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Our team

Co-founder Pam Withers was always a keen reader, her flashlight trained on books under her bedcovers long after lights-out time as a child. She is a former journalist and bestselling author of fifteen outdoor-adventure books for teens, several nominated for awards. She is also co-author with her sister Cynthia Gill, M.A., L.M.F.T., of a forthcoming book for parents on the link between literacy and achievement. She speaks extensively across North America in schools and at conferences. She and her husband, a professor, have one son and live in Vancouver, Canada.
Her website is
Connect with Pam Withers on

Book Pam Withers for presentations:
Chris Patrick, JCP Event Management,
1-866-413-9216 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada)

Co-founder Tony Dirksen is a former Microsoft senior manager who took early retirement to pursue the higher calling of writing young-adult novels. His four children, and their various reading experiences while growing up, convinced him of the importance of supporting other parents as they work with their children. It's also why he developed Radio Comet, a story site for youths and young adults. Tony lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife, Elva.

Book Tony Dirksen for presentations:

How Keen Readers came about

Pam Withers and Tony Dirksen met in 2008 at a writing critique group set up by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators of Washington (SCBWI-WA). They discovered a common interest not only in writing for teens, but in supporting organizations that work with at-risk youth. They decided to join forces in creating a website that encouraged a love of reading as a tool towards academic and life achievement.

Director of marketing

Darian Tichler is a designer and all-around handy guy to have around in the modern age. Since completing his Diploma of Publishing, he has worked for several companies doing graphic and publication design, video editing and all manner of other technical trickery. He hated reading and writing until he fell in love with the fantastical imagery (most notably of food) in Brian Jacques’ Redwall series at the age of ten. Now he has a voracious appetite for the written word.

Writing awards coordinator

Cameron Miller is an avid reader, writer and musician. He is studying to become an elementary school teacher as well as completing a degree in medieval studies. He loves books with memorable characters, and has a particular affinity for Victorian literature. Someday, he hopes to travel the world while writing an exciting book.

Book reviewer

Rob Bittner has recently completed is Master of Arts in Children's Literature at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and is now pursuing his PhD in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada. A keen reader of young adult literature, he has been published in The ALAN Review, a journal for teachers of literature for adolescents. He is also a frequenter of literature conferences and has had invitations to speak at the BC Library Conference as well as to guest lecture in various university classes. His favourite books are currently "Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy" by Bil Wright and pretty much anything by John Green and David Levithan.

Book reviewer

Teresa Bateman is the librarian at Olympic View Elementary and Brigadoon Elementary in Washington state. She's been a librarian for more than 20 years and she reads stacks and stacks of books every year. (How can you recommend a book to students if you haven't read it?) She comes from a family of voracious readers who recommend books back and forth and race each other to the library for new releases. When not in her library, she reviews audio-visual materials for School Library Journal and books for Puget Sound Council. She is also an award-winning children's author who has published more than 20 books of her own. There's nothing that tickles her more than letting others know about a particularly great book. (Well, ok, a particularly great brownie comes in a close second!)
Teresa Bateman

Book reviewer

Stacey Matson is currently pursuing her MA in children's literature at the University of British Columbia. She has worked as an educational and interpretive programmer for cultural sites in Calgary, developing children's theatre pieces, school programs, and summer programming for all age levels. She has worked with youth for the past seven years as the Parliamentary Tours and Education Outreach Manager for the Library of Parliament in Ottawa. Her favourite book remains Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, but has a current addiction to post-apocalyptic young adult series and historical fiction.
Stacey Matson

Contribute to Keen Readers

Are you writer? A book reviewer? A professional in the field of adolescent literacy or teen parenting? Would you like to volunteer time or articles to our website? We’re open to articles and columnists. We do not pay at this time, but if we publish your work, we will link your bio to your website.

Our board

We are currently putting together a board for Keen Readers. Please check back later for this information or email us at to apply.



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