All children have an adventurous side, and while exploring new adventures is always a great challenge, it is one of the most thrilling things about growing up. Extreme sports are one of the best ways, Pam says, to judge your own skills and to learn to use your intuition well in tough situations. Her “Take it to the Xtreme” series of adventure novels is perfect for young adult readers who love exploring the wild world of sports and nature. Covering all different types of extreme sports, boys in particular will love the adventures that lie within. The books in the series also explore the friendships that develop as Jake and Peter take on the challenges of surfing, snowboarding, kayaking and much more.
Pam Withers is a journalist, editor, and award-winning speaker who has also worked as an outdoor guide. Her experience in and love for the outdoors -including kayaking the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon- lends a unique enthusiasm to her “extreme sports” novels. Because she is so involved in the subject matter of her books, and researches each one, her novels provide an authentic and thrilling experience which is fantastic enjoyed from home, or it can open up a world that her readers may want to explore themselves.
With her success in the world of young adult literature, she is an engaging speaker for adults hoping to encourage reluctant young readers, or other writers who are looking to learn. She speaks to over 15,000 children per year all across North America.
The title alone hints that the reader will be pulled into an adventure dealing with the world of surfing. The opening paragraph confirms this. “They say the big ones come from underneath, not behind you. As Jake Evans lay on his surfboard, trailing gloved fingers in the sparkling water, he thought he felt the pulse of the ocean beneath him quicken.” Jake and Peter have a scuba-diving accident that leaves them, along with a girl, stranded on an island. The three of them must use their surfing talents, their determination, and their instincts to find a way home. Unfortunately, this becomes very difficult when they encounter the storm of the century. The reader will learn surfing vocabulary. “Really worked” means a heavy, painful wipeout. “Stall for the barrel” means when a hollow wave breaks right over a surfer and the surfer slows down to keep himself inside it. This is a super action-packed book. Once started it will be very difficult to put down. I especially like the way the author develops the characters. They are very believable and students will be able to identify with them and their feelings. Withers draws the reader into the story and provides a book that will interest girls and boys, avid as well as reluctant readers, and middle to young adult-age children. This would make a great gift. It would be perfect in a classroom or personal library. It is part of the “Take It to Extreme” series. 2005, Walrus Books, $8.95. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs (Children’s Literature).
Kip and three of his friends form a high adventure club called the Daredevils. They have accomplished three out of seven dangerous stunts when the reader is introduced to the group. Kip is now at a disadvantage, however, as during the most recent stunt–a jump off the cliffs at a nearby lake–he hit an underwater boulder and severely damaged his leg. Using a cane and going to physiotherapy sessions may have slowed his body down but he feels the need to prove to himself, his friends, and their rival club the Wildmen, that he is still a leader and the same old Kip. Valuing friendships, learning to love yourself no matter what emotional or physical state you are in, and reaching out to the world rather than wallowing in one’s own self pity, are all themes presented in this slim book written in a larger than usual typeset. The interest of younger readers will be kept by the fast pace of the sequence of events. The impetus for this book was the author’s back injury, which found her wondering what would happen if a person continued taking excessive risks after a serious injury, in order to keep up with their unbroken self. Recommended. 2006, Orca Book Publishers, $8.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Cindy L. Carolan (Children’s Literature).
Jake Evan was having a hard summer, almost as hard as the “kick flip Indy” he had been trying to perfect all summer for the stunt boy tryout. At fifteen-years-old, Jake seemed to have a black cloud following him–his dad’s birthday was coming up and it was almost the third anniversary of his disappearance. Jake’s best friend, Peter Montpetit, had crashed at his place for the last two weeks before school started again. This was a year of surprises for Jake. Read along to find out some of the discoveries that Jake learned by looking just a little deeper. This is a great book full of hidden surprises. You will be touched by a few of the finds Jake makes as he learns about his new friends. Part of the “Take It to the Extreme” series. 2005, Walrus Books/Whitecap Books, $6.95. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Denise McGrain (Children’s Literature).
Her Lively presentation for grades 4-9 includes:
- Short readings
- Tales of her own adventures
- Humorous anecdotes of how she researches her material
- The patience & persistence it takes to achieve success
- Special encouragement to boys
- The importance of rewriting & accepting criticism
- Tips on writing & getting published
- Extreme-sports video clips
Pam is also in demand at writers’ conferences, librarians’ conferences, PAC meetings and schools for her presentations and workshops on writing, literacy and other topics. She’s in demand due to her well-rounded and distinguished career in publishing:
- Award-nominee author of more than a dozen best-selling teen novels
- Co-author of a critically acclaimed business book
- Former journalist & national magazine editor
- Long-time book editor and writing coach (www.pamwithers.com)
- Award-winning public speaker
- Popular author-in-residence
She criss-crosses North America continually, so book her when she’s in your area and pay no travel expenses! Her fee is $425 for groups up to 300 (including all expenses)
To learn more about Pam Withers and her publications please visit www.takeittotheextreme.com.