Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Christmas Presents?

I know...I’s early. We haven’t even cooked our Thanksgiving turkeys yet, but I wanted to let my friends and family know about a new, Christmas book that will contain one of my stories.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Gift of Christmas will be in Wal-Mart and Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tales of Christmas will be in Barnes & Noble starting in November if not earlier!

These books are special hardcover gift editions. The Wal-Mart version will have 121 stories and list for $19.95. The Barnes & Noble version will have our normal 101 stories and list for $14.95. My story is in both books.

The story is called, No Christmas Presents? It’s a true story that happened when I was just a small boy. The miracle that happened that Christmas is something I will never forget. You’ve heard that it is more blessed to give than receive? Well, wait till you read this story.

Merry Christmas...I know...I know.

Max Elliot Anderson

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

A boy - A Flashlight - A book...A True Story

Note! You are welcome to republish any or all of this story, including the picture, on your blog, or in print.

A boy - A Flashlight - A book...A True Story

The reasons why people write are as varied as the number of writers. The following story sums up why I write for readers 8 and up, especially boys.

I received a message on Facebook from a mother who wanted me to know that her ten-year-old son had just written a review for my new book, Lost Island Smugglers. It was posted on Amazon, so I went there, took a look, and found the following:

5 out of 5 stars Peyton's Review

By Diane M. Graham "DMGRAHAM" - See all my reviews


This review is from: Lost Island Smugglers (Paperback)

This is the best book I've ever read in my life. My favorite parts are:

#1 The high speed chase when Sam, Tyler and Tony are chased by the men in large black coats.

#2 The deadly storm when the boat rips in two.

#3 When Sam, Tyler and Tony wash up on Lost Island.

#4 When Sam, Tyler and Tony take a ride in the submarine.

The pictures are awesome and give me a good view of the things in Lost Island Smugglers. I will tell all my friends about it.


I went back to Facebook and sent a note of appreciation to Peyton's mother, Diane, telling her that I had just started a new book for those 8 and up boy readers. I won't disclose the particulars here, but I told her that the name of my hero main character in the story was Logan. After reading the review above, I decided to change his name to Peyton.

Diane wrote back to tell me that she and Peyton had been using my book as a read aloud. They'd finished reading for the night, and the family went to bed. At 1 o'clock in the morning, Diane got up and found Peyton reading my book, under the covers, with a flashlight, because he couldn't wait to see how it would end.

I have a long history of producing films, TV commercials, and video programs. I'm telling you, you couldn't write a better script to help tell other parents, and young readers, that Lost Island Smugglers is a book that young readers find hard to put down. Kids tell me that reading one of my books, " like being in an exciting movie."

Thank you Peyton, and thank you Diane.

Amazon Link for Lost Island Smugglers

Monday, September 13, 2010

How Can You Interest Your Boys In Reading?

Now that summer vacation is over, and another school year has begun, some families are searching for ways to get their boys interested in reading again.
A primary reason why boys don’t enjoy reading can be directly attributed to an increase in the use of technology, leading to a decrease in reading. When children watch television, DVDs, or play video games, the music and sound effects suggest how they should think, feel, and react to what is happening on the screen. In many cases, the use of electronic devices has become somewhat addictive. As a result, many tweens are thought to be slow learners, struggling or reluctant readers, along with other labels. It is critically important for parents to make sure that their tweens are reading, on a regular basis, as early as possible. Those habits will serve children well for a lifetime. But what if you have a child who doesn't want to read? What then?

I grew up hating to read. About ten years ago, I decided to find out why. The results of that research may be helpful to you.

First, it's important to be sure that there aren't any physical, emotional, neurological, other medical conditions, or vision problems that might hamper reading. This should be diagnosed by professionals. Once these have been ruled out, you can move on to find reading strategies that are best for your child.

1. Choose topics that interest them. If children aren't interested in the subject matter, they aren't likely to be interested in reading about it.

2. Expand to consider materials other than books. This can include magazines, the sports page, comic books, or other sources.

3. Try audio books. A child can listen while holding a copy of the same book. He is able to both see and hear the words at the same time, and practice following along on the page. This can be done with higher than grade level material.

4. Choose a book that is below grade level. This will help to build confidence.

5. If your child is already familiar with electronic devices, interest your child in using electronic readers like Kindle, iPad, or others.

6. Take turns reading (even advanced books) out loud. His skills will improve as he listens to the way you read.

7. Have your child try reading to a child, a dog, a cat, a doll, or stuffed animal.

8. Look for high interest, low vocabulary books called Hi-Lo.

9. Get rid of distractions during reading, including the TV, music, or other noises. And make sure your child is in a comfortable place.

10. Above all, make reading fun.

If your child avoids reading - choosing video games, or the computer time over reading - consider using those activities as rewards. You can say, "After you've read for thirty minutes, or an hour," for example, "then you may spend time doing those other things."

A few articles are circulating on the Internet today that ask how gross we have to be, in our writing, in order to attract boy readers. I won’t quote the titles out of respect for the readers of this blog and children who might also be visiting it today.

In recent months, a number of books have been published that make use of toilet humor, gross words or situations, and certain sounds. Are dirty or questionable words funny? Of course they are. Are certain body parts, sounds, and functions funny? No question. But that is no excuse to use them in our writing, especially when children are the intended audience.

There are two kinds of comedians. One can tell a side-splitting joke, or set up a situation and deliver a line so funny that it hurts our stomachs and makes our eyes run, all without reaching down into the gutter. Others come out on the stage with crutches. Their crutches are nasty situations, dirty words, swearing, and a gross use of humor. Just because it’s funny is no excuse for us to say it or write it.

Our daughter teaches 2nd grade, in a public school, in the Orlando area. “Dad,” she’ll say, “you can not believe what these kids say to each other, to me, and to other teachers.” Where does this come from? Truth is, they see it on TV, listen to it in their music, hear it in their own homes or from friends, and read it in some of their books.

We can do better. And we owe it to them in the books they read.

The Internet articles I mentioned take the position that the more gross we can be in our writing, the more likely we are to attract boys back to reading. While the premise might be true, I reject the concept. Even though one might be able to point to skyrocketing sales figures, what is the long term effect going to be? Am I just a prude? Please! I spent two years in the army. I believe that the books our boys read don’t have to go in that direction.

How important is reading to your tween? When we read, we fully engage our imagination. We decide what things look like, smell like, sound like, and taste like. Processes take place in the brain, while reading, that don't happen any other way. And reading will prepare your child for future success in life. Why add mental pollution into the process?

Remember, readers are the leaders others follow.

Be sure to see this week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling that has been posted at

See 6 reviews for Lost Island Smugglers on Amazon at:

Thursday, September 09, 2010

9/11 And Children’s Books

This Saturday is a day when we can’t help thinking about the events of 9/11/01. For me, it was the fallout from that day that propelled me into writing action-adventures & mysteries for readers 8 and up, especially boys.

The themes of 9/11 and terrorism found their way into the pages of two of my books. The following books are temporarily out of print. They will be republished by Comfort Publishing soon.


A detective, a police scanner, and a cave offered possibilities for danger and excitement. Who are the real heroes in America? Randy and his friends pooled their resources to go cave exploring, discovered the hidden loot from a bank robbery, and learned they weren't heroes at all. In this story, 9/11 is referenced because the story takes place in Virginia, near Washington, DC.


Scott and his friends had dreamed and prepared for their first wilderness camping adventure. When they become separated from their group in a mountain fog, trouble begins. There was that bear, the decrepit suspension bridge over a bottomless gorge, the sheer cliff in the dark, those terrorists in the remote cabin, the Army, the helicopter ride, and…Here, the connection is much stronger as the boys break up a terrorist cell.

So, check back with this bolg to see when these books will be widely available again.

What other children's books do you know of that include 9/11 or terrorism themes?

Available now, but not connected to 9/11

Comming Soon!

Be sure to visit my Author's Web Site  

Monday, September 06, 2010

For The Love Of Trains - The Illinois Railway Museum

I’ll be happy to admit it up front; I’m a bit of a train nut. That doesn’t mean I know a lot about trains, it just means I’ve always had an interest in them. It’s probably because, when I grew up, trains were still in wide use across the country.

And, because of my love of trains, I included a train, as a major element, in my new book, Barney and the Runaway. That book will be coming out later this fall.

Several years ago, while on a film production assignment up in Canada, I had the opportunity to ride on the Polar Bear Express. What great fun!

So, when my older brother Lane, and his wife Jill visited recently, I took them to the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

This is America’s largest railway museum, with steam trains, streetcars, interurbans, and diesel trains. On holiday weekends, they bring out the big steam trains and make a ten-mile run.

On the day we were there, only electric trains were running. We went out on this interurban car for about ten miles, and then rode around the grounds on an electric streetcar.

Everywhere you look, at the museum, there are trains of every kind. And not just one or two, trains are everywhere.

There are so many, that several have to be kept out in the elements. Over 400 locomotives and rail cars are stored on the grounds. But the lucky trains are the ones that are kept in long barns where they are lovingly restored, mostly by volunteers.

Some of the steam locomotives are simply monstrosities. It hurts your neck to look up at them. My brother is over six feet tall. Just look at the massive wheel behind him. And this engine has several on each side.

Hollywood often comes calling, when they need a train for their production. This train, the silver Zephyr, was used in the film, A League of Their Own. Many other productions are listed in the brochure.

You can read more about the museum at  If you live anywhere near Union, Illinois, and if you care anything at all about trains, I encourage you to make the trip to the Illinois Railway Museum. You won’t be disappointed.

These are a couple of old railroad timetables in my collection. The Chicago NorthWestern is from April 24, 1949 and the Milwaukee Road is dated April-May 1938.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Comments about Lost Island Smugglers

Reviews are coming in, and that will continue over the next several weeks. Here are a few comments...

--"Sam Cooper Adventures are like good, family movies . . . as an ordinary kid finds himself in exciting and extra-ordinary adventures!" Bill Myers - author

--"As usual, Anderson injects strong principles to live by in a way that children can understand."

--"We did Lost Island Smugglers as a bed-time read aloud, and everyone thought that it was great. It is certainly an exciting, action-packed adventure story that both boys and girls will enjoy."

--"I would say that this is probably going to be my favorite of his books. That is until the next one comes out and I read it."

--"Lost Island Smugglers is a quality book full of family values that will keep your preteen boy entertained."

--"This book moves at a fast pace. There are no slow parts where your child will lose interest. It’s full of “Oh, no”s and “Now what are they going to do”s. My children enjoyed it thoroughly."

--"Because my son is such a reluctant reader, I knew he would not read anything I handed him, so we read this aloud. My daughter enjoyed the story just as much as my son did. I believe my son may actually read (on his own) the next book in the Sam Cooper Adventure."

Author Web Site

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Keeping Reluctant Readers Reading

Please see the feature interview & article about my action-adventure and mystery books for readers 8 and up, Keeping Reluctant Readers Reading, at Eclectic Homeschool Online