Thursday, January 29, 2009

School Visit

I had the enjoyable opportunity, earlier today, to speak to around 150 students at Calvary Christian School in Naperville, Illinois. We started out in a general session with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades together. That’s where I gave the bulk of my program called Imagine.

The program includes music, sound effects, and information about how a book gets published. I also discussed the process of how and why I write books for tweens.

Next we moved into individual classroom settings where I read two chapters from an unpublished manuscript. Students then had the option of writing what they thought happens next, or how they thought the story would go, or how they thought the story would end. Those who wanted to, read their paragraphs out loud. It’s always interesting to hear the wealth of ideas.

The principal, Mr. Emery Risdall set up a book table for parents and students who were interested in purchasing copies of my books. Everyone had a good time, including me.

I'm available for a limited number of school and library visits each year.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Hate Reading

Here's a story I think you'll enjoy.

Growing up as a reluctant reader, I feel like I could have written the book myself back then.

Arthur and Henry are two actual kids. They created this book, I Hate Reading, one day when they didn’t want to do their 20-minutes-a-day reading requirement.

Enjoy the article.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Funny Signs

I like to collect humorous signs.

No…I don’t climb up on a pole, with a screwdriver and a wrench, and actually take them down, like a few college students I know, but I like to remember them. When I have a camera along, I make a point to keep them that way.

On a filming assignment in Virginia a few years ago, I found this one at a small airfield. We were about to go up to do some aerial video shooting.

Look at it for a moment. Now, does this mean that it’s okay to trespass…DURING business hours? That struck me funny.

What are some of the funniest signs you’ve seen?

Max Elliot Anderson
Action-Adventure & Mystery Author for Tweens

Friday, January 23, 2009


Here's a link to a Publishers Weekly article about a ten year-old reluctant reader boy. What’s interesting is that his father is author James Patterson.

I, too, grew up as a reluctant reader, and my father published over 70 books. That’s why I began writing action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys who may also struggle with reading today.

You’ll find the article interesting.

Max Elliot Anderson

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Boys Project

Shortly after I began writing books for boys, I came across an organization while searching the Internet. It’s called
The Boys Project.

From their web site

The Boys Project

The mission of The Boys Project is to help young males develop their capabilities and reach the potential that their families and teachers know they have. The Boys Project seeks to accomplish for young men what the Girls Project so successfully accomplished for young women - to increase academic skills, to increase college success, and to develop the confidence, drive, and determination to contribute to American society.

The "Boy Crisis"

Since the late 1970's, young women have soared in college attendance while young men have stagnated. Young men's literacy is declining. Many young men are disengaging from school. Young men are less likely to be valedictorians, to be on the honor roll, and to be active in organizations like student government. Young men are more likely to get D's and F's, to be suspended or expelled from school, to drop out of school, and to commit suicide.
We are losing young boys to a sense of failure that comes from schooling poorly adapted to their needs. We are losing adolescent males to the depression that comes from feeling neither needed nor respected. We are losing young men to life tracks that include neither college nor any other energetic endeavor.

The Boys Project seeks to:

1. Showcase colleges, schools, teachers, and organizations that have succeeded in engaging young men, increasing their academic success, and developing drive and ambition.

2. Educate families, educators and the public about the challenges our young boys are facing.

3. Develop federal, state, and foundation initiatives that support relevant research and necessary legislative change.

I would encourage you to spend time exploring The Boys Project web site if you’re concerned about the education or the reading skills of the boys in your life. Read more about The Boys Project at

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ordering Books For Boys

Some have asked about ordering my books. Here is what you need to know. You can find all the book covers at the end of this post.

LAY UPS AND LONG SHOTS is available through most bookstores and on Amazon, , and other online sites. I can’t sell individual copies of this title. It is also a Junior Library Guild selection, and I understand it may be going into its second printing soon.

NEWSPAPER CAPER is out of print, but I do have copies from the publisher available.
TERROR AT WOLF LAKE is out of print and I have no copies.

All other titles can be ordered on Amazon, or directly from me. If you order from me, books are $10.00 each and shipping is a flat fee of $5.00 until March 1, 2009.

If ordering from me, be sure to tell me who to sign the books to, and send your check to:

Max Elliot Anderson
P O Box 4126
Rockford, IL 61110

You can find over 50 pages of reviews at

All books are ranked by Accelerated Reader. Kids like this because of the points they can earn.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Extreme cold experiments for your kids today

All the schools in our area are closed today, due to the cold. But that doesn't mean that children can't learn something from it. So, if your kids are home from school, get them off the couch, away from the TV or computer and video games, and let them try a couple of extreme cold experiments if you also live where it's very cold this morning. Homeschoolers, this can be your science lesson for the day : ))

Here are some experiments your children can try.

1. In this photo, I've just thrown hot water into the sub-zero air in Rockford, IL. It instantly turns to snow and vapor. Boys might want to put lukewarm temperature water into their mouths and spray it into the air.

2. If you have any leftover bubbles from last summer, blow them into the air and see what happens.

3. Take a glass or cup of hot water, and one of cold. See which one forms ice first.

Please add yours here if you have others, and pass this link on to your friends .

Have fun.

Max Elliot Anderson
Author of action-adventures & mysteries especially for tweens.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Winter – I wonder About My Sanity – Wonderland

For those who live in warmer climates, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of winter in Illinois this season. When I woke up this morning it was -15 and the forecast for tomorrow is for -25. I understand that conditions are even worse in Minnesota.

Every few minutes I can hear a loud crack up on the roof, much like the sound of cracking ice on a great, frozen lake.

I’ve shoveled more “global warming” this winter than in the first two years we lived here, having moved to Rockford a little over 30 years ago, into a couple of the worst winters in years.

Our daughter is the smart one. She went to school at Auburn University, in Alabama, and accepted a teaching job in the Orlando area, although the temps down there are expected to be in the 30’s.

Our cat, Aubey, named after the mascot at Auburn, asked to go out this morning. Once she hit that Arctic air, she spun right around and darted back inside, choosing to use the litter in the basement instead.

But it’s our son and his wife I feel for the most this morning. They just returned to their home in Chicago, from a two-week missions trip to India, where the average temp each day was in the 80’s.

My son and I are hoping for a break in mid-February when we make our annual trip to the Daytona 500. With a year like this, I may not come back : ))

I hope you’ll post a comment about conditions at your house today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mentoring Boys with Books For Boys

I’d like to direct your attention to an organization that is mentoring boys. It’s called Boys Smarts. They have a newsletter, and other resources to help you. The following is taken from their web site:

“Educators and parents hoping to inspire boys to excel at school now have a new tool at their disposal; Boy Smarts - Mentoring Boys for Success at School. In this book, you will find 100 imaginative and practical guidelines for authentic engagement in meeting boys' varied learning needs. The guidance offered here can help parents and teachers in the challenging task of understanding each boy as an individual while also working toward a community plan to raise boys' school achievement. The common sense approach offers to lay the groundwork for an action plan to mentor boys for school success - a manual for kick-starting boys integrity.”

Their web site is located at

My publisher is also having success with mentoring boys through the use of some of my action-adventures & mysteries. One of the books they use is Legend of the White Wolf. There are other related materials to help you, and you can reach the publisher at to find out more. Put “mentoring” in the subject line.

Max Elliot Anderson
Author of Books for Boys.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson

Because I’m an author of action-adventure and mystery books for boys, James Patterson’s publisher asked if I’d be interested in reviewing his new book, The Dangerous Days of Daniel X.

I’ve been a fan of some of Patterson’s work, but that was mostly because of the films that were made from his books. Remember, I’m still a bit of a reluctant reader. I also support his efforts to get kids reading through his new web site,

I could talk about the fact that Daniel is an alien, and his parents were aliens too. After they are killed, Daniel takes up where they left off, with a list that his parents left behind.
But you’ll have no trouble finding reviews of this new book from other sources. Amazon alone has nearly 100 of them. I’d rather tell you about the book from the perspective of the reluctant boy reader.

My primary impression is that this would have been exactly the kind of book I wish I could have found as a boy. It has short chapters. Some are less than two pages, and the sentences tend to be short with a lot of dialog.

The book would be good for young readers as a gateway to reading. It‘s geared, in my opinion, to the same age of reader that I target; boys 8 and up.

If you have a tween boy in your family, or circle of family or friends, who likes science fiction stories about aliens, and heroes with super powers, you might try The Dangerous Days of Daniel X.

Max Elliot Anderson

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How Can We Make Boys Love Reading?

Here is a link to a very interesting survey, How Can We Make Boys Love Reading? Some Answers from Literate Men. I think you'll find the information helpful and informative.

The web site states, "We recently surveyed several of our male authors and illustrators on their reading experiences and what they do to get boys to read, and will be posting their responses at the beginning of January. You can see it at ."

Max Elliot Anderson