The Book Farmer of Botswana

On this broiling October day in Maun, no one at the book choosing is complaining about the donation. Many of the visitors have walked, hitchhiked or bounced along in a public bus for up to 10 hours to get here. An air of purpose pervades the room. There is no breeze, no water and no snacks, but nobody seems to notice. “You have to see Pam to believe her,” says David Tregilges, an educator in Botswana. “She is this little fireball of a woman, fast-talking, passionate and undaunted by obstacles.” If she sees a child alone, she will make reading recommendations with an intensity that Tregilges says “always inspires and motivates.” Thanks in large part to Shelton, he says, over the past decade reading for pleasure has become a possibility for thousands in Botswana. In 2007, Shelton received a James Patterson PageTurner Par Excellence Award for her devotion to cultivating readers.