Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MiddleGrade March Madness (Book) "At The Buzzer"

It's that time of year again. A time when every middle grade boy, who ever dribbled a basketball, dreams of one day finding himself out on the basketball court, with the clock winding down, the ball in is hands, and then...

At The Buzzer

At the Buzzer

Author: Max Elliot Anderson
Audience: Middle Grade

Sam Cooper had rehearsed a thousand times, in the back yard, how he would win the big game, with a three point shot, and be a hero. Still, he wondered what would happen in a real game. Sam’s friends all played on the basketball team at school.
Sam was concerned about his best friend, Perry, for a couple of reasons, and he was going to do his best to help his friend.
On the way home from a survival church camp weekend, the boys’ van is nearly involved in a fatal accident with an eighteen-wheeler on a rain slick road. The boys have to confront life and death for the first time in their lives.
Later, while they practiced basketball at Sam’s house, Perry fell, resulting in a severe injury. Instantly his plans to use basketball as the ticket to his future were changed. Perry was the big man in the middle. Without him, the team had to change the way they played.
Would they be able to win the championship?
Would Chris take the final shot like he’d practiced his whole life?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Lost Lost Island Smugglers - Middle Grade Adventure!

Lost Lost Island Smugglers


Lost Island Smugglers

Author: Max Elliot Anderson
Audience: 8 – 12; especially boys
Words: 33000

Sam Cooper had only recently moved to Florida when he met Tony at his new church. Tony’s father owned a marina. 
Sam, Tony, and Tyler took scuba lessons together. Tony got them in for free. After they completed the course, the boys decided to try out their new skills in the real world…the ocean. The only problem was, none of them had permission.
While Tony’s father was away on a buying trip, the boys took one of the rental sailboats out for their diving adventure. Everything went well until the biggest storm Tony had ever seen, blew up from out of nowhere. Their boat was smashed to splinters and the boys found themselves stranded on Lost Island.
But, if they thought the worst had happened, they were wrong. The boys discovered a secret hideout that was used by drug runners in high powered speedboats. 

Sam and his friends had to find a way to stop them, but how? And, even if they could, what were they going to tell their parents when they got home?


by Marilyn Rockett
Homeschooling Today Magazine

Boys love adventure, excitement, and challenge, but often they don’t like to read. Max Elliot Anderson, author of Lost Island Smugglers (Port Yonder Press, 2010), understands because he grew up hating to read. Now he writes adventure stories for boys aged eight to twelve (but girls love them too). What mother doesn’t want to find a book with good values wrapped around an adventure story her sons will enjoy? 

Fans of Anderson’s seven previous stories will notice that this new Sam Cooper Adventure Series departs from Anderson’s prior writing. His earlier books have had different characters and settings, but Lost Island Smugglers is the first in the new series featuring the same central characters. 

A Life-and-Death Adventure

Sam Cooper, the new boy in town again, hates to move. His father’s job as a research biologist takes the family to many interesting places, but it is always hard for Sam to find new friends before it is time to pack up and leave. He wants this move to Florida to be different, but when Sam meets Tony and Tyler at his new church, he doesn’t foresee how different it will be!

Learning to scuba dive with his new friends begins as a fun adventure for Sam but turns into a scary, life-threatening experience because of the boys’ disobedience. A hurricane, a deserted island, and a secret hideout for some frightening characters with high-powered speedboats make the boys wonder whether they will live to see their parents again. They learn a lesson in truth and that it isn’t wise to try to get away with something thinking no one will find out about it. 

Some have said that Sam Cooper Adventures are like good family movies, and Anderson brings his award-winning film and video production experience to the written page in stories that will encourage boys to read. Additional titles in the Sam Cooper series, coming soon, include Captain Jack’s Treasure and River Rampage. To learn more about Max Anderson and his writing, visit http://www.maxbooks.9k.com. For interesting and fun information about raising boys and reading, visit Anderson’s blog: http://booksandboys.blogspot.com/.

Marilyn Rockett is a graduated homeschool mother of four sons, grandmother to five home-taught boys, and great-grandmother to one boy. She has read to boys for countless hours and survived their adventures. 

Originally published in Homeschooling Today® magazine  Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Lost Island Smugglers was an extremely enjoyable book. I felt that each character was well-developed and I could feel what they were feeling. I enjoyed the struggle against the storm, how they gradually got weaker as the storm progressed. I really like how Sam took charge and was able to help them survive. The book, in all, was very exciting and it really kept me at the edge of my seat. ~ Brittany C. Age 13


Reviewed by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

"Sam wondered what kind of bad thing Tony was thinking about doing. He didn't want to be part of anything he could get into some serious trouble for."

Sam's family is moving--again. This time his dad's job is taking them to Florida. At first he's worried about making new friends, but he ends up meeting two kids right away--Tony and Tyler from church. Tony's dad owns a marina and treats the three boys to scuba diving lessons. Once they've passed their final exam, Tony wants to brave the real ocean without adult supervision. Tyler's in. Will Sam risk everything to join in the fun? What follows is an extraordinary event none of them could have fathomed. 

Lost Island Smugglers was the perfect book for my third grader, whose least favorite subject is reading. Max Elliot Anderson writes in everyday, conversational language, providing a simple yet enjoyable adventure story for children between the ages of 8 and 11. Even though there are 255 pages, the print is large. My son liked being able to read without the hassle of defining a long list of vocabulary words, answering comprehension questions, and discussing literary terms--things he says "take the fun out of reading." 

My son really enjoyed this novel and even finished early. Because I used this book as part of his homeschool reading lesson, I did give an assignment--a book report. Writing a report was a great way for him to practice summarizing, ordering events, and writing complete sentences. Parents or teachers could also include moral discussions about divorce, lying, friendship, trustworthiness, and obedience. 

At the end of the book, there is a picture and a short lesson on the catamaran, the same type of boat Sam, Tony, and Tyler sailed. Children can also read about how to make a shelter in the wilderness, but I think our family will play it safe and go with making the recipe for the delicious Chocolate Dessert! 

You can provide your middle-grade reader with an easy-to-read adventure for just $8.95! I think this book is great for boys, especially boys who might not be overly excited when it comes to reading. I am already planning to buy the next book in the Sam Cooper Adventure Series for my son during summer vacation. 


Sam Cooper’s dad is moving again—this time down to Florida. Sam’s dad, a scientist, has to study the thousand islands to see if being habituated is destroying the ecosystem. Sam isn’t real thrilled about moving until he meets Tony and Tyler. Tony’s dad is really rich and he owns a marina and pays for all three boys to have scuba diving lessons. Plus he takes them out on a submarine. 

After Sam gets his scuba diving license, Tony and Tyler want to go scuba diving in the ocean but Sam’s dad says no since no adults will be there. Sam sneaks out and goes with his friends. But then a storm blows up…and their boat breaks apart. Will the boys even survive? And if they do, how will their parents find them?

LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS is book one in Mr. Anderson’s A Sam Cooper Adventure series. I was introduced to Mr. Anderson’s books back when my boys were reluctant readers and I completely credit him for teaching them that books can be fun. My son Michael still has every book Mr. Anderson ever wrote in his collection. 

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know eleven year old Sam. He is a fun character, and he wants to obey his parents, but he also longs for the freedom his new friends have. 

If you have boys, especially boys that don’t like to read, then you won’t want to miss LOST ISLAND SMUGGLERS. It will be sure to be a favorite for your sons (and daughters). The action in this book is nonstop, drawing the reader in and keeping his attention all through the story. A yummy sounding dessert and directions for building a shelter are included at the end of the book. $12.95. 270 pages. 


Lost Island Smugglers is the first of the Sam Cooper Adventure series written by Max Elliot Anderson. Sam Cooper is an eleven-year-old who has never lived in one place for more than a year due to his father's work. In his latest home, he makes new friends who invite him to go scuba diving. But while out at sea they are swept away by a storm and are stranded on an island. From there it's a tale of survival. 

This story carefully builds to the point where Sam and his friends are stranded. First, Sam meets and forms a bond with Tyler and Tony, and later he is with them as they learn to scuba dive. Sam, Tyler, and Tony seem to get along, but Sam is mistrustful of Tony, whereas Tyler follows Tony like a shadow. 

When Tony invites Sam to go scuba diving on his dad's boat without taking along any adults, Sam is split between taking part in an adventure under the ocean and violating the hard earned trust of his parents. Sam asks for permission from his parents and they quickly say no. He then disobeys them and joins Tony and Tyler as they go out, knowing that he'll be in trouble. 

Much of the story focuses on the interaction among the three boys. Sam is the new guy in town and he wants to make friends. Tony is the biggest of the bunch and is also the richest and bossiest. Tyler is a tag-a-long to Tony, following everything he does without question. All three are unique and important to the story, although Tyler mostly just whines. 

This book is cleverly written and is clearly designed for younger readers. The story of Sam, Tyler, and Tony reminds me of the story of the prodigal son who was lost and returned to his father's home. It might not appeal to everyone, but for 8- to 12-year-old boys this story will be very entertaining. – Jared Hammond, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com 

Lost Island Smugglers, by Max Elliot Anderson, is an engaging story about a new kid in town who encounters unexpected adventure and challenges.

In the book, Sam Cooper has just moved to a new town in Florida when he meets Tony and Tyler. Since Tony's father owns a marina, the boys take scuba lessons there and eventually sneak out to scuba in the ocean by themselves.

Throughout the narrative, Sam struggles to find the balance between doing what he knows is right and fitting in with his new friends who tease him for always asking for permission from his parents before he does something potentially dangerous. The author portrays this struggle in a realistic way without edging into didacticism.

Through a raging storm, being marooned on an island, and encountering a group of dangerous drug dealers, Sam realizes leadership skills he didn't know he had and learns about the consequences of acting against what he knows to be the right thing to do. Because of Sam's personal growth throughout the story, the book is in many ways a coming of age tale. 

Lost Island Smugglers is intended for kids 8-13 and especially boys, although any child who enjoy stories about adventure would enjoy it. Personally, I loved the parts where the boys build a shelter, make a fire with a magnifying glass and search for food on the island. In many ways, it reminds me of a modern-day Swiss Family Robinson story.

The print is good-sized, and the story moves quickly enough that I surprised myself by finishing it in only one day. I just kept turning page after page after page...

I'd recommend Lost Island Smugglers to anyone wanting to encourage their reluctant readers, whether boys or girls, to read. Get your copy and dive into the adventure today!

Deborah Gray

Child1st Publications


Lost Island Smugglers by Max Elliot Anderson
Reviewed by Wendy Hilton 

This book seems like it would be appropriate for middle to upper elementary school ages. The truth is though, that I love to read children's books even as an adult, so it could be enjoyed by older kids, teens, or adults as well. Sometimes it is difficult to find good books for my son to read, so I'm happy to say that this book would definitely appeal to boys as well as girls. Anyone who likes a story full of adventure and excitement would find it enjoyable. 

As a mom, I liked the author’s emphasis on friendship and family. I thought the author did readers a good service by showing that kids with good family lives should be thankful for it rather than embarrassed by it. I also felt that the author included mention of the main character’s faith in God in a way that was real and didn’t seem imposed into the story in an out-of-place fashion. 

I admit that as an adult I probably didn’t find the story as exciting or adventurous as a younger person is likely to, but it is still a good book with a real plot and with some thought-provoking ideas. I asked my nephew, a sixth grader, to read it and he enjoyed it very much. When asked if he would be interested in reading more books in this series and/or by this author, he answered that he would definitely like to. He is an avid reader, like myself, and his endorsement, in my mind, is enough to suggest that most readers his age would enjoy this book. 

There were some qualities in the supporting characters which I didn’t particularly like, but in thinking this over, I realized that there are less-than-admirable qualities in those we will meet all of our lives. We can’t pretend those things don’t exist, but we can learn from them. As much as we might like to hide out and escape negative influences, this can’t always happen, so I accepted the characters and discussed those qualities with my nephew. I found that he had more feelings on the topic than I anticipated and we both learned something from the conversation. 

There are many books that I feel a child should read, many more that I feel a child should never read, and there are books like this one, which I feel are perfectly acceptable entertainment. I enjoyed this book and can definitely recommend it to other families as a fun book! 

This book is the first in The Sam Cooper Adventure Series. The author, Max Elliot Anderson, has a website as well as a Books for Boys Blog that you might like to visit for more information. You might find it interesting to know that Mr. Anderson was a reluctant reader as a child, so his books are written from the perspective of someone who knows from experience that boys (and girls too) need appealing books to read so that they can develop a love of reading. My nephew, who read this book as well, and my son are both "readers," but I know that that is not the case for many boys. If you have a reluctant reader in your family, you just might want to give this series a try! 


An exciting read that younger readers will relish. 

Midwest Book Review - 5 Stars *****

Stranded on a desert island, survival first comes to mind, and dealing with those smugglers isn't too far down the list. "Lost Island Smugglers" is an exciting juvenile novel following Sam Cooper and his friends as a boat trip goes awry and they find themselves on a seemingly deserted island. But the previous occupants aren't friendly, as they aren't fond of their operation being found. "Lost Island Smugglers" is an exciting read that younger readers will relish.


5 out of 5 stars Peyton's Review 

By Diane M. Graham "DMGRAHAM" - See all my reviews

This review is from: Lost Island Smugglers (Paperback) 
This is the best book I've ever read in my life. My favorite parts are: 

#1 The high speed chase when Sam, Tyler and Tony are chased by the men in large black coats. 

#2 The deadly storm when the boat rips in two. 

#3 When Sam, Tyler and Tony wash up on Lost Island. 

#4 When Sam, Tyler and Tony take a ride in the submarine. 

The pictures are awesome and give me a good view of the things in Lost Island Smugglers. I will tell all my friends about it. 



Reviewed by Jo Ann Hakola

Sam is making friends in the new city his family has moved to, and he even gets to learn how to scuba dive. But when he sneaks off with them on a rental sailboat, he never expected to get caught in a storm...

This is a Sam Cooper Adventure 1. Max Elliot Anderson sent me a copy for a review. I've reviewed Mr. Anderson's work before and I admire it. He was a reluctant reader as a child, and his goal is to write books that boys will enjoy reading. They need action, excitement, some danger and a good text flow. He manages all of that in his books.

There are different family lives for the three boys, and Sam is very happy he has both his parents and they live in the same household and love each other and him. But playing on a boat just is too much temptation for him and he's afraid they'll say no, so he goes without permission.

As soon as he gets on board, he begins to regret going without advising his parents, but it's too late. And it could be even later than he thinks when a big storm hits them and they find themselves in the sea...

Young men will enjoy the descriptions of the adventures of Sam and there is a moral message in the story also. I think this is the best book Mr. Anderson has written so far, and I know he has more planned. Check out your local bookstores for a copy and watch for the next Sam Copper adventure. 

Reviewed by Julie - Knitting and Sundries

This is our second Max Elliot Anderson title; the first was Barney and the Runaway (click the title to see the review).

I say "our" because Mr. Anderson writes books for boys, specifically books that like adventure books. and this was a read-together for Bebe Boy James and I.

Sam Cooper is 11 years old. His dad is a research biologist, which means that they move a lot. In the beginning of the book, they see a news article about a drug raid only three blocks from their house, which makes Sam think that maybe their NEW move to Harper's Inlet (a town north of Miami) is going to be a GOOD idea.

On the drive to their new home, Sam overhears a conversation at a rest stop which puzzles him, a snippet about "running boats with shark's teeth and blood". He is put off by the appearance of the man holding the conversation, and "almost" tells his parents about it, but decides not to.

Once they're settled in, Sam meets some new boys in Sunday school: Tyler and Tony. Tony's dad owns the marina, where he rents boats and runs a scuba diving school. When Tony's dad offers free lessons to Tony and two of his friends, Sam persuades his parents to let him attend.

As Sam's friendship with these two develops, he realizes that he has some misgivings about Tony. Tony is rather brash and arrogant, and likes to take chances, which gives Sam the feeling that he can't trust him. This feeling only intensifies when Tony tries to talk the other two into a solo scuba diving trip, which Sam knows his parents would not allow. Despite his misgivings, he allows himself to be talked into it, and he heads off into what will be a dangerous adventure.

The theme of drug running flows through this book, as does the theme of family. Sam's family is very supportive, doing simple things such as taking their meals together (his friends tell him he's lucky). Sam's struggles with some of his decisions, going against his first inclination just to fit in, and we see how peer pressure can easily be succumbed to, and also how doing what you know is right is better than going along.

Parents: This is a wholesome book that boys will relate to and enjoy. The lessons that are included as part of this adventure are fully integrated into the story, unlike many books where we see a "preachy" sort of lesson which just pops up out of nowhere. Bebe Boy James and I discuss chapters as we go along, and some of his remarks were: "I'D want to get rid of all of the drug dealers, too!" and "If you know it's wrong, you shouldn't let someone else talk you into it". 

We enjoyed it, and James was so caught up once the boys got in their fix that we ended up reading past our planned reading time just so he could find out what happened.

Additional comments about Lost Island Smugglers

--"We did Lost Island Smugglers as a bed-time read aloud, and everyone thought that it was great. It is certainly an exciting, action-packed adventure story that both boys and girls will enjoy."

--"I would say that this is probably going to be my favorite of his books. That is until the next one comes out and I read it."

--"Lost Island Smugglers is a quality book full of family values that will keep your preteen boy entertained."

--"This book moves at a fast pace. There are no slow parts where your child will lose interest. It’s full of “Oh, no”s and “Now what are they going to do”s. My children enjoyed it thoroughly."

--"Because my son is such a reluctant reader, I knew he would not read anything I handed him, so we read this aloud. My daughter enjoyed the story just as much as my son did. I believe my son may actually read (on his own) the next book in the Sam Cooper Adventure."

On Amazon

Book Trailer

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Sense of Humor added to the resource list of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor

BOOK NEWS - The Sense of Humor, Let Humor Fast Track You to Healthier, Happier Living, has been added to the resource list of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor
Book Trailer Video

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

An Open Letter to: Christian Schools, Teachers, Principals, Administrators, and Librarians Re: Christian Middle Grade Adventure & Mystery Books

An Open Letter to: 
Christian Schools, Teachers, Principals, Administrators, and Librarians
Re: Christian Middle Grade Adventure & Mystery Books

Dear Christian Friends,

Most of my early life was involved in the production of Christian films at Ken Anderson Films and later at Quadrus Communications. In Late 2001, I decided to apply much of what I had learned from the production of dramatic films for kids into adventure and mystery books for middle grade readers.

Before any publishers, agents, or contracts, I began writing. As a result, I finished thirty-five manuscripts for this age group. Since then, several have been published and more are contracted. Each is written from a Christian perspective incorporating character building concepts including personal accountability & responsibility plus others.

The reason I’m writing to you today is because I’m looking for better ways to make my books known to the very children you serve.

Two new series were recently published - The Sam Cooper Adventure Series and The Accidental Adventure Series. Here’s what two other Christian authors have said about my books.

"Max Elliot Anderson brings a lifetime of dramatic film and video production to the pages of his action adventures and mysteries."            Jerry B. Jenkins, Author

"Sam Cooper Adventures are like good, family movies . . . as an ordinary kid finds himself in exciting and extra-ordinary adventures!"                             Bill Myers - Author 

I’m looking for reviewers and influencers who can reach the maximum number of people who are working with students ages 8 - 13. Also anyone who can assist in (AR) listings for these books. If this interests you, please contact me at mander8813@aol.com and let me know how you can help.

My Amazon author page is located here:
My blog: 
Over 60 pages of reviews:

Thank you for your consideration,
Max Elliot Anderson - Author

Monday, February 06, 2017

Honoring President Reagan's 106th Birthday

As we mark President Ronald Reagan's 106th birthday on February 6, I'm transported back to a day during the fall of 1990. At that time I had the unique opportunity to spend much of a day with him as he visited his boyhood home in Dixon, Illinois. This turned out to be the last time he would travel there.

The original video is now housed at the Reagan Presidential Library in California. The following pictures were shot off of my TV screen from a video copy of the original material so the quality is diminished.

Along with the rest of the video crew, we were given Secret Service clearance for the day and we shadowed him where ever he went.

We began at the river where, as a lifeguard, he saved many lives. There he skipped stones on the river and talked about his experiences.
We walked up to the thirdfloor gym where he had played basketball. Mr. Reagan took a few shots from the free-throw line.

We covered him with video cameras as crowds pushed toward him and made the Secret Service people nervous. For most of the day, I was never more than inches or a few feet away from one of the greatest men I believe this country has ever had as its leader.
A group of schoolchildren recited the Pledge of Allegiance as he stood out in front of the house. He went to the garage in the back of the house and then on to the statute of himself.

Mr. Reagan spoke to a full house that had gathered in the high school gym. There he was presented with a letter jacket. He proceeded to the football field and threw passes to some of the team.

The most unique experience came when we traveled to the actual house. There we set up for the only video interview he gave that day while all the major news media assembled outside, and news helicopters hovered in the air. I was able to ask him a number of personal questions about growing up in that house.

Several weeks after the interview, President Reagan was kind enough to send me a personal letter of thanks.