Monday, August 18, 2014

What do Farley Mowat, JK Rowling and L. Frank Baum have in common?

They're all highly successful young-adult authors, yes. And I have most of their books, yes. But here's the real reason I've grouped them together. My husband and I just bought a former bed and breakfast ocean-front cabin, where we'll hold the occasional writer's retreat and retire to eventually. And there are bed and breakfast rooms, which were begging to be named. (Bed and breakfast rooms need names. Right?!) So they are now the Farley Mowat room (which will double as my office when no guests are around), the JK Rowling room and the L. Frank Baum room. I've stocked each room with the author's bio and books, and although two of these celebrated writers have passed away, JK Rowling is free to show up and stay in her room anytime. :) Our little hideaway is on a Gulf Island that is four miles long, and situated between Victoria and Vancouver, B.C, Canada. That's all you get to know for now! P.S. L. Frank Baum wrote the Wizard of Oz series, and I read every single one as a child.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Helping struggling readers: a great resource!

As someone who is passionate about getting kids to read, I'm always pleased when I stumble across a great resource. Maybe many of you know about this website already, but I'd like to do a shout-out about it. It includes articles like "7 ways to get students excited about reading" and "How do you keep struggling readers motivated when they don't see improvement in their reading?" Anyone who has found my book Jump-Starting Boys* useful, hopefully will find this site useful too.

Here's the link!

*Jump-Starting Boys:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Calling all friends and fans!

Who out there has read one of my books and can submit a quick review on Amazon, Indigo, or direct to me ( Yes?! Super! You're all the greatest!! Because Alex is making me do this. Alex is my new social media adviser, and she says (can you imagine!) that I need more reviews on these sites (and my own website) for new fans and potential readers to contemplate. Alex (who is savvy and enthusiastic when it comes to social media, as opposed to my Neanderthal self) also says I have to blog more than two or three times a year. (Seriously?!) So watch for more verbiage in this space. And if I love your review, watch for your name on my home page soon, too! Thanks, family, friends and fans!

Okay, just to make it easier, here's a list of my books so far. Best, Pam (coming out of the Neanderthal Age, thanks to Alex)

Paintball Island, copyright 2013, ISBN-10: 1928014089, ISBN-13: 978-1928014089

Tundra Books:

First Descent, copyright 2011, ISBN 978-1-77049-257-8

[COMING SOON!] Andreo’s Race, copyright 2015 ISBN 978-177049-766-5; e-book is 978-177049-767-2. paperback Can $14.99 / U.S. $12.99

Extreme series:

Raging River, copyright 2003, ISBN 978-1-55285-510-2

Peak Survival, copyright 2004, ISBN 978-1-55285-530-9

Adrenalin Ride, copyright 2004, ISBN 978-1-55285-604-6

Skater Stuntboys, copyright 2005, ISBN 978-1-55285-647-X

Surf Zone, copyright 2005, ISBN 978-1-55285-718-2

Vertical Limits, copyright 2006, ISBN 978-1-55285-783-0

Dirtbike Daredevils, copyright 2006, ISBN 978-1-55285-804-2

Wake’s Edge, copyright 2007, ISBN 978-1-55285-856-1

BMX Tunnel Run, copyright 2007, ISBN 978-1-55285-904-9

Mountainboard Maniacs, copyright 2008, ISBN 978-1-55285-915-5

Orca Books:

Camp Wild, copyright 2005, ISBN 1-55143-361-3

Breathless, copyright 2005, ISBN 1-55143-480-6

Daredevil Club, copyright 2006, ISBN 1-55143-614-0

Menasha Ridge Press:

Going Vertical (with Tao Berman), copyright 2008, ISBN 13: 978-0-89732-652-0

Viva Editions (FOR PARENTS): Jumpstarting Boys: How to Help Your Underachiever (with Cynthia Gill), copyright 2013, ISBN 978-1-936740-39-0

Jumpstarting Boys in Chinese: Heliopolis Culture Group in Taiwan. Their web page: Or order from

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Meet Tony (age 12), who happens to be deaf

There's a reason that 12-year-old Tony, a character in my just-off-the-press novel Paintball Island, happens to be deaf. A few years ago just after I spoke at a literacy conference, a deaf-interpreter studying to be a teacher approached me to say, "Did you know that are almost no kids' books with deaf or hard-of-hearing characters? Maybe you could write one!"

Bam! That was the genesis of Tony, and that interpreter (Kirsten Hagemoen) ended up working with me to ensure Tony's and the plot's authenticity. Last week I had my first feedback on Paintball Island. Renate Ford, a tutor and retired teacher, wrote this after reading Paintball Island:

"This little book is an exciting adventure story for both boys and girls – of any age. The tale of Max and his family, who run paintball games on their island home, will captivate even reluctant readers (as one of my students can attest). In addition, a second story line introduces a young deaf character who first faces misunderstanding from his teammates, but is eventually accepted as a regular member of the group. Pam Withers approaches the issue of deaf culture with sensitivity and understanding. Bravo!"

Well, bravo for Kirsten, who took the initiative to ask all that time ago. My most fervent hope, as always, is that it inspires kids to read. Maybe deaf and hard-of-hearing kids will find that Tony resonates with them, and perhaps more importantly, kids without his issues will come away with a better understanding of fellow students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Either way, it was fun writing Paintball Island!

P.S. The sign above is for "P," the first letter in the book title as well as in my name.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Around the world

I've been doing everything but blogging the past ten months, mostly traveling but of course, also writing. I have a new middle-grade adventure book off the press (Paintball Island), a young-adult one coming in March (Andreo's Race, Tundra Books), and I'm hard at work on another. Meantime, it being my husband's sabbatical year from his work, I've been accompanying him on a rather exotic year: two months in Madrid, Spain (see below right, Toledo), two months in Christchurch, New Zealand and three weeks in Shanghai (see below left). What marvelous and diverse experiences these were! Now I'm in Vancouver getting back into the routine of more disciplined writing, as well as speaking to parents' groups about boys and literacy. Speaking of which, just today, I learned of a great new book review on my book Jump-Starting Boys:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Off to San Francisco!

I'm San Francisco-bound next week, promoting Jump-Starting Boys! My schedule includes:

Monday, Sept. 16 interview with KPFA host Denny Smithson

Monday, Sept. 16 6-7 pm presentation at Kumon Campbell, 1784 Winchester Blvd., Campbell

Tuesday Sept. 17 taping at KPIX/KCBS with Liz Saint John

Wed. Sept. 18 12:15 pm presentation at Athenian school in Danville

Wed. Sept. 18 7-8 pm presentation at Towne Ctr. Books, Pleasanton

Thursday Sept. 19 presentation 7-8 pm at Books Inc. in Palo Alto, 855 El Camino Real

Friday Sept. 20 KPIX interview

Saturday, Sept. 21 KGO 810 A.M. interview with Pat Thurston;

A lifetime ago, I lived in the Bay Area, working for Runners World Magazine Co. (my first job out of college!). It will be great to spend time in the area again, especially as that's where my super hard-working publisher, Viva Editions, is headquartered. See you there soon!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Jump-Starting Boys: List of Media Attention!

Wow, what response my co-author (and older sister) Cynthia Gill (see photos of us, young and old; me on the left in the top photo, me on the right in the bottom photo) and I are getting from our just-off-the-press book for parents and educators: Jump-Starting Boys. Here's a list of media interviews: up already, or coming soon (TBA = to be announced). Also, Jump-Starting Boys is now an audiobook and an e-book:


•KGO 810 News with Pat Thurston 7pm Saturday 9/22/13

•Liz Saint John interview Sunday Sept. 22, 2013 on San Francisco stations KLLC 97.3 Alice, KITS 105.3 Live 105, KMVQ 99.7 Movin' 99.7:

• Women's Radio Network with Beverly Armstrong, AM760 Colorado's Progressive Talk, and KRCNAM1060

• CONVERSATIONS LIVE with Cyrus Webb, Aug. 14th @ 1 p.m. EST.

• Friday, July 26:


• Psych Central

• Donna Seebo Show, Aug. 6, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.


• MOM TALK RADIO,, Sunday July 28, 8 pm EST with Maria Bailey

• CONVERSATIONS SHOW, Conversations Show with Lizz Sommars, The Mountain 103.7 FM, Seattle,, August 25, 2013

"I’m also reading Pam Withers and Cynthia Gill’s Jump-Starting Boys: Help Your Reluctant Learner Find Success in School and Life. Busy parents (I feel your pain!) will appreciate the format of this book that offers a positive spin on the issues that boys face: chapters are divided by useful subheadings and offer brief tips that can be implemented right away, along with quick-fire background (“Symptoms,” “How Common,” “Potential Causes”) on what parents need to know on a particular topic. Material on helping boys with physical issues, in school, and on such issues as mentoring and role models is topped off with useful lists of publishers of books for reluctant readers."