Monday, June 29, 2009

Tutoring / Mentoring

I’m noticing the subjects of tutoring and/or mentoring coming up more frequently in recent weeks. This might be a little like buying a blue car and you start seeing blue cars everywhere. In other words, I might notice this because my books are being used increasingly in these settings.

I know of organizations that are beginning to look at the potential for helping struggling readers with tutoring clubs or mentoring. I’m in contact with a national ministry that reaches over a million kids each year. They’re exploring the possibilities of using my books to tutor kids because they’ve noticed a need.

Prison ministries are also taking a look at my books since most prisoners have reading issues.

My publisher has extensive workbooks available (as shown above) for each of my 7 books, along with reading activity packs. There is great interest in these tools since my action-adventure & mystery books for boys already demonstrate that they keep readers interested with their fast pace, humor, and cliffhanger chapter endings.

What’s your experience with using books for mentoring or tutoring? I’d be very interested to know what you’re doing or what you've observed.

Max Elliot Anderson

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Have You Heard of Horrid Henry?

As authors of books for children, we set out to create books our young readers will enjoy. We hope our books will be “keepers” to be read again and again. Recently I received another email telling me that my action-adventures and mysteries have had this effect on an eleven year-old boy.

In our family, it was the “Mr. Men and Little Miss” books that our children wanted my wife and me to read over and over again, and we did. Even though our children are 30 and 28 now, I highly recommend these books to parents today.

Now I have the opportunity to introduce you to another set of books that I think will be “keepers.” I’m talking about the “Horrid Henry” books by Francesca Simon. I would first suggest these as books for boys 5 – 8. Each book contains four short chapters. Girls will enjoy the books just as much as boys.

The series has been successful in England, and is now being published in the US. In addition to “Horrid Henry,” the titles include “Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy,” “Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine,” and “Horrid Henry’s Stink Bomb.”

Parents might be concerned that Henry will give kids ideas of ways to get into trouble, but there are always consequences for the things that Henry does. Other characters, in addition to Horrid Henry, include his brother, Perfect Peter, Moody Margaret, Spotless Sam, Goody-Goody Gordon, Tidy Ted, and Soar Susan.

The Horrid Henry books deal with real life situations. Young readers may recognize their own parents, teachers, siblings, friends…even themselves, in the characters. But it’s the humor that will have kids coming back for more.

My first concern, as an author, is for struggling or reluctant readers, since I grew up hating to read. Horrid Henry may be just the cure for children who think they aren’t interested in reading.

Published by Sourcebooks’ Jabberwocky

Max Elliot Anderson
Books for Boys


Sunday, June 14, 2009

50 Pages Of Books For Boys Reviews

It can be difficult to decide on what books to buy for the boys or girls in your family and circle of friends.

Since I grew up hating to read, I made it my mission to write action-adventures & mysteries that I would have liked as a child.

But how do you decide where to spend your dollars, on material for your kids to read, in these difficult times? It’s a challenge.

So I’m posting the link to a blog that has more than 50 pages of reviews for my books. I hope they help you in making your decision on good summer reading material for the young readers in your life.

My first aim is to write books for boys, however, girls like them too. And kids tell me that reading one of my books is like being in an exciting movie.

The reviews can be found at

My books can be purchased on Amazon. They can also be ordered from any Barnes & Noble, or other stores, since they are distributed by Baker & Taylor.

Signed copies can be ordered directly from me. You can email for details at


Max Elliot Anderson

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Terror At Wolf Lake going into second printing

Terror At Wolf Lake is going into a second printing.

At a recent meeting with my publisher, I learned that my book, Terror at Wolf Lake, will soon be scheduled for a second printing. That will be followed by a second printing of Newspaper Caper.

Once these books are available again, I’ll post information on this blog.

There are longer-range plans to release Reckless Runaway and Third House on the Left.
Even longer range plans call for the publishing of three more new books for boys titles in the future.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Coaching Students & Books For Boys

PARADE Magazine had an interesting article over the weekend, “Coaching Students To Stay In School.”

The article makes a point of the importance of mentoring students to stay in school and graduate. This fits in very well with the efforts my publisher is making in the areas of mentoring students, and mentoring prisoners.

The author of this article is Peg Tyre. Peg is also the author of an excellent book, “The Trouble With Boys." You can find it on Amazon at:

Friday, June 05, 2009

Mentoring with Books for Boys...and Girls

There is another application for the use of my action-adventures & mysteries, written especially for boys.
“It’s the most effective thing we have done in 11 years of ministry.” – Youth pastors, Matt and Trish Price.

The curriculum includes a chapter book, and for each chapter there are comprehension and life value discussion questions, vocabulary development, and three fun activity pages and puzzles. The chapter books are fast paced, action packed, and values promoting. It’s not a class with assignments. It’s mentoring.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Marvin G. Baker
Tweener Ministries
P.O. Box 1284
Warsaw, IN 46581-1284

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Prison Literacy & Books for Boys

Since I began writing books for boys, I’ve read articles indicating that most prison inmates grew up as struggling or reluctant readers, or they can’t read at all. Obviously there are many reasons for their reading troubles, but I was struck with the statistics because I also grew up as a reluctant reader.

Following is from a report about prison literacy by Kenneth W. Mentor, J.D., Ph.D.

“Illiteracy is perhaps the greatest common denominator in correctional facilities. Data collected from the National Adult Literacy Survey (NALS) show that literacy levels among inmates is considerably lower than for the general population. For example, of the 5 levels measured by the NALS, 70% of inmates scored at the lowest two levels of literacy (below 4th grade). Other research suggests that 75% of inmates are illiterate (at the 12th grade level) and 19% are completely illiterate. Forty percent are functionally illiterate. In real world terms, this means that the individual would be unable to write a letter explaining a billing error. In comparison, the national illiteracy rate for adult Americans stands at 4%, with 21% functionally illiterate.

“A related concern is that prisoners have a higher proportion of learning disabilities than the general population. Estimates of learning disability are as high as 75-90% for juvenile offenders. Low literacy levels and high rates of learning disabilities have contributed to high dropout rates. Nationwide, over 70% of all people entering state correctional facilities have not completed high school, with 46% having had some high school education and 16.4% having had no high school education at all. Since there is a strong link between low levels of education and high rates of criminal activity, it is logical to assume that high dropout rates will lead to higher crime rates.”

Fortunately I’m a reluctant reader who didn’t become a prisoner, but I’m very excited about a development by my publisher. They have developed extensive workbook materials that are now being used in prisons. My action-adventures & mysteries teach character, personal responsibility, moral and spiritual principles. And the books are written in such a way that the reader is nearly forced to move on to the next chapter.

If you have a struggling reader, I urge you to get a few of my books and try them out.

If you’re in a position to do it, I hope you’ll share this information with people who work in prison ministry.

There are also opportunities to use my books, and the workbooks, through a mentoring program which is also available.

Remember, readers are the leaders others follow.

Max Elliot Anderson