Watch CBS News

Author James Patterson and son talk new book, "Penguins of America"

Patterson kids' book
James Patterson and his son's new children's book has a lot of penguins 05:54

Award-winning mystery writer and children's author James Patterson has sold hundreds of millions of books worldwide. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the most No. 1 New York Times bestsellers.

His newest project was revealed Monday. Patterson will collaborate with former President Bill Clinton on what's described as a "powerful, one-of-a-kind thriller" that gives readers an inside look at what it's like to be president.

But his current co-author is his son, Jack. The two teamed up to write the book "Penguins of America," a children's book that illustrates the humorous connection between penguins and humans.


James and Jack Patterson joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss where the father son duo drew inspiration for "Penguins of America." 

"It started out way back when Jack was little, now he's big. Like the Morgan Freeman-narrated films, he would always draw this connection between penguins and humans," James Patterson said.  

"We kind of just took the idea and ran with it. You know, I guess we considered the idea of like doing it with like bleating sheep and stuff and different anthropomorphic options but we settled on penguins," Jack said.

The book is a series of humorous illustrations of penguins in day-to-day human situations with silly captions. Some examples include a penguin striking the iconic Marilyn Monroe pose, penguins rushing into a coffee shop reminiscent of Starbucks and penguins riding an extremely crowded subway.

The book offers humor for both the young and the old — "You know, [age] 2 to 102," James said.


Asked what's it's like working on his next novel, "The President Is Missing," with former President Clinton, James Patterson didn't give much away. Patterson did confirm that part of the book's aim is to include details that only the president would know. On how to write with a collaborator like Clinton, he quipped: "Very carefully."

With their new book appealing to children, the Pattersons also talked about the consequences of the "summer slide" on kids' reading comprehension — the toll summer vacation time away from books can take.

"If they slide for six straight years, by the time they are in sixth grade they've lost two grades," James said.

Even growing up around a famous author was no guarantee that he'd like reading, Jack said.

"I think as a young kid — I was kind of like a typical kid — I didn't really particularly enjoy books, but I think I've definitely developed an affinity for them." Jack admitted.

"The key thing is we went out and got cool books that he was going to like, everything from 'Percy Jackson' to 'Wrinkle in Time'," his father said. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.