Books Can’t Solve Everything

I’m pretty sure that if you have TV, then you know about something that happened in the US recently. In Baltimore people decided the best way to call for change in policing would be to riot and loot businesses. This was headline news for some time. And now James Patterson says he was inspired by those events and he wants to help them rebuild in some way. So he’s donating 25,000 copies of one of his children’s books.

I have no issue with Patterson. He’s one of my favorite authors. He does a lot more good for books and literacy than most people give him credit for, but he’s off base here. There are still many things that cities across America (including Baltimore) need to change. I’m talking law enforcement, but we all know it doesn’t start and stop there.  And sure books can fit somewhere into that equation, but right now this one book isn’t going to do anything. The people who have the ability to bring about significant change aren’t going to be pushed to action because of this book. And change isn’t going to happen because of this book.

James Patterson is going to donate many more books to many more causes in the future, but I think he could have done this donation a bit more quietly. Without talking about being inspired by recent events. Cause it doesn’t change anything. It isn’t up to me to tell him how to spend his money and donate his books, but he really could have helped by donating money to the police department earmarked for more advanced training. At least that would really address one of the major issues facing the city.

What do you think about Patterson being inspired by the unrest in Baltimore and deciding to donate books?

On this day in 2014 I published Why do you Read?.


16 thoughts on “Books Can’t Solve Everything

  1. I agree with wallacecass…his heart is in the right place BUT all that is not necessary. I think he’s really only doing this for publicity :/ Just sounds like it anyway. Would have been a million times better to donate the money to police departments.


  2. I agree. This seems an almost bizarre bit of “help” that makes little sense to me. I guess it’s nice he want to help but maybe he could have consulted with local community groups to find out how he best help out.


  3. The reason he isn’t going to donate to to the police, please, please, don’t attack me is…the police aren’t popular right now. And giving money to the police would not be a savvy career move. It feels to me like the majority of the people in this nation think the police are part of a problem, not part of a solution. Patterson has been around too long to shoot himself in the foot making a move that might lose him readers. So instead he’ll donate children’s books which he isn’t as well known for and will get his children’s line in the media.


    • You know, I like your point. But I don’t know that I agree with it. His first series he started writing over 20 years ago was Alex Cross. A detective. And he writes several crime series now. I’m sure he’s built up a nice relationship with law enforcement over the years. He shouldn’t have to hide that, not that he’s actively doing so. I don’t know that coming out in support of law enforcement would cause him to really lose readers. Might even gain some new ones.


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