Saturday, March 24, 2007

Not enough good books for boys

There is an interesting article in the Guardian, a publication from England. According to Mr. Alan Johnson, the education secretary, there aren’t enough good books for boys. He intends to make a “boys’ bookshelf” available in every secondary school library in the country, with titles that promote “positive, modern, relevant role models for boys”.

The article goes on to explain that no one knows where the money will come from, but that Mr. Johnson has acknowledged there is a pressing problem. The author of the article goes on to point out that the idea that boys won’t read is a myth. What they do like are books with fast-paced plots and fearless characters.

2008 has been designated as the National Year of Reading, and parents are encouraged to get involved with their children.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Books for Boys & Summer Reading

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost here. If you’re a teacher, it probably can’t come soon enough, so you can get that much needed break from the classroom.

And if you’re a parent, you’re already thinking of activities to keep your children busy and learning during those long summer days ahead.

One of the things I hear most often, concerning my action-adventures and mysteries, is that readers find it difficult to put them down. The good thing is, that’s how they were designed. Most chapters end with a cliffhanger, and the reader is never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or how the story will turn out.

Young readers have also told me that reading my books is like being in an exciting or scary movie. And wouldn’t you rather your young reader “read” a movie instead of simply watching another one?

My books have been ranked by Accelerated Reader. Six titles are rated for 4th grade, while Legend of the White Wolf is rated for 3rd grade.

If your child is like most, you’ll find that one of these books isn’t going to be enough. Make sure to check out the reviews at There you’ll find nearly 50 pages of reviews which represent a cross section of thinking. They will help you in making your selection of titles.

When I set out to write books for boys, it was with the intent of creating the kinds of books that would capture the imagination of kids. It is my hope that this will be your experience with your young reader this summer.

Remember, these books are enjoyed by boys, girls, and…you might be tempted to take a peek yourself. I won't tell anyone. : ))

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Unlock the Mystery

This is a special hello to all the students and their parents who attended “Unlock the Mystery” earlier today in Joliet. I counted well over 100 people who came to my two sessions. I enjoyed speaking to you, and exploring the things you “saw”, on the screen in your head, as we listened to music and sound effects.

If you’re already a reader, way to go. Keep at it. If you don’t like to read very much, I encourage you to start. Find a book or magazine about a subject that interests you, and read it. When you finish, find another one and another.

As I said today, reading will help you on tests, it will help you to become more successful, and readers are the leaders others follow.

I am impressed that so many of you chose to give up a Saturday morning, to come from several schools, so you could find out more about reading and writing. Congratulations to all of you who won awards!

I hope what we learned together was helpful to you.

Max Elliot Anderson

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Start boys reading early

This is my son, Jim, when he was much younger. I use it to illustrate a point. Boys, even if they don’t like to read, WILL read what interests them. In Jim’s case, from the day he was born, was attracted to sports. I used to joke that he was never without a ball, from some sport, in his hand. Here, his grandfather snapped a picture of him reading the sports page.

If you have children in your life, who aren’t particularly interested in reading, make sure to experiment. Once you find something they like, feed that with as much material as possible.

Some parents have discovered that it works well to read out loud to their young children first. I’d suggest that you go to the library and bring home a carload of different books. Soon you’ll have two stacks. One stack will represent material that he / she hates, while the other pile will help you to turn on the light switch of reading in your child.

Often times you’ll find that your child is happy to take over reading, once their interests have been identified.

In order to help that along, I end most of my chapters with a cliffhanger. Readers, young and old, tell me that they find it difficult to put my books down for that very reason. And I’ve heard from many parents of reluctant boy readers. My books have turned on that switch.

Many are shocked to learn that, though I’ve written dozens of action-adventure and mystery manuscripts, I grew up hating to read. It wasn’t until my college years that I discovered a love for psychology. That’s when my reading kicked into high gear as I devoured everything in my major.

Today, Jim is an attorney in Chicago. Probably his favorite TV show is Sports Center. Yet, because of an early interest in reading, he’s grown into a voracious reader. This illustrates another point. You may be an avid reader, yet you find that your son has no interest. He may never rise to the level of your reading, but you can help to build a foundation early in his development.

So, if you go out there and find something your child is interested in, I believe he’ll begin reading too.