Thursday, June 21, 2018

FREE Summer Short Story For Kids

It's finally summer, so here's a FREE Summer Short Story for kids. Who says if you're small, you can't do big things?       Read on.

The Littlest Raindrop 


Max Elliot Anderson

Way up high in the sky, higher than the birds go by, higher than airplanes fly, higher than you can see with your eye, lived the littlest raindrop you’ve ever seen. Her name was Stephanie. She was so small she wouldn’t even wet your whistle if she fell. Meanwhile, down on a ranch far below, lived the family of Abigail Pritchard. Abby’s father bought his ranch only a few years ago. And ever since that time, it almost never rained on his land. 

All day long, Abby went to the kitchen to get a long, tall glass of cool water. During the hottest time of the day, she liked to pour her water over crackling ice and hold the cool glass against her burning cheek. “Ahhh!” she sighed. Then she took another refreshing gulp. She used to like drinking outside from the garden hose, but her dad had to turn that off weeks ago.

It might not seem like it, but things back on Stephanie Raindrop’s cloud weren’t a whole lot better. That’s because some of the other, larger raindrops made fun of her. 
“You’re so small,” one of them told her, “you wouldn’t be enough to give a mosquito a drink even if you did go down there.”
“Yeah,” another said as he pointed to a great big raindrop. “Now you take Harold over there. He’s so big and fat, when it comes time for him to go; he can wash a whole car all by himself.” The others laughed, but Stephanie didn’t, and Harold didn’t either. Still, Harold did everything he could to try and fit in. It made Stephanie sad. She bent her head down, and she would have cried except she was even too small to form even a single tear.
Meanwhile, down at the ranch, Abby had gone into the barn to escape the sun’s punishing, baking rays. She hadn’t been there long before she heard a car or truck drive into the lane. She scampered up to the second level, where big bales of hay were stacked high, so she could see who it was. But that’s when she heard the barn door open followed by voices. One of them was her father.
“I’m doing the best I can,” he said. “Surely there are other ranchers just as bad off.”
“Yes there are,” another voice said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that, if we don’t get our money, we’ll have to close y’all down.”
Abby peaked out to see it was Mr. Bentley from the bank. He’d been to the ranch several times before, and each time he came out, he asked for money. Mr. Bentley wore the biggest tan ten gallon hat anyone in these parts of Texas had ever seen.
“Look Mr. Bentley,” her father said, “I need more time, that’s all. It has to rain, it’s just got to. Then everything will be all right.”
Mr. Bentley spit in the dirt and looked up again. “Tell you what. If we get just one drop of rain by next Friday, you got yourself six more months. But if it doesn’t, then the bank’s taking your ranch.”
When Abby heard that, she fell backward into a pile of loose hay. She held her breath for the next few seconds, hoping no one heard her. Nobody did. She waited until the men had gone, then went outside.
Back on the cloud, Stephanie’s mother saw her sitting and pouting one afternoon. She went over to talk with her. “What’s wrong, Stephanie?”
The little raindrop looked up and sniffled. “The other raindrops keep making fun of me.”
“About what?”
“They say I’m too small to do anyone any good, that’s what.” She hung her little head again.
Her mother leaned up against her. “That’s nonsense. It doesn’t matter if you’re short or tall, big or small, anyone can make a difference if they try.”
Stephanie slowly looked into her mother’s eyes. “Even me?”
Her mother smiled. “Especially you. Why not?”
“You just stop listening to anyone who tries to tell you, you can’t.” She left Stephanie alone again.
Soon one of the larger raindrops saw her sitting by herself. “Hey, look,” Sid said. “It’s the runt.” Sid was so big; as he sloshed toward her some of the drops of water that fell off were even bigger than all there was of Stephanie.
She glared back at him. “Why don’t you dry up, Sid?”
He laughed back. “Hey, the puny raindrop made a joke.”
Meanwhile, back down at the ranch, Abby had begun doing something every night. She waited until her parents had gone to bed. Then she crept downstairs, out the back door, and slipped into the darkness in her nightgown and slippers. Even after dark, the night air continued to feel hot as fire and dry as ashes. She folded her hands, looked up into a cloudless sky, closed her eyes, and said, “Please, please, pleeease rain!” She stood there a few moments more, then returned to her bed for the rest of the night. 
But on this night, Stephanie was awakened up on her cloud at the exact same time. All she heard, though, was pleeease. She sat up in her soft, puffy bed. “Who could that be?” she whispered.
Each morning Abby jumped out of her bed at the ranch, hurried to the window, threw open the curtains, and looked out. And each morning she had to let out a deep breath she’d been holding since her head left the pillow. “Nothin’ yet,” she whispered.
Later she found her father outside by his pickup truck. She walked over and wrote her name in the dust on the door then sat down on the running board. “When we gonna wash this thing? It’s so dirty.”
He shook his head and sat beside her. “Can’t spare the water. Your mother and I think it might be a good idea for you to start getting some of your things ready to pack.”
Abby nearly leaped to her feet. “Leaving? You mean we’re leaving?”
He looked toward the sky and shaded his eyes from the sun. “Yep. Unless you can make it rain.” He lowered his head, looked back, and smiled at Abby.
Back on the cloud, Stephanie shuffled around with her head hung low; still too small to make a tear of her own. “I’ll never get ta do anything important,” she muttered. She tried to stay away from the others.
“Pay no attention to the other raindrops,” her mother kept telling her. “One day you’ll see. You’re going to do something very important. I can feel it.”
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Abby even used less ice in her water. Her mother had stopped watering her flowers, too. And all the vegetables in their garden had already dried up and blown to Kansas. 
After dark on Thursday night, just as she had done so many nights before, Abby slipped downstairs toward the darkness in her back yard. But on her way this time, she heard the faint sounds of her mother crying. She hurried out the back door, looked toward the sky, folded her hands, closed her eyes, and said, “Please rain, please rain, pu...leeease rain!” As with all those other nights, when she opened her eyes, nothing happened.
Nothing, that is, except for high up on the cloud where Stephanie stayed awake extra late on this night. And on this night, she clearly heard every word that Abby said. “So that’s it,” Stephanie whispered. “Now I know exactly what to do.” 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, when Abby woke up, she wished this day would never come, but it did come, and it was Friday. In the kitchen, her mother wiped away tears with her apron when Abby walked in for breakfast. About an hour later, she heard someone drive up to the house. Her heart pounded as she hurried to the window to see who it was. Of course, she already knew. A big, shiny, black car came to a stop. Dust swirled in the air. Abby’s father walked over to it as the doors opened. Out stepped Mr. Bentley, but he wasn’t alone. This time he’d brought the sheriff along with him. Abby hurried outside.
From behind a small hedge, next to the house, she heard the banker say, “Well Mr. Pritchard, today’s the day.”
Abby’s father stared at the ground and kicked the toe of his boot in the dry dirt. “Guess it is.”
Back up on the cloud, Stephanie was about to put her plan into action. This time, she went looking for the others and didn’t wait for them to find her. When she saw Sid she stopped, put her hands on her hips and said, “Hey, Sid, you big drip.”
Sid spun around and glared back at her. “Who you callin’ a big drip?”
She pointed right at him. “You!”
“Come on, guys,” he shouted to some of the other big drops. Then he shook his fist. “You’ll pay for this,” and he started running toward Stephanie. She turned and ran as fast as a little raindrop can run toward the edge of the cloud. When she got there, she didn’t even try to stop. Instead, she jumped as far as she could and began falling toward the ground. When she turned and looked up, she could hardly believe what she saw. The other, bigger raindrops were so angry, they didn’t stop either. All of them ran right off the cloud and began falling after her.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the sheriff reached into this shirt pocket and pulled out a fist full of papers. “You gotta sign these Mr. Pritchard. Then you, your wife, and the little girl will have to pack up and leave.” Abby’s father reached out, took the papers, a pen the sheriff handed him, and prepared to sign away the happiest place on earth to Abby and her family. But before her father could do that, something amazing happened. Without any rain clouds in the sky, that Abby could see, the littlest raindrop landed on the brim of Mr. Bentley’s ten gallon hat, splashed into a million pieces and evaporated into the hot, dry air.
“What was that?” her father asked.
“What was what?” Mr. Bentley asked. Then he turned his head to look into the sky...big mistake. When he did that, all those bigger raindrops chasing after Stephanie, reached the end of his nose and watered the ground all around where the men stood. But that wasn’t the worst of it. That’s because Harold was the last one to leave the cloud. When he hit the banker, he knocked that ten gallon hat clean off of his head.
“Well,” the sheriff said with a chuckle. “Looks like rain to me.” He took the papers back and ripped them up.
A few days later, Abby was awakened by something she hadn’t heard for months. From the time on her bedroom clock, it should have been bright and sunny outside. Why’s it so dark, she wondered. Suddenly there was a flash of light followed by ear-splitting thunder. And that was followed by rain. She hurried downstairs to find her parents already dancing in the back yard as rain soaked their clothes and mud covered their bare feet.
Abby raced out to catch some of that delicious rainwater on her tongue. She looked toward the sky, closed her eyes, folded her hands, and said, “Thank you, thank you, thaaank you!”
Her father joined her, put a hand on her shoulder, and said, “And all it took was one little raindrop to get the whole thing started.”

Soon the stream ran again through their ranch, the pond filled up to the top with water, lush green grass grew again and the Pritchard family was able to stay on the beautiful ranch they loved so much.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

“Snake Island” - an exciting Summertime Read

“Snake Island” - an exciting Summertime Read your 8-13 year-old won’t soon forget. 

Rod Campbell loved to go tubing with his friends down the lazy river outside of town. They often wondered about Snake Island as they drifted by.

Then, one day Mr. Patterson rushed out in front of the boys as they rode their bikes. People around town said he was a little crazy since he’d come back from the war. Some said his injuries had affected his brain. But Mr. Patterson warned them about the island.

Rod talked his friends into camping out on the island since it was near his grandfather’s farm. If they could last the whole night, then there wouldn’t be anything to be afraid of they reasoned.

On the night of the campout, someone came to the island, dug a hole, and rolled a large piece of carpet in. Then he began covering the hole. The boys were terrified when they realized the man digging the hole was Mr. Patterson.

They raced off the island. The next day they learned that the richest man in town was missing. Police suspected murder. 

Rod and his friends reported what they saw and Mr. Patterson was accused of the crime. But did he do it? And what did he bury in that hole?

This book and much more available on Amazon 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Summer Reading ideas for your young reader 8 - 13

From an author who grew up hating to read.

Looking for #SummerReading ideas for your young reader 8 - 13? Look no further than these exciting adventures and mysteries by Max Elliot Anderson

Friday, April 20, 2018

Teacher To Teacher

     This letter is from a middle school teacher who has used my adventures and mysteries in her classroom for the past few years.

Dear Teacher,
    My name is Sandra Stiles. I am a middle school Language Arts teacher in Bradenton, Florida. I have always had a passion for reading. That passion doesn’t always transfer to your own children. My daughter was a struggling reader. It took another teacher to introduce her to an author whose books she devoured.  
    I am here to tell you about that author who has my students reading and fighting over his books.  Max Elliot Anderson has been one of my favorite authors for several years. Not only do I love his books, but my students love them as well.  I have three classes of students who have a remedial reading class, then they come to me for Language Arts.  
     When I did my first book pass with my students I made sure to have one of Max’s books in each pile to introduce them to his books. Both boys and girls love his books. Almost all of his books are not only filled with adventure, but also mystery. 
     One of my lowest readers has made it a goal to read all of Max’s books I have on my shelves. He has read eight books so far. The really cool part is that he started talking to some of the girls in the class. Now he has them reading them, too.
     Max has two major series, “The Sam Cooper” series and “The Accidental Adventures” series.  Both of these have characters that all kids - boys and girls alike - will love. 
     I can’t say enough about his books.  I highly recommend them to classrooms everywhere.
Sandra Stiles

ELA teacher/Dept. Chair
     With summer coming, reading won't necessarily be on the minds of middle grade students. You can recommend these books with confidence. And I hope Sandra's words will encourage you to add some of my books to your library and classroom.
Find most of my books here, on Amazon.
Note! 9 more books are due to be released in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"At the Buzzer" is another deftly crafted gem of a MG novel." MIDWEST REVIEW

"At the Buzzer" is another deftly crafted gem of a MG novel by Max Elliot Anderson and very highly recommended for both school and community library Fiction collections.           “I'm very pleased to announce that the April 2018 issue of our online book review magazine "Children's Bookwatch" features a review of "At the Buzzer”. James A. Cox Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review 

Amazon Link

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Another compelling and flawlessly entertaining read from cover to cover - Midwest Review

     Critique: The fourth novel in Max Elliot Anderson's simply outstanding mystery/suspense 'Sam Cooper Adventure' series, "This Property Is Condemned" is another compelling and flawlessly entertaining read from cover to cover. While very highly recommended for personal reading lists and community library collections, it should be noted that "This Property Is Condemned" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $2.99). Midwest Review March 2018 issue of our online book review magazine "Small Press Bookwatch" features a review of "This Property Is Condemned".
     Synopsis: A sign outside the old Remmington Mansion read, "This Property is Condemned." Sam Cooper couldn't figure out exactly what that meant. Even after his father explained it, he became more puzzled than ever. So, along with his friends, Tony and Tyler, he set out to solve the mystery.

Sam thought the old place was abandoned. But, when the boys went to investigate, a curtain moved, and they discovered old Mrs. Remmington still lived in the crumbling house.

Sam was the kind of person who would try to right any wrong or help anyone who was in trouble. And Mrs. Remmington was in a lot of it.

So, he organized the whole town to go out and fix the place up like new. But that's when his problems really began.
Why did those men try to scare the old woman into moving? And, why were they threatening Sam and his friends?

No matter what it took, Sam was determined to find out.

Friday, March 09, 2018

What are you doing to encourage boys to learn, excel, have courage or succeed?

What are you doing to encourage boys to learn, excel, have courage or succeed? 

A few nights ago, I heard an interview with Dr. Jordan Peterson who outlined the difficulties men are experiencing in our society today. And he traced those difficulties back to when they were boys.

It used to be that many said girls were being left behind. Today, it's boys who need a little extra push. That push can be partially found by encouraging young boys to put down their electronic devices and read.

I didn't do much of that when I was a child, even though my father was the author of over 70 books. I chose a path of audiovisual productions including dramatic and documentary films, videos, television programs and TV commercials because I became a visual learner.

Today I've concentrated much of my writing efforts on adventures and mysteries for readers 8 - 13. And some of these kids tell me reading one of my books is like being in an exciting movie.

If you know boys in your life, family, or circle of friends who are struggling, it could be these books might help.

That's my hope, and I welcome your comments.

My Books On Amazon: 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Book Club Network Set to Release 9 More Middle Grade Books

We are in the final stages of releasing 9 more Middle Grade mysteries and adventures through the Book Club Network.
Each is a standalone story with different characters, setting, and plot.


Barney and the Runaway

Barney and the Runaway tells the story of Michael Ellis, who has recently told his parents to start calling him Mike from now on. He especially hated the way they were always telling him what to do. Mike decides to teach his parents a lesson by pretending to run away for a day with his dog Barney. 
The plan gets a bit more complicated than planned when Mike and Barney hide in a railroad boxcar, fall asleep, and end up in Georgia with a circus in the middle of the night. Fortunately for the runaways, Big Bob the Clown takes Mike and Barney to safety in his wagon. Mike decides that living and performing with the circus might be a good idea until Big Bob opens Mike’s eyes to his unfortunate past. 
Mike’s encounter with this grown up runaway, in the circus, helps him to understand that his parents truly love him. Then Mike and Barney save the circus. Through it all, Mike learns the importance of family.
Parents often punish their children, but only because they love and want what is best for them, not because they don’t care. Even though the life of a circus performer with a circus family may appear fun, if given a choice, most would agree that living in a warm home with loving, caring parents is the preferred choice. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” After Mike overhears some unsettling news and both he and Barney are involved in a scary and dangerous crime, Mike learns his lesson before it’s too late.



North Woods Poachers

It was that time again—the annual fishing trip. Every summer was the same. The two Washburn families packed up their identical over-sized pickup trucks and headed for Canada. Only this time Andy Washburn determined it was going to be different. He didn't quite know what, or how he was going to work it out, but he was not going to spend two weeks in a boat, fishing this year. There had to be something better they could do up there instead. Even if they had to include Sarah, Andy's nine-year-old sister, and Jessica, CJ's sister, they'd do it.

Andy and CJ, his cousin, both approaching their twelfth birthdays, tried to find ways to get out of all that fishing. CJ is a computer whiz, and tests new products for his father's company, so he brings this year’s newest games and gadgets along, and they sure come in handy.

After arriving at the lake, the boys made a deal with their dads. They'd fish for the first couple of days then the boys could go off and explore the area. This becomes even more exciting when two, identical, black float-planes landed on the lake, after dark, and disappeared into the cove around the bend from the Washburn's cabins. Then they took off again before sunrise the next morning. 

The boys determined to find out what that was all about. When Andy remembered that, at the Canada/US border, they'd been stopped and searched, another vehicle had been found to have illegal turtles hidden in the spare-tire well. Andy was sure these planes were poachers landing and taking off in the dark.

When the four children set out on their mission, they have no idea what they're getting themselves into. They find an old forest watch tower which, of course, they have to climb. From there they can see into the lodge on the other side of the cove where the two strange float-planes had gone. They return to the tower the next day with a telescope that belongs to Andy's dad. What they see and discover turns into sudden danger for these four kids.  They uncover the answer to the mysterious, black planes, but they also stir up some serious trouble when they discover that there is an international ring of wild animal poachers operating out of the old abandoned lodge.



The Great Cave Caper
Four boys had formed a detective club in their little town where nothing much ever happens. That is, until they put their money together and ordered a police scanner for the shack where they held their meetings. The area around where they lived, in New Market, Virginia, was littered with caves. The uncle of one of the club’s members has a cave right on his farm. That’s when the guys hatched the idea of going out to the cave for a little innocent exploring. The cave was on private property, so they knew they’d be safe and no one could bother them. But on the night before their big adventure, the scanner came alive with reports of a big bank heist in a nearby city. The boys thought surely the robbers would be long gone by the time they set up their campsite near the cave. They were wrong. Inside the cave the next morning they found something. Now the robbers were coming in the entrance of the cave and the boys couldn’t get out. 



When the Lights go Out

Peyton Aldrich has just moved to a new army base with his parents and younger sister. He doesn’t understand why his father has been sent to such a rundown place in the middle of nowhere. After all, his father was a colonel, with top security clearance, who completed the elite Ranger school. And his training had been in Army Intelligence. Yet, here they were.
Peyton was never allowed to ask his father anything about what he did in the army. Nor was he allowed to ever get in the way. There were many secrets that his dad couldn’t even tell his own family.
Peyton idolized his father. One day, he hoped to grow up to be just like him. His father had told him that the army may not be for everyone, but after what happened on 9/11, somebody had to help keep the country safe.
Peyton finds two friends. Gill is the son of the base’s motor pool sergeant, and Dave’s father is the base chaplain. Together they decide to train like Rangers, and search for some kind of mission they could do. Little did they know that a mission was about to put the boys right in the crosshairs of a dangerous terrorist plot, when a secret weapon would be delivered to the base on its way across the country.
There was no way Peyton could tell his father what he knew. After all, it could cost him his job. Peyton, Gill, and Dave have to take matters into their own hands, and they do.
Will the terrorists find out who is trying to expose their evil plan? Will the boys be able to stop them? And what will happen to Peyton’s father when the general finds out what the boys did?
When the Lights go Out.” A story for kids, and their parents, so we never forget 9/11.



Newspaper Caper

Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became the story in the papers they delivered. 

Early in the morning, while it was still dark, the three boys stumbled across some suspicious activity. A tow truck begins to hook up an expensive car in someone’s driveway along their paper route. Tom sees the name Jake embroidered on one guy's pocket. But when the tow truck driver sees the boys, he drives off in the truck, leaving the car behind. 

Tom reads in the paper the next morning about a string of car thefts around the area. He begins to see a connection between a local car repair shop and the thefts. The same Jake turns out to be a mechanic at a relative's garage, and he acts very secretive when the boys are around.

The boys’ adventures begin as they take matters into their own hands and investigate the car thefts. They befriend an elderly widow whose car was stolen, and encounter vicious watchdogs and the thieves themselves at the chop-shop, in an abandoned warehouse used by the crooks.

But it’s Tom who proves to be the one who carries this mystery to its dangerous conclusion. Will his investigating skills be enough to help him to solve the crimes.  



Mystery at Wolf Lake

Eddy Thompson cheated on anything, anytime, anywhere. His hero is John Dillinger, one of the most dangerous bank robbers in American history. It’s winter in Indiana and Christmas break is almost here. 

Finally school is out. After Christmas, Eddy's father invites Chet, Rusty, and their fathers to drive up to a cabin he owns on Wolf Lake, in Michigan, for ice fishing, tobogganing, and winter fun in the snow. But something happens up at Wolf Lake that will change Eddie’s life. It isn’t the brutal cold. It isn’t when Eddy falls through the ice. It isn’t even when two scary men arrive at their remote cabin.

The boys’ fathers go fishing and leave them to build a snow fort along the back fence. It’s dark when two real bank robbers show up, on the other side of that fence, as police sirens race toward them. They toss their stolen cash over the fence, hoping to come back for it later.

Eddie the cheater wants to keep it, and that’s when their troubles really begin.
With so much danger closing in and with the help of his friends, Eddy realizes how wrong it is to cheat. 

But the terror doesn't end there. After the boys return from Wolf Lake, and are alone for New Years Eve, they find that home might not be the safest place, either.



Mysterious Cabin
It was only supposed to be a mountain wilderness hike for three boys with camping gear, guides, and everything. What could possibly go wrong with all those adults around? These three friends plodded along at the back of the line of hikers. Then one of the boys did something he knew was wrong; he darted off the trail to get a picture. They’d taken special classes, joined an expert group of mountain hikers, and now they found themselves separated from the group, all alone, and lost in the fog. But that’s not the worst of it. The boys had to cross a broken-down suspension bridge high above a bottomless gorge with raging water gushing right through the middle of it. There was a bear that nearly ate Benji, hundreds of soldiers on a military training exercise, and an abandoned cabin – which wasn’t abandoned after all. A band of terrorists were in the final stages of carrying out their deadly attack. Could the boys get away? Could they tell someone about the evil plan? And would anyone be able to warn the city of Denver in time?



Mischief After Midnight

When a brother and his younger sister find out they’re going to spend spring break out west, on their cousin’s ranch, they have no idea what dangers lie ahead of them. This is no old-time dusty western story. The children ride in their uncle’s airplane, he uses his satellite telephone, and the local sheriff patrols the area in a powerful helicopter. And the people stealing cattle from  ranchers in the area use large trucks, all-terrain vehicles, and their own high-tech equipment in an effort to stay one step ahead of the law. The kids are invited on a trail ride to find new calves for branding. Evidence is piling up that one of the ranch hands might be in on the stealing. But why is he working on the ranch? Their cousin told them the guy should be in prison for stealing cattle. Then a rattlesnake bite changes everything. Now it’s a race against time to help the victim, find the rustlers, and save the ranch.



Legend of the White Wolf

Take two eleven-year-old boys, a mysterious white wolf, a dangerous band of illegal hunters, and all the excitement of the rugged outdoors near Yellowstone, put it all together in a book and you have an adventure story even the most "reluctant" of readers will pick up and enjoy. 

Brian Fisher was no different from other young boys and, so, it was not much of a surprise that he resented the fact that no one believed his fantastic tale about a white wolf. It was also no surprise that he decided to prove the story true, even if it meant putting his own life in danger.

It all began when Brian discovered a white wolf pup caught in a trap and set it free. Since then, Brian was convinced that he and the wolf shared a special bond. Stung by the disbelief of his family and friends, Brian sets out to confirm the story and ends up getting a lot more than he bargained for. It is bad enough that he is caught out in a snowstorm and attacked by a mountain lion, but when a group of lawless hunters begins killing off the wolf population, that's when Brian has to get right in the middle of it. 


These books are not yet released but will be distributed through Ingram / Spring Arbor. Many more of my titles are available at: