Friday, December 29, 2017

Thank You, James Patterson!

On Monday, Dec. 18, bestselling author James Patterson announced the names of more than 300 independent booksellers receiving grants totaling $350,000, up $100,000 over previous years, as part of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program.

Patterson has had many generous philanthropy programs supporting community literacy. During the past five years, he has offered grants to libraries, schools, independent bookstores, and individual booksellers.

Patterson partnered with the American Booksellers Association to distribute the funds, which were awarded to individual booksellers in amounts ranging from $750 to $1,250. The full list of the recipients is at Among them are Kris Dickinson and Kasey Cox Coolidge both of From My Shelf Books & Gifts at 7 East Avenue in Wellsboro.

The grant application asked one question: “Why does this bookseller deserve a holiday bonus?” Patterson personally selected winners from bookstores all across the country, and many of the recipients are from areas hard hit by natural disasters, including Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, Copperfield’s in Napa, and various stores in Florida. Nominated booksellers were praised for their perseverance in the face of these hardships, as well as for their contagious enthusiasm, skilled hand-selling, innovation, and, most importantly, dedication to books and reading.

“I was thrilled to increase the donation amount of this year’s bonuses given the overwhelming response we’ve had to past campaigns,” said Patterson. “This holiday season, in particular, underscored how deserving these booksellers are — many of the recipients came from stores that dealt with major damage from hurricanes and wildfires, in addition to the challenges they faced in an ever-changing retail environment. These bonuses are my humble acknowledgment of their commitment to putting books into the hands of readers, and I hope these grants make a positive difference in their lives.”

American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher said, “With this expansion of his Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program, James Patterson continues to demonstrate his extraordinary commitment to literacy and independent booksellers. In a year that has proved so challenging to many booksellers because of natural disasters, we are even more grateful. Thanks to his ongoing generosity, over twice as many independent booksellers who are working so hard to serve their communities by connecting authors and readers of all ages will receive well-earned bonuses.”

In 2016, Patterson donated $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 149 independent bookstore employees across the country; in 2015, he donated $250,000 in holiday bonuses to 87 bookstore employees. In 2014, he awarded $1 million in grants to 178 independent bookstores that were recognized for doing an outstanding job of fostering a love of reading in young children. Over the past decade, Patterson has given away over a million books to students and visited hundreds of schools to advocate for youth literacy."

Kris Dickinson (left) and Kasey Cox Coolidge hold a copy of the letter signed by James Patterson and Oren Teicher that each one received along with a check. "It's very clear that you have gone above-and-beyond in your work as a bookseller. We hope that this check will allow you to continue doing good work in your store and in your community," the letter reads