By Teachers, For Teachers
Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a reluctant reader. After his own experience and 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, Anderson brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot.
Anderson has published eight books so far with many more on the horizon. He shares how his distaste for reading as a boy led him to writing childrens books in this TeachHUB exclusive.
Why I Write Books for Boys
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 led me to begin writing action-adventure and mystery 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.
Marketing executives will tell you to find a need and fill it. My decision was to craft books that would especially excite the interest of boys.
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.
What Turns Boys (and Reluctant Readers) Off to Books
During my study, I discovered books with large blocks of copy, making it easy for a reluctant reader to lose his place on the page. Books tended to be produced on a brown shade of paper with small type. A reluctant boy reader is not going to be interested in endless sections of detail and description. He wants something happening on every page, fast action, and humor. Many of the books were written with girls as the primary audience. The books for boys tended to include dragons, wizards, or the dark side.
How My Books Are Different
As a result this research, my books are larger than most, the paper is bright white, and the type is larger. Sentences and paragraphs are short. The books contain a lot of dialog and humor, along with heart-pounding action and adventure. Most chapters end in a cliffhanger, nearly forcing the reader to start the next chapter.
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.
My first eight books are
These 8 titles will be republished this fall by Comfort Publishing. But this is not a “series” in the traditional sense. Each book takes place in a different part of the country with different characters, settings, and plots. Readers and reviewers have likened my books to The Hardy Boys, modern day Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Star Wars, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.
A brand new series will begin this July or August. It’s the Sam Cooper Adventure Series. Book #1 is Lost Island Smugglers. This will be followed by Captain Jack’s Treasure, and River Rampage before the end of the year. Eight of my books have been ranked by Accelerated Reader.
Remember, readers are the leaders; others follow.
How has your experience as a reader shaped your adult life and your career? Share in the comments section!