Flowers, Pam 1946-
FLOWERS, Pam 1946-
PERSONAL: Born 1946.
ADDRESSES: Home—Talkeetna, AK. Offıce—Pam Flowers Expeditions, P.O. Box 874924, Wasilla, AK 99687. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Respiratory therapist, adventurer, speaker, and author.
AWARDS, HONORS: Outsider of the Year award, Outsider magazine, 1991; Gold Medal, Society of Woman Geographers, 1996.
Hug a Husky, Three-Dog Night Press (Wasilla, AK), 1996.
(With Ann Dixon) Alone across the Arctic: OneWoman's Epic Journey by Dog Team, Alaska Northwest Books (Portland, OR), 2001.
(With Ann Dixon) Big-enough Anna: The Little SledDog Who Braved the Arctic, illustrations by Bill Farnsworth, Alaska Northwest Book (Anchorage, AL), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Fur-Fish-Game and Dog World. Publisher, Polar Expedition Newsletter; producer of two documentary videos; speaker on the sound recording Environmental Directions. 1986-11-30, no. 490, Educational Communications (Los Angeles, CA), 1986.
SIDELIGHTS: At the age of forty-six, Pam Flowers trekked the North American Arctic with no companionship except her eight-dog sled team. Alone across the Arctic: One Woman's Epic Journey by Dog Team is the memoir of that 2,500-mile journey. Flowers followed that account of her journey with another, Big-enough Anna: The Little Sled Dog Who Braved the Arctic.
To fulfill a lifelong dream, Flowers left her career as a respiratory therapist in Texas and moved to Alaska in 1981. She began training to be the first American woman to mush solo from Barrow, Alaska, to Repulse Bay in Northwest Canada. More than one decade later, after participating in and completing the 1,200-mile Iditarod dog-sled race, Flowers hitched her dogs to a supply-laden sled and set off in search of adventure. She retraced, in reverse, the 1924 expedition led by Norwegian explorer Knud Rasmussen.
In Alone across the Arctic, Flowers and coauthor Ann Dixon retell the adventure using a combination of narrative, journal entries, boxed information bits, and color photographs. "My eyelashes freeze together and I can't open my eyes. I have to crawl back to the tent on my knees—and frantically claw the snow away from my eyes," reads one journal entry. Readers also get a sense of the author's profound respect for and knowledge of her dogs, both as a team and individually. Flowers commends her lead dog, Douggie, for being able to sense the right direction even when she could not, and observes about another sled team member, "Though intelligent, Roald lacked confidence, which sometimes caused him to clown around rather than try his hardest."
Readers accompany Flowers through blizzards, shifting ice, and a surprise polar bear encounter as Flowers offers her audience insight into what it means to follow through with one's dreams and ambitions despite obstacles and setbacks. David Pitt, writing in Booklist, called Alone across the Arctic an "inspiring story, well told." School Library Journal contributor Lee Bock commented, "This is an engaging survival story with broad appeal."
In an interview in Alaska, Flowers said she was inspired to make the trip by the students she had been lecturing to throughout the country. Flowers noted, "I wanted to show kids there's a lot more to Alaska than snow ice." Calling her trip the Alaska Odyssey Expedition, Flowers set out from the northernmost point of the Alaska-Canada border and then headed west across the North Slope. During the trip, Flowers's dog Anna, though the smallest in the litter, showed her determination when she takes the place of the lead dog after it became lost. It is Anna's character that takes the spotlight in Big-enough Anna, which Flowers and Dixon wrote for younger readers.
Big-enough Anna recounts the exploits of the author and her dog team, with Anna demonstrating that size isn't everything when it comes to toughness and resolve. The book also includes illustrations by Bill Farnsworth and a map of the route and photos. Maryann H. Owen, writing in School Library Journal, commented, "Dog lovers will appreciate this real-life adventure tale starring a loyal and intrepid canine." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books contributor Deborah Stevenson noted that "fans of dog heroism will want to mush along with Anna."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Flowers, Pam, and Ann Dixon, Alone across theArctic: One Woman's Epic Journey by Dog Team, Alaska Northwest Books (Portland, OR), 2001.
Alaska, March, 1998, "Flowers Is Back on Ice," p. 13.
Book Links, March, 2004, Cindy Lombardo, review of Big-enough Anna: The Little Sled Dog Who Braved the Arctic, p. 41.
Booklist, September 15, 2001, David Pitt, review of Alone across the Arctic, p. 188.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December, 2003, Deborah Stevenson, review of Big-Enough Anna, p. 151.
Chicago Sun-Times, March 15, 1987, Betzi Woodman, "American Aims Her Dogsled at North Pole," p. 18.
Library Journal, March 1, 2002, John Kenny, review of Alone across the Arctic, p. 128.
Publishers Weekly, September 17, 2001, review of Alone across the Arctic, p. 67.
School Library Journal, November, 2001, Lee Bock, review of Alone across the Arctic, p. 175; January, 2004, Maryann H. Owen, review of Big-enough Anna, p. 114.
Women's Sports & Fitness, March, 1987, Naomi Klouda, "Dog-Sledder Goes It Alone," p. 20.
Pam Flowers Web site,http://pamflowers.com (November 7, 2004).*