kids encyclopedia robot

James Patterson facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
James Patterson
James Patterson.jpg
Born James Brendan Patterson
(1947-03-22) March 22, 1947 (age 76)
Newburgh, New York, U.S.
Alma mater Manhattan College
Vanderbilt University
Genre Mystery, young adult fiction, thriller, comedy, realistic fiction, romance, science fiction
Notable works Alex Cross series
Women's Murder Club series
Maximum Ride series
Michael Bennett series
Middle School series
I Funny series
Spouse Susan Patterson
Children 1

James Brendan Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. Among his works are the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, NYPD Red, Witch and Wizard, and Private series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, non-fiction, and romance novels. His books have sold more than 400 million copies, and he was the first person to sell 1 million e-books. In 2016, Patterson topped Forbes's list of highest-paid authors for the third consecutive year, with an income of $95 million. His total income over a decade is estimated at $700 million.

In November 2015, Patterson received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation, which cited him as a "passionate campaigner to make books and reading a national priority. A generous supporter of universities, teachers colleges, independent bookstores, school libraries, and college students, Patterson has donated millions of dollars in grants and scholarships with the purpose of encouraging Americans of all ages to read more books."

Early life

Patterson was born on March 22, 1947, in Newburgh, New York, the son of Isabelle (née Morris), a homemaker and teacher, and Charles Patterson, an insurance broker. The family was working-class and of Irish descent. He graduated summa cum laude with both a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University.


Patterson was a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt and acquired a job in advertising. He was an advertising executive at J. Walter Thompson. After he retired from advertising in 1996, he devoted his time to writing. His greatest influence, he said later, was probably Evan S. Connell's 1959 debut novel Mrs. Bridge. He published his first novel in 1976 called The Thomas Berryman Number. The novels featuring his character Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist formerly of the Washington DC. Metropolitan Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation, who now works as a private psychologist and government consultant, are his most popular and the top-selling U.S. detective series in the past ten years. Patterson has written more than 200 novels since 1976. He has had more than 114 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds The New York Times record for most #1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author, a total of 67, which is also a Guinness World Record. His novels account for one in 17, roughly 6%, of all hardcover novels sold in the United States; in recent years his novels have sold more copies than those of Stephen King, John Grisham, and Dan Brown combined. His books have sold approximately 305 million copies worldwide. In 2008, he replaced Jacqueline Wilson as the most borrowed author in Britain's libraries. He retained this position at least until 2013. In 2018, he worked with Stephen David Entertainment on the true crime television series James Patterson's Murder Is Forever.

Patterson's awards include the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Children's Choice Book Award for Author of the Year. He is the first author to have No. 1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists, and to have two books on NovelTrackr's top-ten list at the same time. In 2019, Patterson was awarded a National Humanities Medal. He appeared on the Fox TV show The Simpsons (in the episode "Yokel Chords") and in various episodes of Castle as himself.

Patterson works with a variety of co-authors, such as J.D. Barker, Candice Fox, Maxine Paetro, Andrew Gross, Mark Sullivan, Ashwin Sanghi, Michael Ledwidge, and Peter de Jonge. In May 2017, it was announced that Patterson would also co-author a crime fiction book with former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Patterson said the novel, The President Is Missing, would provide a level of detail that only a former U.S. president can offer. Patterson has often said that collaborating with others brings new and interesting ideas to his stories. Of his process, he has stated that he is simply more proficient at dreaming up plots than crafting sentence after sentence.

In September 2009, Patterson signed a deal to write or co-write 11 books for adults and 6 for young adults by the end of 2012. Forbes reported the deal was worth at least $150 million, but according to Patterson the estimate was inaccurate.

Patterson founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards in 2005 to donate over $100,000 that year to people, companies, schools, and other institutions that find original and effective ways to spread the excitement of books and reading. The PageTurner Awards were put on hold in 2008 to focus on Patterson's new initiative,, which helps parents, teachers, and librarians find the best books for their children. The social networking site for ReadKiddoRead is hosted by Ning. Patterson states that his own son, Jack, wasn't the best reader in the class. So, in Jack's 8th summer, Patterson said that Jack did not need to do chores, just read 1 hour a day. The first summer, he resisted, the second summer, he accepted it, and the third, Jack wanted to. Patterson wanted to give that opportunity to every child, so he started the ReadKiddoRead website, for parents who just can't seem to find any good books for their child. Patterson has also set up the James Patterson Teacher Education Scholarship in the schools of education at Appalachian State University, Michigan State University, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Florida. Patterson also runs the College Book Bucks scholarship program. Recently, his JP Entertainment company signed a first-look deal with Entertainment One.

In June 2022 Patterson set off a controversy when he claimed in an interview that older white males find it difficult to find work in film, theater, television and publishing and that the problem is “just another form of racism.” Patterson's own publishing house, Hachette, has a workforce that is 65% white and 78% of senior positions are filled with whites. Following publication of data confirming that white males are overrepresented in the publishing field, Patterson apologized on Facebook for his accusations of racism. “I apologize for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism.” “I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers. Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard — in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”

Personal life

Patterson, his wife, Susan, nicknamed "Sue", and their son, Jack, live in Lake Worth Beach in Palm Beach County, Florida. In 2015, Patterson established the James Patterson Pledge with Scholastic Book Clubs to put books in the hands of young readers.


  • Child of Darkness, Child of Light (1991), telefilm directed by Marina Sargenti, based on novel Virgin, or Cradle and All
  • Kiss the Girls (1997), film directed by Gary Fleder, based on novel Kiss the Girls
  • Miracle on the 17th Green (1999), telefilm directed by Michael Switzer, based on novel Miracle on the 17th Green
  • Along Came a Spider (2001), film directed by Lee Tamahori, based on novel Along Came a Spider
  • First to Die (2003), telefilm directed by Russell Mulcahy, based on novel 1st to Die
  • Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (2005), telefilm directed by Richard Friedenberg, based on novel Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
  • Women's Murder Club (2007–2008), series created by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, based on novels of Women's Murder Club series
  • Sundays at Tiffany's (2010), telefilm directed by Mark Piznarski, based on novel Sundays at Tiffany's
  • Alex Cross (2012), film directed by Rob Cohen, based on novel Cross, or Alex Cross
  • Zoo (2015–2017), series based on novel Zoo
  • Maximum Ride (2016), film directed by Jay Martin, based on novels of Maximum Ride series
  • Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (2016), film directed by Steve Carr, based on children's novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
  • James Patterson's the Chef (2018), miniseries directed by Nico Casavecchia and Gabe Michael, based on novel The Chef
  • Instinct (2018–2019), series created by Michael Rauch, based on novel Murder Games, or Instinct
  • The Postcard Killings (2020), film directed by Danis Tanović, based on novel The Postcard Killers
  • Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (2020), miniseries co-written by John Connolly and Tim Malloy and based on Filthy Rich

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: James Patterson para niños

kids search engine
James Patterson Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.