Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why I Write Tween Books For Boys

It is clear that some of the most critical patterns for a lifetime are decided during the tween years. This is that awkward time between still trying to be a “little kid” and being all grown up.

As a child, I grew up as a reluctant reader. In a family of seven children, I wasn’t especially pushed to read, so I never formed good reading habits. This was ironic because my father has published over 70 books. A number of these were written for children.

A few years ago I decided to look into some of the reasons for my lack of interest in reading. My findings lead me to begin writing chapter adventure books, for readers 8 - 13, that I would have liked as a child. My books are highly visual, with lots of humor, dialog, and plenty of heart-pounding action. Early responses from children indicate that I’m right on target. Reluctant and avid readers now devour each new title as it is released. Parents are also vocal in their appreciation for books that are reaching their children.

Marketing executives will tell you to find a need and fill it. But this isn’t exactly the way I got started. How that came about is a story in itself. My purpose was to craft books that would excite the interest of reluctant readers.

After a detailed study into why I didn’t like to read, and looking at books that were written for children, I set out to write the kind of stories I would have read when I was a child.

A further target audience I wanted to write for was boys who might be without a positive male role model in their lives. I felt that if I could tell a good story, the moral, ethical, responsibility elements could then be planted in their minds. Hopefully, at some time in the future, those concepts would be useful when these boys became men. I have a degree in psychology and this helps in communicating these concepts, and understanding my audience.

The biggest surprise, outside of the fact that reluctant reader boys love these books, is that avid boy readers, girls, and even adults do too. I believe it’s our responsibility to do everything we can for the next generation, to leave this world a better place than when we found it. I hope my books will have a small part in that process.

The first seven books are NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, THE SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE, and LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF. But this is not a “series” in the traditional sense. Each book takes place in a different part of the country with different characters, setting, and plot. Readers and reviewers have likened my books to The Hardy Boys, modern day Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Star Wars, Tom Swift and Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.

When I first began writing, I decided that if I could help one reluctant tween to become a reader, it would be worth it. From the emails and letters I have already received, that goal has been reached many times over. I received the following email right after Christmas. It underscores the effect that my books are already having on tweeners.

“I gave my son (11) a couple of your books for Christmas (he read "Northwoods Poachers" when you asked for some "reviews" and loved it). He is definitely a reluctant reader...I have to be on his case constantly to get him to read. When he opened the package I could tell he was not too thrilled with getting books...until he saw that you wrote them. ‘Oh, these are THAT guys books...thanks, Mom!’ Later in the day I mentioned to him that I expected him to read the books. He said ‘You don't have to tell me that, Mom...I want to read them!’ As a mom who is almost never without a book in her hand, it really warmed my heart to see him excited about reading! Thanks, Max! And please, keep them coming!”

My books are distributed nationally to bookstores by Baker & Taylor, and are

available online at Each book has been ranked by Accelerated Reader.

Biography: Max Elliot Anderson

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a reluctant reader. After surveying the market, he sense the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys.

Using his extensive experience in the production of motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot.

Seven books are published, with an additional twenty-seven manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting or scary movie.

Additional information can be found at,
nearly 50 pages of reviews,
and Books for Boys blog


Susan M. Heim said...

Hi Max,
These sound like incredible books for boys. I'm the mother of four sons (two teenagers and two preschoolers), and my older boys are great readers. Their #1 criteria for a "good book" is ACTION. Boys like it when the characters are DOING things, rather than sitting around talking and analyzing. (Sounds like little men talking, doesn't it?) My boys will say something like, "I'm not even out of the first chapter and they already had this great battle scene!" They love adventure stories, fantasy, sci-fi and other action-related genres. Thanks so much for adding to the library of "books that boys will love"!

Dave LaMorte said...

Your books sound great, I'm going to have to get my hands on some of your books.