On the Books: James Patterson will give a free book to every sixth grader in New York City's public schools

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Image Credit: Wilfredo Lee/AP

Author James Patterson has promised to donate almost 45,000 copies of his young-reader series Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life to the New York City Public School System before the end of the 2013-2014 school year, Chancellor Carmen Fariña, the head of New York City’s Department of Education, announced today at an event at the Community Eastside School in Manhattan. Every current sixth grader in New York City is eligible to receive the donation.

“I love New York City, and I’m so delighted to be sharing the gift of books and reading with the city’s sixth graders,” said Patterson in a press release. “These students have the potential to do great things, and supporting and nurturing that potential is our most important job as parents, and as citizens.” The goal of this donation, according to the press release from Little Brown and Company, is to encourage students to read over the summer and “avoid the ‘summer slide’ when students lose ground in their learning progress during long breaks from class.” Recently, Patterson also donated approximately 28,000 copies of his books to sixth-grade students in the Chicago Public School system.

While the ongoing negotiations between Hachette and Amazon have attracted a lot of attention in the month, what exactly the dispute involved, apart from price, has not been clear. On Friday, The New York Times reported that an unnamed source inside Hachette told the NYT that Amazon is demanding payment for what the source describes as standard services. According to the source, Amazon wants Hachette to pay for the pre-order button, personalized recommendations, and a designated employee at Amazon for Hachette Books. Amazon “is very inventive about what we’d call standard services,” said the source. “They’re teasing out all these layers and saying, ‘If you want that service, you’ll have to pay for it.’ In the end, it’s very hard to know what you’d be paying.”

Amazon started to taking away these services “bit by bit” after Hachette refused to pay, according to the unnamed source. Last week, Amazon faced criticism for not selling the ebook of J.K. Rowling’s new novel The Silkworm. After receiving a barrage of negative comments, Amazon added the option to buy the ebook to the site. [New York Times]

In a Los Angeles Times feature, writer Stephen King revealed how he came to write the second season premiere of CBS’s Under the Dome, a television adaptation of his 2009 sci-fi novel. “I knew that George R.R. Martin had written a few episodes of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and I was very jealous,” King told the LA Times. In the past, King has approached adaptations of his books with a fairly laissez-faire approach. King enjoyed writing the episode because it gave him “a chance to  to set the arc in motion for the season,” and, “it gave me a little more input into what was going to happen.” King will make a cameo in the second-season premiere on June 30. [Los Angeles Times]

It was announced today that Kevin Brooks and Jon Klassen are the winners of the 2014 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, respectively. Brooks won the award for his young-adult book The Bunker Diary, the fictional diary of a kidnapped boy held hostage in a bunker. According to The Telegraph, several publishers rejected The Bunker Diary for being too bleak before Puffin bought the rights. The CILIP Kate Greenway Medal is a prestigious award that is given to an author for distinguished illustration in a children’s book, and Jon Klassen became the first Canadian to be awarded it for his book This is Not My Hat. [The Daily Telegraph]

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