Award-winning author James Patterson, 60, is giving a unique Christmas present to his son Jack, 9, this year — a letter. The letter starts off,
Dear Jack (Jackster, Boo, Bud),
When you were 4 years old, I was about to go away on business, and I asked if you’d miss me. You said, “Not really,” and it just about burst my heart into a million pieces. Then you added, “Love means you can never be apart.” What a powerful gift that sentence was to me, and now I want to try to pay you back.
I have something grand to tell you—not dreaded advice or a boring lecture, just something cool as ice that I want to share. It’s a gift from your old dad—maybe the best one I’ll ever give you.
To read the entire letter, click below.
Jack, I want you to become a passionate reader for life, and not because you have to or because it might make you more successful or get you into Harvard or Stanford. I’m talking about real passion here, like the way you currently go crazy over The Simpsons and The Incredibles. It’s true—books can make you crazy—but in a good way.
Now, I have a confession to make. Truth be told, I wasn’t exactly a gangbusters reader when I was your ripe old age of 9. I didn’t have a prodigious vocabulary like you do. And, of course, I didn’t know how to roam the Internet. Hey, I was just starting to ride my bike around the streets of Newburgh, N.Y.
Anyway, I think the main reason I didn’t read too much as a kid is because my parents and the nuns who taught at my school didn’t introduce me to books that I couldn’t put down. This was pretty much true of all my friends too. We read because we had to, not because we wanted to.
But, Jack, there are so many wise, funny, exciting, magical, chilling and enlightening stories out there to read. There are the Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket books, of course; everybody who isn’t a complete Muggle already knows about them. But there are other absolutely terrific, glue-you-to-the-page books.
A great French writer named Gustave Flaubert once said, “It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance…I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the wind, the words my people uttered.” Jack, that’s how I feel when I write, and it’s also how you’ll feel when you read a great book. It’s truly one of the best things in life!
I believe that getting you to read is my responsibility, my job. In fact, it’s the responsibility of all parents, grandparents and teachers. That’s why I’m doing my homework now and searching for some terrific books that I know you’ll love.
Why? Because, Jack, with all due respect, you probably won’t do it yourself; neither will most other kids. And so, every Christmas, you will get at least one book from me—at least one. What loving parents wouldn’t get their kids a book to read over the holidays?
And every summer, I’ll also find at least a couple of books that you’ll devour just like Chunky Monkey ice cream and that you’ll never forget. Maybe someday you’ll tell your kids about them in a letter.
Well, that’s my gift to you, and I can’t think of a better one. If I do my job right, reading will bring you happiness and satisfaction every day for the rest of your life.
I love you, Jack.
Always have, always will.
Source: Parade Magazine
Thanks to CBB reader Mary Beth.