It may seem that our modern culture doesn't really encourage children to read much these days. With all the cartoons, video games and social media sites available today, it is no wonder that our young people are easily distracted. That's one of the reasons I'm so delighted when I see parents who work hard to engage their children and teach them the power of literacy.

One parent who really works hard to get kids reading these days is bestselling novelist James Patterson. When he realized that his son Jack didn't love to read, Patterson and his wife Sue started searching for books that would captivate their child's imagination. This endeavor led to the development of Read Kiddo Read, a site where the author showcases the "creme de la cream" of children's books so parents and educators can find reading material that children look forward to reading. He's also the author of numerous books for children of all ages, including the Maximum Ride, Daniel X, Witch & Wizard and Middle School books which have all climbed national bestseller lists.

Growing up, my own parents taught me early on the joys of reading, and this resulted in my lifelong love affair with books. Perhaps that's why I ultimately married a librarian and spend much of my free time perusing book shelves of thrift stores and book shops, indulging my bibliophile nature.

I soon became the boy whose head was always in a book. I much preferred to take fictitious adventures with Babar the Elephant, speed around the living room with Beverly Cleary's mouse and his motorcycle, and attempt to solve mysteries alongside Encyclopedia Brown than get dirty, make mud pies or swing from the monkey bars like my friends did.

But even folks who have never had a child of their own can teach children to love books. For instance, before Patterson created his site, country music legend Dolly Parton launched her Imagination Library in 1996. Her goal was to put books in the hands of preschool children in her home state of Tennessee, regardless of their family's income. Since then, Dolly's dream has grown and books are now given to children in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. According to the program's website, since the Imagination Library's inception, Dolly's put nearly 40 million books in the hands of delighted young readers.

Do you love to read? Who introduced you to the wonderful world of books? Share your literacy story with us, then tell us your favorite childhood titles!

Then, check out these brilliant kids whose parents taught them to read from a surprisingly early age! (This first baby isn't actually reading, but at least the dad is getting her in the habit!)

This one-year-old baby, however, actually reads! She's truly amazing!!!