Monday, December 29, 2008

A Legacy of Books for Boys

I should have known it.

Even though I grew up as a reluctant reader, my father was the author of over 70 books. Early in his writing career, he also wrote books for boys. Yet I never would have expected that I might start writing action-adventures & mysteries especially for tween boys.

In this picture, you can see two of his early titles. Winky solves a Mystery was published in 1948 by Zondervan, and Winky and the Ghost Lion was published in 1950. My father became my biggest supporter when I began writing in 2001. On the 23rd of this month, he would have been 91, and I really miss him. You can still buy some of the old copies of his books here:

I guess it takes a reluctant reader to understand one. That’s probably why my books are connecting with young readers, as reported by parents, librarians, teachers, grandparents, and the readers themselves. What interests me is that avid boy readers, girls, and even adults like the books I write today.

If you have any questions, just let me know.

Max Elliot Anderson

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Truth About Boys (and Girls) and What To Do About It

As an author of action adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys, I'm always interested in finding articles where people, "get it." By that I mean that there is a very good reason why I write books for boys the way I do.

Boys are different. And when it comes to the material they like to read, they are really different.

I hope you enjoy this article, "The Truth About Boys (and Girls) and What To Do About It." After you read it, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Max Elliot Anderson

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Message in A Bottle

You might remember that I sent a message in a bottle last May. Here's a picture of that bottle. It was launched into the Rock River near my home in Rockford, Illinois. This was also the summer of some of the worst flooding on record. The finder will be given a free set of all of my books.

My bottle should have traveled along the Rock River, potentially reaching the Mississippi. However, no one has contacted me about finding it yet.
I have something a little different planned for this spring, but I thought you would enjoy reading about another message in a bottle that did make it into the hands of someone, 800 miles from where it was launched.

Who knows, my bottle might still be found one day.

Max Elliot Anderson

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Talking About Books for Boys

One of the joys of writing books for boys, is the opportunity to speak, about writing, to students in elementary schools. Not long ago, I was invited to speak to a 4th grade class at Immanuel Lutheran School in Belvidere, Illinois. They sent me a letter, signed by all of the students, and this picture.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Boys Behavior & Books for Boys

I’d like to introduce you to Boys Behavior . This site is run by Troy Parish, and you can find many useful articles and resources for boys here.

Troy also has a recommended reading list of books for boys at and I’m pleased to see that some of my action-adventures and mysteries are listed there along with many other books.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Books For Boys Make Great Gifts For Christmas!


Max Elliot Anderson
& Mysteries especially
for tween boys,
that girls love reading too!
Author web page

Over 50 Pages of Reviews

Friday, November 28, 2008

There's Still Time To Get Signed Copies Of My Books For Boys, For Christmas

This is a final reminder in 2009 for you to order signed copies of my books for Christmas…but you’d better hurry.

SPECIAL PRICE: From now until Christmas 2009, my books are available for $10.00 each.

I’LL PAY SHIPPING: From now until Christmas 2009, I’ll pay the shipping costs.

Here are the titles I have available. Make sure to send me the name that each book is to be autographed for, along with your mailing address, and your check.
Mail to:

Max Elliot Anderson
P O Box 4126
Rockford, IL 61110

Do it today!

Action-Adventures & Mysteries by Max Elliot AndersonBooks that children love to read, especially boys. All books are rated by Accelerated Reader. Send your child on an exciting journey at this limited offer price.

NEWSPAPER CAPER $10.00 0-9729256-4-3Tom 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. Readers will like the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. It also teaches God isn't just for emergencies. He wants to guide our lives every day.

NORTH WOODS POACHERS $10.00 0-9729256-8-6The Washburn families have been coming to the same cabins, on the same lake, catching the same fish, for about as long as Andy can remember. And he's sick of it. This summer would be different he decided. Only he never imagined how different. The story is filled with excitement, danger, humor, and drama. In the end, Andy learns the concepts of family tradition, that God loves justice while He hates injustice, and it is important to follow the rules. Readers will enjoy the gigantic, jet-powered floatplane, computers, home made radio transmitter, and naturally, no one will ever forget Big Wally. He’s a fish of course.

MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY $10.00 0-9729256-3-5Scott 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…This story reminds us what happens if one of God's lambs is lost.

BIG-RIG RUSTLERS $10.00 0-9752880-1-6Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The family doesn’t go to church. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle’s Christian example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was also wrong about Travis, a shadowy character.Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.

SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE $10.00 0-9752880-0-8A 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.

LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF $10.00 0-9752880-3-2They didn’t call him a liar; they just couldn’t believe his story. Brian Fisher was determined to prove it was true even though it involved the risk to his own safety. His rescue of a wolf pup from a steel trap results in a mysterious relationship with surprising results. The story is set in the lower elevations near Yellowstone

Over 50 Pages of Reviews

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Maybe Next Year

It wasn't the best year for the # 24 this season, but at least he was in the chase.
My son and I make the annual trek to Daytona, each February, for the start of the NASCAR season. Already have our tickets for February, 2009.

I’ve been following Jeff Gordon since his rookie season in the sport. My son is a lawyer in Chicago, and he cheers for Earnhardt Jr.

Do you have a favorite driver? Leave a comment if you do.

Max Elliot Anderson

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Great Books For Boys Ad I Agree With

That's an ad I agree with.
This ad, and its web site, were inspired by James Patterson, because his son didn't like to read. I encourage you to check out his site.
After a recent Christmas, I received the following email.
“I gave my son (11) a couple of your books for Christmas. 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 guy's 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!”
So, I hope you'll consider giving some of my books to the children in your life this Christmas too.
Max Elliot Anderson
See the above web site at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Books for Boys Who Are Reluctant Readers

I grew up as a reluctant reader. And this was in the home where my father who authored over 70 books. There may be a reluctant reader in your family or circle of friends.

At the end of 2001, I decided to do some research into why I hadn’t liked reading, and I found some startling patterns. So I began writing the kinds of books I WOULD have enjoyed as a child.

My books have larger print. I use shorter sentences, with lots of dialog, humor, and heart-pounding action and adventure. Readers won’t find big blocks of words, or endless descriptions.

Maybe these books will be the answer you’re looking for because I believe that a reluctant reader is simply a person who hasn’t found the right book yet.

If you try one or more of these books for Christmas this year, things might be different at your house with your reluctant reader.

Available on Amazon, and all are ranked by Accelerated Reader.

Max Elliot Anderson

PS. Signed books can be ordered directly from me, just email for details.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Featured in Homeschooling Today Magazine

I received confirmation that my author interview appears in the current issue of Homeschooling Today Magazine. The November/December 2008 issue has arrived in mailboxes, at local Christian bookstores, and Barnes & Noble.

The interview was conducted by Marilyn Rockett. Marilyn is well respected in homeschooling circles, and is the author of the popular book, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life.

Homeschooling Today Magazine has a readership of 80,000.

I write action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys, that girls love to read too.

Max Elliot Anderson

50 Pages of Reviews

Author web page

Thursday, November 06, 2008

James Patterson’s Son Doesn’t Like to Read

James Patterson’s Son Doesn’t Like to Read

It’s true, his son Jack said in the November 10 issue of People Magazine. “With lots of books for kids, their parents want them to read. But it’s not something the kid wants to read.”

This caught my attention because I grew up hating to read too. My father also was the author of over 70 books, and I never read any of them. Today, I’m writing action-adventures and mysteries that I would have liked as a child.

James Patterson is now also writing books for younger readers, after having a reluctant boy reader, right under his own roof. He has recently established a new web site called Readkiddoread ( ). I’m very encouraged by this as well.

I began writing books for tween boys at the end of 2001. It has been a slow process in finding publishers who understand the critical need for books for boys…books they would actually like to read.

My files are crammed with letters and emails from teachers, parents, librarians, and kids, all telling me how my books have attracted young readers. Both boys and girls love these books.

With an additional 28 completed manuscripts available, I like to say two things:

1. A reluctant reader is simply someone who hasn’t found the right book yet.

2. I continue searching for the right person, in the right publishing house, at the right time, who fully understands the growing market opportunity of books for boys, and recognizes my books as one of the tools that will help meet this growing need.

Max Elliot Anderson

James Patterson’s site –

50 Pages of Reviews

Author web page

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hi Lo Reading Level Books for Boys

When I began writing action-adventures and mysteries for kids, I was particularly interested in making sure that my books would reach boys…especially reluctant readers.

There is a category in literature called Hi Lo Reading Level. My books have been identified as fitting the description of Hi Lo.

A well respected site,, has written about two of my books, in an effort to alert parents who have sons with various reading difficulties. Those pages are located at:

Mountain Cabin Mystery

North Woods Poachers

In addition to these two books, I also have published Secret of Abbott’s Cave, Big Rig Rustlers, and Legend of the White Wolf.

Then, in September, Darby Creek Publishing released a sports anthology, Lay Ups and Long Shots. My short story, Big Foot, is included in this book and shares the pages with children's authors Joseph Bruchac, Terry Trueman, David Lubar, Dorian Cirrone, CS Perryess, Jamie McEwan, and Peggy Duffy.

And, Lay ups and Long Shots is a Junior Library Guild selection, so you are likely to find it in your local library. Lay Ups and Long Shots can be found on or in bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and others.

Max Elliot Anderson

Author web page

50 Pages of Reviews

Thursday, October 23, 2008 Hi Lo Reading Level Book by Max Elliot Anderson

These two articles, on discuss reluctant readers, and review two of my action-adventures and mysteries written especially for tween boys, that girl readers hate to put down too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Black Squirrel

My books for boys are action-adventures & mysteries. I don’t necessarily write books about animals, although there are often animals in my stories. You would find dogs, horses, cats, wolves, and others, even though mine are primarily people stories.

But I do like animals.

As a young boy, you might find a wild rabbit I’d caught, birds, a chipmunk or two, a tame squirrel…we even had a skunk living at my house. I was always fascinated with squirrels which were plentiful in the oak trees in the woods that surrounded our house. I even caught and tamed a couple of them. (Now there are more rules about that, but not when I was kid)

Here, where I live in Illinois, my back yard has only had red and gray squirrels for the 30+ years we’ve been in this house. But for some reason, my favorite has always been the black squirrel. I’d see them as I traveled to other areas of the country, but never in the region where I live…until this year.

Seemingly, from out of nowhere, a single black squirrel has arrived, and decided to make my back yard its home. I’ve enjoyed watching him gather acorns alongside the red squirrels and gray squirrels.

Who knows, I might just have to work him in to one of my future books.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Why I Write Tween Books for Boys...that girls like to read too!

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.

Newest book: LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing - A junior Library Guild selection.

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,

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Home Education Magazine & new book, Lay Ups & Long Shots

Here's a page about Lay Ups and Long Shots posted today. Home Education Magazine reaches 50,000+ readers six times per year. This is their online blog. They've been very supportive of my previous books for tween boys.


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Where do you get your ideas?

A question I often hear is, “Where do ideas come from for your books for boys?”

For me, ideas come from current events, technology developments, my own childhood, reading the newspaper or magazines, the Internet, and my experiences from years of film, television, video, and TV commercial productions.

The black and white picture here, is from a dramatic film that I shot, many years ago, in Wyoming. We spent a few weeks in and around a gigantic ranch. As I prepared to write BIG RIG RUSTLERS, it was those images and impressions that began to flood my mind.

Though my book, and the film have completely different stories and characters, it was the setting that provided the canvas in my mind.

BIG RIG RUSTLERS is a modern day western. Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle’s example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was also wrong about Travis, a shadowy character.

Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.

Why Books For Boys Need To Be Different

Here's a link to an article by Troy L Parish from his Boys Behavior blog. It's called ARE BOYS and GIRLS DIFFERENT? This is not just opinion, but contains results from scientific study

My books for boys are written primarily for tween boys, but girls like the books too.

Max Elliot Anderson

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


There are at least 12 turkeys in the yard right now. I couldn't fit all of them into the picture because some were farther away from this main group. I told them they weren't too bright because Thanksgiving isn't THAT far away, and here they are, hanging around the neighborhood.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Humpty Dumpty Hardboiled Detective REVIEW

Humpty Dumpty Jr: Hardboiled Detective
Nate Evans – Paul Hindman – Vince Evans
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

An effective approach for an author is to take an existing character, who everyone knows, and give it a twist.

Nate & Vince Evans, and Paul Hindman didn’t just give Humpty Dumpty a twist, they scrambled it, and served up something entirely new for young readers. These two books should attract even the most reluctant reader.

In addition to a new twist on an old, familiar character, I was also struck with the artwork. It took me back to the humor publications like Mad Magazine and Cracked…how appropriate.

I grew up as a reluctant reader, and now write action-adventures & mysteries especially for tween boys. So I was interested in these books which are designed to draw in readers as well.

It's impossible to list the never ending, play-on-words related to eggs, but I can say that they are delightful. I can envision the authors, sitting in a room, in a brainstorming session, holding their stomachs while tears of laughter stream down their cheeks.

These books are fast reads, filled with illustrations on nearly every page.

Parents may want to preview the books to make sure they are appropriate for their children, which is good because adults will enjoy them too.

Very entertaining!

Max Elliot Anderson
Author - Adventures & Mysteries for Tweens

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nominate for 101 Best Web Sites

Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites is now accepting nominations for nextyear’s list. If you've found Books for Boys
helpful in the past year, please send your nomination to .
Put "101 Websites" in the subject line. Please do it now. Jan 1, 2009, is the deadline.

Thank you

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Struggling School-Age Boys

Interesting article as it relates to books for boys, and reading

Newsweek - Struggling School-Age Boys

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lay Ups & Long Shots - a Junior Library Guild selection

It is my distinct pleasure to have a short story, BIG FOOT, included in the new book, LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS, published by Darby Creek Publishing. The book has been selected by the Junior Library Guild.

You can read more about the Junior Library Guild at
The Guild is made up of 17,000 librarians.

My short story shares the pages with children's authors Joseph Bruchac, Terry Trueman, David Lubar, Dorian Cirrone, CS Perryess, Jamie McEwan, and Peggy Duffy.

Max Elliot Anderson

NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE, & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When I'm Not Writing Books For Boys

Those who follow this blog know that, in addition to writing books for boys, I am also the producer / director / writer of video productions for clients

Yesterday I had the opportunity to shoot video in a facility that is the largest company in America that recycles the glass from electronics and computers. The men who own this company, built the machines that separate and break up the glass, themselves.

Electronic products and computers are torn apart. The plastics are sold to one vendor while the electronics and circuit boards are sold to another. The glass fragments are then shipped to companies that melt it down and produce new glass.

I was impressed by how much of the material is able to find new life, rather than to be dumped into a landfill where it would simply sit for all time.

It was almost overwhelming to see the gigantic volume of items that come to this company in truckload after truckload. Right now they only receive materials from corporations, but laws will likely change soon so that old, worn out electronic items from homes will be recycled too.

Some of the video footage that was shot, showing how the glass is processed, will be on a CBS program or on CBS news soon.

It was an interesting day.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

How my work in dramatic films has had an effect on my books for boys.

Before videocassettes, and now DVDs, were available, people either went to the theatre, or watched television in order to see films. A few producers made 16mm films for rental to churches. I worked for two companies that did that.

During my years in production, I learned that girls would watch films about boys’ adventures, but boys would not watch a girl’s story. That is why I have charted a course to write books for boys first. It is because I know that girls will also read books for boys and enjoy the stories.
To the left are pictures from two of those films, THE GREAT BANANA PIE CAPER and THE MYSTERY OF WILLOUGHBY CASTLE.

The more information I read, and through my ongoing research, I find that there continues to be an outcry from teachers and parents for more books for boys. Publishers are still hesitant to take the plunge into releasing books for boys, but I believe it is going to change.

I have 28 additional manuscripts that are ready to go. These books for boys are the same kinds of exciting action-adventures and mysteries just like those that have already been published.

If you are in a position to do so, I hope you will let others know how important you believe books for boys are.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A new book, LAY-UPS and LONG SHOTS, has just been released.

A new book, LAY-UPS and LONG SHOTS, has just been released.

It contains my short story, BIG FOOT, which shares the pages with fellow children’s authors Joseph Bruchac, Terry Trueman, David Lubar, Dorian Cirrone, CS Perryess, Jamie McEwan, and Peggy Duffy.

This is a beautiful hardcover book. When the dust jacket is removed, a laminated cover, with the same artwork is revealed.

The inside flap promo copy for my story reads, “Max Elliot Anderson puts his best foot forward with a story about the new kid in town with an unusual ability.”

The back cover copy also reads, “Sometimes in life, success is a long shot – other times it’s as easy as a lay-up. Nine contemporary children’s authors bring their A game to the pages of Lay-Ups and Long Shots – an action-filled anthology that depicts the obstacles and hurdles that all athletes must overcome to achieve success in a sport. With tales of basketball, football, soccer, running, surfing, BMX racing, and even Ping-Pong, you are sure to find a short story that will inspire the athlete within.”

If you have a sports junkie in your family, classroom, or circle of friends, LAY-UPS and LONG SHOTS is sure to pull them in…even reluctant readers.

Max Elliot Anderson
Published by Darby Creek Publishers

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boy Trouble

One of the reasons I began writing action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys, is because I believed that boys learn differently than girls, and that their interests were different. Study after study tends to back up this belief.

The September, 2008 issue of Chicago Magazine contains an excellent article, Boy Trouble, by Lucinda Hahn.

I encourage you to read it.

Max Elliot Anderson

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Children's Writer Guide

I'm going to be featured in one of the articles for the Children's Writer Guide in their 2009 edition. They did a very nice job. In addition to the interview, about my books for boys, they list my web sites and published books.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Little guy in my back yard

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have always loved animals.

Tonight is the second night in a row that this little guy has come into my back yard. He looks a little young to be on his own, which may indicate that his mother could have been hit by a car. None of his brothers or sisters are around.

He doesn't seem to be at all aggressive. In fact, my cat, Auby, walked right up and smelled his tail, and it didn't bother him at all.

I gave him a little bread and water, and he was on his way. He's really cute.

Max Elliot Anderson

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Book

Announcing a new book, due for release in September, 2008. LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS includes short stories by Max Elliot Anderson, Joseph Bruchac, Terry Trueman, David Lubar, Dorian Cirrone, CS Perryess, Jamie McEwan, and Peggy Duffy.

Published by Darby Creek, this hardcover book includes stories for tweens and teens who face obstacles, or are involved in athletics including track, football, martial arts, Ping Pong, and dirt bike riding.

LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS has just received a positive, first review by John Peters of Booklist.

Look for LAY UPS and LONG SHOTS soon at your nearest bookstore, or find it now on

Thursday, July 24, 2008


It’s kind of interesting to me, given my background in motion picture and video production - - that I’m finding potential interest in some of my published books and unpublished manuscripts, as possible theatrical motion picture projects.

This is likely a long selection process, and there are no guarantees that my books for boys will become G-Rated films one day, but there are two production companies taking a look at the present time.

This further interests me because, as I’m writing, I see the stories as films first, in my imagination, rather than the books for boys they are intended to become.

I’ll keep you informed, here, of future developments.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What Makes Your Books For Boys Unique?

I’m often asked about what it is that makes my books for boys different or unique. I think the best way to demonstrate that is to direct you to nearly 50 pages of reviews from my first 7 books for boys.

My agent is currently at the largest Christian Bookseller’s convention, meeting with editors over the next several days.

We are hopeful to add additional titles to my list of published books. The first 7 have been published, but there are another 28 manuscripts that have been completed.

50 pages of reviews:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Message In A Bottle Update

It has now been 2 months since I released a message in a large, clear, plastic bottle into the Rock River.

Who could have known the rains and floods that would follow?

It’s possible that the bottle has become hung up in debris, it could have left the river and gone over the banks with the floodwaters, or it could have made it to the Mississippi River, I have no idea.

Keep checking back, though, because I’ll post all the details if it is found. Whoever finds the bottle, and returns the message, will receive a copy of all of my books.

Next spring/summer, I have a plan for an even more spectacular promotion.

Stay tuned,

Max Elliot Anderson

Monday, June 23, 2008

High Interest, Low Reading Level Books Encourage Readers

You're probably familiar with the web site, It's a great place to go for all kinds of information. has just completed a page about my books for boys, that does an excellent job of explaining what it is that I'm attempting to do with my writing.

You can find it at:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Saving Robin's Life - last part of the story

The same evening after the birds had left their nest, I sat on the couch in our den. The nest is in a tree in our front yard, and my den faces the back yard.

Have you ever had the strange feeling that someone was watching you? Remember the creepy feeling you had? You look up and, sure enough, you are being looked at by someone, or some…thing.

I looked up from what I was reading, as a new robin stared right back at me, through the den door. He sat perched on the back of one of our patio chairs, and didn’t make a sound. All he did was sit there and stare.

Since I’d been taking pictures, to document their progress, I stood up and went to get my camera, hoping I wouldn’t scare the bird away.

At first, I snapped a few pictures through the glass, and he never budged. So, with great care, I slowly slid open the door. Still the bird sat motionless, and kept looking at me. I snapped a couple more pictures and then decided to step outside. He let me get as close as 2 feet away while I continued taking pictures.

Finally, the baby robin turned, chirped, let go with a little dropping, and flew away. I can’t be sure if it was the same bird I had hoisted back into the nest or not, but it was almost as if he had stopped by to say, “Hey, thanks for saving my life.” That’s the way I choose to interpret what happened.

So now I say to you, as I said to him, “Have a happy summer.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saving a Robin’s Life - part 3

Soon the time arrived that many parents have experienced, or that they dread in the future.
I had checked earlier in the day and the birds were there. Later that same day, they were gone.
We people, and the birds, call it by the same name, “Empty Nest.”
Suddenly my little band of companions - friends actually - were off to see the world.
(Don't miss the next, final installment. It's something special)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Saving a Robin’s Life – continued part 2

My small flock grew rapidly as their parents faithfully flew out and brought back breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Our yard has a few less worms as a result. Since the nest had been built at near eye level - I’m 6’ 4” tall – it was easy to observe their daily development. The adults seemed to accept my frequent visits, and the babies didn’t know any better.
(2 more installments are coming. Tell your friends, family, and especially children to make sure to check back)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Saving a Robin’s Life – continued

You may remember my previous account when I discovered a large crow attacking a robins’ nest I’d been watching for several days. Adult robins tried their best to fight off the intruder, but he was intent on having a hot meal.

That’s when I sprang into action to scare him away. After checking the nest, I thought to look on the ground and see if any babies had been booted out. There was one that had fallen into the grass. I went into the house, grabbed a rubber glove, so I wouldn’t get my scent on his body, and replaced the frightened, little guy to his home in my Scotch Pine tree.

Then I continued watching, in the days ahead, as they developed.

Come back again for more of this story. It has an AMAZING ending, with pictures for each installment. It’s priceless!
Make sure the kids in your life get to read this too. It's exactly the kind of adventure that boys will love. Part # 2 coming soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


This has been a season of massive flooding in some parts of the country. Here, in the Midwest, it is especially so.

The Rock River, where I dropped my message bottle, two weeks ago, is at flood stage in a few areas, with more forecast in the days ahead. Rains caused the failure of Lake Delton, in the Wisconsin Dells, completely emptying out the lake.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is experiencing epic flooding, of historic proportions. I saw a report yesterday about the potential for flooding of the Mississippi.

Our hearts go out to those who are battling the floodwaters, and losing those battles.

But I couldn’t help wondering about the message I sent in that bottle on May 31. No one could have known about the weather conditions that would follow. I’m wondering, now, if the bottle will ever be found. Or, if it is found, how far away from the river that might be.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Scholastic Report: Kids Still Read for Fun—Teens, Less So

Since I write for tweens, this information is extremely important to me. There IS a market for this material, and the study shows that tweens and younger are the largest potential children's market.

Max Elliot Anderson

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Another Bird Adventure

Once I discovered a nest of robins, in the pine tree just outside my front door, I began documenting their development, by taking pictures every few days.

On Saturday, when we came home from running errands, we heard a great commotion. Adult robins dive-bombed something as it raced away from the nest. Apparently a squirrel had come too close, and several birds attacked him as he fled.

Well, today provided more high drama. While working at my computer, I heard the cries of several birds. When I went to the door, I saw something big and dark, right next to the nest. Robins flew in and out, like Phantom jets, one right after the other. I pushed open the door and clapped my hands. When I did that, a giant crow fled the nest, followed on its heels by a posse of robins.

I went nearer to the nest, to see if the intruder had done any damage during his attack. There, on the ground, lay a defenseless, little robin, still several days too early to fly. Since wildlife doesn’t especially care for the scent of humans on their young, I darted into the house, found a rubber glove, and returned to the helpless creature on the ground.

His eyes were open, and his entire, little body heaved as he gasped for each panicked breath.

He is now snuggled back in the nest with his brothers and sisters, but I’m going to have to become a sentry until I know that crow is finally gone.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Flooding and Message in a Bottle Speed

We have been experiencing torrential rains over the past 48 hours, with more on the way. There are flood warnings up and down the Rock River, along with a no wake warning for boaters. The stretch of river in our area, Rockford, IL, is at or very near flood stage right now. If my message in the bottle is still on the river, it must be flying by now.

No word yet of someone finding it.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Message Bottle Still Out There Somewhere

One week ago, at about this same hour, I dropped the special message bottle into the Rock River. No one has returned the card inside yet for a free set of my books.

There have been heavy rains in the area over the past several days, sending more water into the Rock and Mississippi rivers. If the bottle is still traveling, it will likely have picked up speed. If the bottle is found, and the card returned, I’ll report it here, and show, on the map, how far it went.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Message in a bottle update

The bottle was dropped into the Rock River at about 7:15 AM, Central time, on Saturday, May 31. There have been no reports of finding it yet, but I'm watching my mailbox each day. I'll report here if and when it is found, and the prize card has been mailed back to me. If it is returned, I'll also report how far the bottle traveled.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kid’s adventure author sends message in a bottle.

Max Elliot Anderson, author of action-adventures and mysteries for kids, has begun a real life adventure to encourage summer reading. On Saturday, May 31, he released a special bottle into the Rock River, near his home of Rockford, Illinois.

“Since most of my books contain adventures, and are written especially for boys 8 - 12, I wanted to do something different this summer, to point out the importance of reading in America. That’s because I grew up hating to read.” His blog, Books for Boys, ranks in the top 10 searches on Google.

He placed the bottle into the river, downstream from a spillway. “I know there are lots of hazards and obstacles in the rivers,” Anderson said. “But I’m hoping my bottle makes its way to the end of the Rock River, and into the Mississippi. If it gets that far, then who knows?”

The large, clear, plastic bottle is decorated with blue tape. Inside is a special card. When the card is returned to the author, he will send a set of his books to the person who found it. Also included is a forever stamp. “That way,” he said, “it won’t cost the finder anything to claim the prize, no matter when they pull it out of the water.”

The prize card includes instructions for proper disposal of the bottle, or recycling. “I don’t consider my message-bottle to be litter since I’m confident someone will find it one of these days.”

This summer adventure is in keeping with what young readers have reported, after reading Max Elliot Anderson’s books. “Reading one of your books is like being in an exciting or scary movie,” several have said.

“It’s vital,” Anderson said, “that we teach our children to turn off the TV, put away the video games, move away from the computer, and pick up a book. Reading helps to exercise the imagination in ways that nothing else can.” His books include North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, Secret of Abbott’s Cave, and Legend of the White Wolf. “Each book has completely different characters, and takes place in a different part of the country,” he said.

Anderson’s books have been compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London. His books are equally enjoyed by boys and girls.

Anderson’s prize bottle could possibly make its way past Moline, and Davenport, to St. Louis, past Memphis, and all the way to New Orleans. “Hopefully someone will fish it out of the river before it gets to the Gulf,” he said with a smile.

“What better way to get kids excited about the adventure of reading, than to give them a real adventure this summer?” Anderson asked. He encourages young readers, who live along the Rock and Mississippi rivers, to be on the lookout for the bottle.

“Even if you aren’t the lucky one to find it,” Anderson said, “why not read a good adventure this summer anyway?”

Author Web Site

Books for Boys blog

Friday, May 30, 2008

Watch for Special Announcement for Kids

On Saturday, May 31, I'll be posting information here about an exciting adventure for kids. Don't miss it.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tweens, Summer, and the dreaded, “I’m bored.”

In a few, short days, children will be out of school. Parents have already planned summer activities, booked a camp, or prepared for those long summer days. One of the first things they’ll hear from their tweens is… “Mom, I’m bored!”

Some parents will respond by saying, “Why don’t you go outside and play?” Right, like that’s going to happen. They might also suggest video games, computer time, or the always present TV. After all, these have been great babysitters in the past, haven't they?

But what if a parent could find something new, something different?

Max Elliot Anderson grew up hating to read. That is a fact that led him to explore exactly why this had happened. His findings resulted in a determination to begin writing the kinds of books he would have liked as a child.

His first books, Newspaper Caper, North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, Secret of Abbott’s Cave & Legend of the White Wolf, have been compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London. (Newspaper Caper is only available from the author, and all direct ordered books are signed)

Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot. Several young readers have written to say, “Reading one of your books is like being in an exciting or scary movie.”

We know that up to the age of 14, kids are making most of their decisions for a lifetime. The choice of reading should be one of those decisions. And these action-adventures & mysteries book contain character and spiritual principles that will help in forming good choices.

So the next time you hear, “I’m bored,” just reach for an action-adventure or mystery by Max Elliot Anderson. All books are ranked by Accelerated Reader.

Find more information at these sites:

Author Web Site

50 Pages of Reviews

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Boys in Peril

Following is a guest article, written by Robert Gould, president of Big Guy Books.

Boys in Peril

Literacy rates fall, dropout rates rise. What it means to us.
There is a crisis going on in this country right now – one that threatens the very future of half our nation’s children. Yet, this dire situation persists with little or no attention from the mainstream media. The problem is that boys are falling further and further behind in their reading skills – and, as a result, they are dropping out of school at an alarming rate.

Think this kind of talk is just “alarmist” in nature? Consider these facts:

55% of College students are Girls, 45% are Boys.

11th-grade Boys now read and write at the level of 8th-grade girls. 30 years ago there was no difference.

In U.S. PIRLS tests, for reading proficiency, 4th-grade girls average 18 points above boys.

40% of fourth graders read below the basic level. 75% of them never rise above average.

By age 17, less than 6% of boys can read science, business and economic sections in the local newspaper.

On average, boys learn to read at a much slower pace than girls. Plus, we reinforce and reward other skills and behaviors in boys that are not tied to reading. Sports, video-gaming, and the social “hangin’ with friends” (without doing anything productive) are three examples of the ways boys are pulled away from reading. These facts present several problems in today’s educational system. For one thing, increased class sizes and more stressed-out, inexperienced teachers in the classroom mean that it is going to be harder to give those boys, who fall behind, the special attention they need to catch up. And, when boys (or any child, for that matter) fall behind, it begins to have a negative effect on their self-esteem.
Once the self-esteem begins to suffer, it becomes very difficult to learn anything. Now, you have boys who associate very negative feelings with school and, consequently, reading. So, that puts the male gender, which has been struggling to keep up in the first place, at an even greater disadvantage. By the time these boys get to high school, they are hardly in a good position to complete the four-year program and move on to college or a solid job.
What happens next is the unthinkable: HIGH percentages of boys drop out of school before they finish the four years of High School that are an absolute necessity for survival.
Consider this alarming information reported in The New York Times:
The National Assessment of Educational Progress is considered the yardstick for academic performance because it is the only test taken all across the country. The test of 12th-grade achievement was given to a representative sample of 21,000 high school seniors attending 900 public and private schools from January to March 2005.
It showed that the share of 12th-grade students lacking even basic high school reading skills – meaning they could not, for example, extract data about train fares at different times of day from a brochure – rose to 27% from 20% in 1992.
The share of students proficient in reading dropped to 35% from 40% in 1992. At the same time, the gap between boys and girls grew, with girls’ reading skills more than a year ahead of those of boys’.
--The New York Times, February 22, 2007
So, what does this all mean to us, as a society?
It should be fairly obvious, that as the number increases, of our sons and brothers who are dropping out, the worse off we all are as a whole. Unemployed and under-educated males find themselves in trouble with the law at a much higher rate than those who finish school and move on to steady jobs or careers.
Our prisons are filled with young illiterate males who went out into the world at a disadvantage because of their lack of reading skills. To illustrate this point, let’s turn again to more disheartening statistics:

90% of welfare recipients are high school dropouts.

90% of prison inmates in 2006 were men.

70% of prison inmates cannot read above a 4th-grade level.

In California, the percentage of children who never make it past the 4th-grade reading level is used to help gauge the number of future prisons.

66% of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.

Since 1970, there has been a 700% increase in the U.S. prison population.

The cost for all the new inmates will be $27.5 billion by 2011.
There’s no end in sight, and the problem may turn out to be cyclical. How is a father going to develop a love of reading in his son if he, too, doesn’t have a high comfort level with books, doesn’t read during his own leisure time, or (in the worst-case scenario) is illiterate himself? It’s easy to see how this crisis can, and has, quickly spiraled out of control in our country.
Consider all the money poured into building new jails and locking up drug offenders. Now, imagine what might have happened if that money was put into our schools – working diligently to help our young boys get a foothold on the basic reading skills needed to survive and excel.
Is there a solution? Absolutely! We must invest a considerable amount of additional time and energy into making our boys more literate. Families simply cannot allow them to fall behind in school. And, the easiest way to do this is to build a life-long love of reading at the individual family level.
First and foremost, fathers and sons need to spend more time focusing on reading-centered activities. A father-son bond formed over any activity is a powerful one. Imagine that bond put to use for something as crucial as literacy!
Dads need to be reading role models, who not only read to their kids as much as they can, but put themselves out there as readers, as well. When a child sees his father reading around the house (instead of watching a game on TV, or working on the computer, etc.), that visualization is going to have a profoundly positive effect on the child’s own behavior.
After committing more time to reading to the boys, it is important to choose the appropriate content. Parents need to select titles that will really engage young boys. Storytelling that utilizes compelling photos and images, tales of heroes, action, history, dinosaurs or space – these elements have all been proven to engage boys at a much deeper, stronger level.
Finally, we need to play a more active role at school. Getting involved with the library and reading to your son’s class (when it is age-appropriate) are two powerful ways to show your child that you have a stake in his education and that reading matters!
As parents, during this challenging time, we must come to grips with this crisis of literacy that is facing boys in this country. Schools will be able to help our children, but not until we make strides at home! Start early. Read often. Break the cycle of literacy problems and open up a world of possibilities for your child.
(used with permission)