, local school board, U.S. Department of Education, ‘Please give me another book.’ ”
The imprint debuts in September with Treasure Hunters: Secret of the Forbidden City, co-written by Chris Grabenstein and illustrated by Juliana Neufeld, the third installment of this series that follows intrepid siblings on adventures across the globe. Five additional titles will be added to the imprint later in the fall.
Patterson anticipates that the jimmy patterson imprint will release approximately 10 titles annually, half of which he will write, and that his previously published books for young readers will be folded into the new imprint as they come up for reprint. As to the scope of the list, the author explains, “We will publish middle grade and YA novels, and I’m not sure that we will get into picture books, but I’m not ruling that out. And nonfiction is also a possibility.”
Patterson’s ambitious marketing and promotional outreach plans are also aligned with his goal to make compelling children’s books accessible to as broad an audience as possible. “We are going try our best to make connections with other entities, including the White House,” he says. “I would love to hear our President stand up and proudly announce that, during the last year or so of his term, he is going to devote himself to getting kids reading.”
Patterson also has hopes of rallying major players in the retail realm. “If I could wave a wand, I would love to hear that Amazon is devoting itself to becoming the savior of reading across this country,” he adds. “And that McDonald’s is promoting reading in all of its restaurants. And that Walmart and Target are dedicating the book sections of their stores to the noble task of getting kids reading better.”
Hooking kids on reading, through such outreach initiatives and the jimmy patterson books themselves, will have far-reaching implications, asserts Patterson: “If we accomplish that—just that—we will dramatically increase the number of kids who finish high school in this country and thus have a better chance of going on to college or getting better jobs. We will create a more informed populace, with better citizens, better voters, better workers, better parents—better human beings.”