Photo courtesy of www.jamespatterson.com
|1) The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
This Caldecott Award-winning tale about a 12-year-old Parisian orphan/clock keeper/thief is “a brilliant book for getting both boys’ and girls’ confidence up about being able to tackle full-length books,” Patterson says. “Of course, it helps that the first half is all pictures, but this is a story that really moves even when it migrates to regular old words.”
|2) Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney
(Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Patterson’s secret weapon for book-resistant boys, this title uses an engaging cartoon-illustrated notebook/journal format to relate the narrator’s trials surviving middle school. “It’s got the humor and visual appeal of a comic strip but with a real story under the hood,” he says.
|3) The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan
(Miramax/Hyperion Books for Children)
“If you’ve got a reader looking for a little adrenaline fix—parents of video-gamers and thrill-seekers take note—I’d suggest this one,” says Patterson. A fantasy adventure novel, it features a dyslexic teen who also happens to be the son of the Greek god Poseidon. “Today’s standards for adventure stories are higher than they were when I was in school, and for good reason. There are books, like The Lightning Thief, that put most of the ‘classics’ to shame.”
|4) Twilight, Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown Young Readers)
If your daughter somehow has missed this all-the-rage teen vampire series—and now movie—Patterson recommends an ASAP trip to the bookstore. “Giving a kid a book that other kids are reading can be a great strategy to get them into reading. Remember, we tend to be social creatures, even in high school.”
|5) Holes, Louis Sachar (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Featuring a teen sentenced to dig holes in the scorching hot desert for a crime he didn’t commit, Holes “is a terrific story that encapsulates for me a lot of what it’s like to be a kid in this world,” says Patterson.