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Bestselling author James Patterson visits jamboree

James Patterson, author of the bestselling Alex Cross thriller series, is no stranger to the adults who have been buying his books for years.

But when he visited the 2010 National Scout Jamboree today, he was there to address a much younger audience: kids. One of his stops was at Hometown News, where budding reporters asked questions of the author of the young-adult series “Maximum Ride,” “Witch and Wizard,” and his newest, “Daniel X.”

His message to young adults is simple: “If you don’t read, you won’t do well in life.” And he should know. An avid reader of the James Bond books as a kid, his passion for writing started at an early age. That’s probably how he managed to get his first book published at age 26, quite young for a writer.

As the father of a teenage son, Patterson knows that parents play an important role in interesting their children, especially their boys, in reading.

“When our son was 8 years old, my wife and I said, ‘You need to read every day, and we’re going to find something you like to read,’ ” he said.

The first summer, Patterson said, his son whined about the task. But by the second summer, the kid was hooked. At age 9, Patterson’s son read 12 books that summer, including “Huck Finn,” a book typically read by much older children.

He said it’s about more than just telling a child to read, though. It’s partially the parents’ responsibility to help their children find books that they’ll actually enjoy reading.

In other words, it’s your job to help your son find the same “I-can’t-put-this-down” feeling you get when reading, well, a James Patterson novel.

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