Monday, December 23, 2019

I grew up hating to how did I become an author for middle grade readers?

I grew up hating to how did I become an author for middle grade readers? Sometimes I ask myself the same question.

Still, it’s true. I didn’t like to read as a child. This was ironic because my father was an author who published 77 books during his life. Many of them were for kids, but I couldn’t have been less interested. Several years ago, I decided to look into why I didn’t enjoy reading. That research resulted in my decision to begin writing the kinds of books I would have enjoyed as a child. 

A recent issue of Newsweek carried a cover story warning, “The Boy Crisis. At Every Level of Education, They're Falling Behind. What to Do?” Since reluctant reading is primarily a problem for boys, I’ve found my books are filling an important need. 

My professional background has always involved the production of films, television commercials, and video programs. I’m a visual learner. So I began to incorporate some of those visual concepts into my writing. For example, readers won’t find these books to be heavy on descriptions. Boys especially want a story that moves rapidly. I chose to write many of the stories with completely different characters, setting, and plot. My work also includes two series. But as a child, I had a hard time accepting the concept of a group of friends, or cousins, or a brother and sister who would get up, every Saturday morning, go out into the back yard, and save the world…again. For that reason, each story in those series can stand alone.

Letters and emails from readers and their parents indicate that these new books are hitting their mark. Yet, not only are they enjoyed by reluctant boy readers, but avid boy readers, girls, and even adults get swept away in the stories, action, and adventure. 

Here is just a sampling of the comments that I regularly receive about these unique books.   

A mother writes, “I can't believe it the concerned mother of two struggling readers...who is also the daughter of a children's librarian ... I think I have purchased every book recommended for reluctant readers  however, they have all fallen short until today. We were able to purchase our first Max Elliot Anderson book...and we're hooked!!!"

A teacher reported, "This year, we started with one of your books. The students are already finished with it. Our school only planned on using three of your books for the whole year. Now we’ll have to buy more titles.”

Another mother said, "At last we've found something that will interest him in reading."  

A school administrator wrote, “It is a joy to see our students, especially boys, asking for more! I can recommend every book without hesitation. While reading the first one, I had trouble putting it down. Max Elliot Anderson, the author of these books, has a unique ability to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. As a grandparent I am encouraged that the books creatively and appropriately weave Christian character traits and biblical principles through the life of the main character and his friends. Parents, you will find this true of every book.”

It is often said in business, find a need and fill it. We have a need to capture the interest and imagination of the next generation, or risk losing our readers. Today, kids have so many other, more visual distractions with personal electronic devices, television, computers, video games, and DVDs. It takes a different kind of book to hold their interest. These books will hold their interest.

My books are compared by readers and reviewers to a modern day Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo and adventure author Jack London. 

Children write to me after reading one of my books. They have said that reading one of these middle grade mysteries or adventures is like being in an exciting or scary movie…good scary and not dark.


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

"The Great Cave Caper" - middle grade adventure, Is Now Published!

"The Great Cave Caper" - middle grade adventure, Is Now Published!

Four boys had formed a detective club in their little town where nothing much ever happens. That is, until they put their money together and ordered a police scanner for the shack where they held their meetings. The area around where they lived, in New Market, Virginia, was littered with caves. The uncle of one of the club’s members has a cave right on his farm. That’s when the guys hatched the idea of going out to the cave for a little innocent exploring. The cave was on private property, so they knew they’d be safe and no one could bother them. But on the night before their big adventure, the scanner came alive with reports of a big bank heist in a nearby city. The boys thought surely the robbers would be long gone by the time they set up their campsite near the cave. They were wrong. Inside the cave the next morning they found something. Now the robbers were coming in the entrance of the cave and the boys couldn’t get out.


*Anderson’s action packed thrill-a-minute page turner… 

*After learning of a bank robbery, they went on a camping trip and while exploring a cave, discover hidden loot from the robbery. Now they must figure out what the right thing to do is -- and deal with powerful temptations to the contrary. The Great Cave Caper is not only a rollicking good story, it has embedded within it some very good personal values for young readers to absorb.
Midwest Book Review

*Had me sitting on the edge of my seat.

*The author really made this book easy on the eyes because it didn't have many "big" words. Also, the author wrote in such a way that I could picture exactly what was going on, such as when Stewart was looking down into a hole in the cave and dropped his helmet. I could hear the flashlight coming apart from the helmet and breaking into the wall. I like this book because it was easy to read, yet it had me sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen to the kids in the next sentence!

*Kept me glued until the last letter. I really liked the fact that they had a police scanner, just like I hope to someday. I also enjoyed all the cool facts about caves, and the eternal lesson of honesty and teamwork. This book makes a perfect gift! Five stars!

*This book is intended for younger ages, but in my opinion anyone of any age could enjoy this delightful book. And it comes with an extra feature at the end, a list of Hampton, Virginia’s police and fire department codes!

*Most significant in this story is the fact that Randy learns what a true hero is and how that connects with present events as well as major historical events in the not so distant past!!!
Kudos on a finely written tale – again

*The Great Cave Caper is an exciting read guaranteed to keep the interest of even the most reluctant reader. It is full of information about caves. I didn’t find anything I disliked. It held my interest from page one—and my twelve-year-old son is anxious to get his hand on the book and read it for himself. 

*Writer Anderson has fashioned an easily read, action packed, high adventure novel sure to please middle grade readers. Anderson appears to know his audience well, boys in this age group often shy away from books in favor of action and activity. The Great Cave Caper is a book I will take to my classroom, 4th grade, with the expectation that the setting and plot will draw reluctant readers into the storyline. Heroism, life lessons, values and expectations for behavior are presented in a non-preachy manner.  Writer Anderson’s thrill packed page turner is filled with intensity, grit and determination. Anderson keeps the action moving. Quick-paced dialog, interspersed with adroitly wrought action scenes produce a certain winner for the target audience. Anderson’s command of language draws the reader into the work and carries interest from the opening paragraphs as Randy awakens at home in his own bed right down to the last lines as Randy discusses what true heroism is and how he can help honor the heroes, emergency workers, who work to keep us all safe each day. The Great Cave Caper is an excellent choice for the classroom, personal reading list and the school and home library. Enjoyed the read, happy to recommend.

Max Elliot Anderson - author of exciting adventures and mysteries for readers 8 - 13.