Monday, January 14, 2008

Welcome to Max...A Kid Who Grew Up to Write for Kids

(Editor's Note: Would you like to win one of Max's books for boys ?(but girls like these stories, too!)Read to the end to find out how.)



Max Elliot Anderson has been to Max. But who is Max? To really understand his passion for writing stories for boys, we have to go back to his childhood--back to when he hated to read. Yes, the boy who grew up to write adventures for boys, hated reading when he was a boy. He understands what boys want to do and to read, and that's why he is so good at telling stories for boys today.

ken anderson

Max's Dad, Ken Anderson, author, magazine editor, etc.

Since Max's dad was Ken Anderson who wrote many books, I'm sure he thought his own children would be avid readers, but Max wanted to do, not read, like many boys we probably know! (I even have a Max of my own.)

baby max anderson

Max not reading his dad's book

Let's see what Max was like way back in the day:


Childhood Ambition:

To be a forest ranger, or to work with animals in some way - never did either.


Max around the age of 6

Fondest Memory :  Once or twice a summer, our entire family boarded a ship, the Milwaukee    Clipper, for a voyage across Lake Michigan and back. The return trip took place in the dark...very spooky. One night an inebriated woman jumped overboard, but she was rescued. That experience found its way into one of my unpublished manuscripts, DARK WATERS.

film max Max says: My life has been surrounded with the production of films, television commercials, and video programs. I shot part of a film in Germany, for the first time, at age 16. I've been involved in production ever since with a PBS Gospel Music special, hundreds of national television commercials, and countless other films and video programs...

max To read about some of these photos and Max's bio where he worked in film and video, click here.


Proudest Moment:

At the tender age of eight, I was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, while riding my bike. Fortunately for me, this was in one of my Dad's productions. The film was later premiered at the national Youth For Christ convention. After the film was over that night, I was brought onto the platform and introduced. Then several people wanted my autograph. Silly me, I thought I was pretty big stuff.

Biggest Challenge as a Child or Teen:

In a family of seven children, I was the third and final child to contract Polio when I was just three years-old. This was a terrifying time because many in our town of Muskegon, Michigan, had contracted the disease. For some reason, Muskegon had quite an epidemic. Children in our neighborhood died as a result of being sick. The biggest challenge at that age was to survive it and get released from the hospital. Through the prayers of Billy Graham, and the entire audience at the Los Angeles crusade way back then, we were all three miraculously healed and have no lasting effects from this dreaded disease.

My First Job: I was a bellhop at the Westminister Hotel in Winona Lake, Indiana.

Childhood Indulgence: My Dad was the editor of Youth For Christ Magazine. Every month he had to go into Chicago to work on the magazine. He took each of us, on an airplane from Muskegon to Chicago, and I could hardly wait until it was my turn.

chopper max

Max on his real life adventures in film

mx anderson


Favorite Childhood Movie: An old animated short film called the Pincushion Man. I remember lots of balloons getting popped.

Favorite Childhood Book: One of the reasons I now write Christian, action-adventures & mysteries, especially for boys 8 - 12, is because I grew up hating to read. I'm working to help other boys, now, who might be growing up as I did. The funny thing is, my father published over seventy books in his lifetime.

Favorite Childhood Activity: I grew up before television was common in homes. I know, who could really be that old? But, looking back, it was truly a magical time to be alive because we had to invent our own fun. In the summer, we'd hit the back door and not return home until dark. I find that a lot of the inventive spirit and imagination from those days finds its way into the books I write today.

Childhood Hero:The Lone Ranger

Scariest Moment as a Child:When I saw the very first, black and white, Frankenstein movie.

Favorite Teacher or Mentor (or coach) as a Child:My mentor, during childhood, and continuing on into my plunge into writing would have to be my father, Ken Anderson.

Did you really hate reading as a young boy? I really did. I was the kind of kid who would rather learn by doing, not reading about it in a book.

Anything else you can share with readers about your childhood that developed you into the writer you are today? In a way, I feel sorry for kids today who have their TVs, iPods, computers, video games, and other distractions that keep them from exploring their imagination and individual creativity. This is something I speak about often in schools. The program I give is a real eye-opener for students I'm on a mission to create the kinds of books that kids won't be able to put down. So you can imagine how it feels when I get a response like the following.

adult max

Max Elliot Anderson, author, today

Max is truly on a mission to get boys to read. Armed with his degree in psychology, he speaks to literacy groups, at schools and anywhere someone would like to hear how to get kids to read. (Music to a teacher's and parent's ears!)

If you are near Rockford, Illinois or would like to book Max at your school or with your group, see this page and contact him.

"My grandsons (ages 14 and 9) are reading Max's books right now and they love them. They both have said the only thing they don't like about Max's stories, they are hard to put down. Thank you Max for bringing books to boys that in there opinion, are worth reading."

Max is featured at Authors Party 4 Literacy.

Max has seven published books. The six that are in print are NEWSPAPER CAPER, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, which are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London. Twenty-eight additional manuscripts, like these, have been completed.

Author web site:

Blog, Books for Boys:

50 pages of reviews

To Purchase any of Max's books below, click here:


Newspaper Caper
ISBN: 0-9729256-4-3
Tom Stevens was a super salesman. He and his friends delivered newspapers early every morning. Along their route, the boys often saw some pretty strange things. Then one day they actually became the story. Readers will like the humor, attack dogs, car thieves, and the chop shop Tom and the others uncover. This story reminds us of how important friendship is. It also teaches God isn't just for emergencies. He wants to guide our lives every day.


Terror at Wolf Lake
ISBN: 0-9729256-6-X
Eddy Thompson was known for one thing and one thing only. Eddy was a cheater. He cheated on anything, anytime, anywhere, until something happened up at Wolf Lake. It wasn't the brutal cold. It wasn't when he fell through the ice. It wasn't even when two scary men arrived at their remote cabin. What happened would change Eddy's life... forever.

North Woods Poachers
The Washburn families have been coming to the same cabins, on the same lake, catching the same fish, for about as long as Andy can remember. And he's sick of it. This summer would be different he decided. Only he never imagined how different. The story is filled with excitement, danger, humor, and drama. In the end, Andy learns the concepts of family tradition, that God loves justice while He hates injustice, and it is important to follow the rules. Readers will enjoy the gigantic, jet-powered floatplane, computers, home made radio transmitter, and naturally, no one will ever forget Big Wally. He's a fish of course.

Mountain Cabin Mystery
Scott and his friends had dreamed and prepared for their first wilderness camping adventure. When they become separated from their group in a mountain fog, trouble begins. There was that bear, the decrepit suspension bridge over a bottomless gorge, the sheer cliff in the dark, those terrorists in the remote cabin, the Army, the helicopter ride, and…
This story reminds us what happens if one of God's lambs is lost.

Big-Rig Rustlers
ISBN: 0-9752880-1-6
Todd and Amanda live with their parents in a Midwestern city. The family doesn't go to church. The children are invited to visit their uncle, aunt, and cousin Drew, on their Wyoming ranch over spring break. Todd learns, in a unique way, why stealing is wrong. He decides to choose a new path for his life because of his uncle's Christian example. A band of high-tech cattle rustlers are caught, revealing that Todd was also wrong about Travis, a shadowy character.
Read about the round up, rattlesnake, and rustlers.

Secret of Abbott's Cave
ISBN: 0-9752880-0-8
Who are the real heroes in America? Randy and his friends pooled their resources to go cave exploring, discovered the hidden loot from a bank robbery, and learned they weren't heroes at all.

Legend of White Wolf
ISBN: 0-9752880-3-2
They didn't call him a liar; they just couldn't believe his story. Brian Fisher was determined to prove it was true even though it involved the risk to his own safety. His rescue of a wolf pup from a steel trap results in a mysterious relationship with surprising results. The story is set in the lower elevations near Yellowstone.

Max has generously offered to send one of his books to one person who leaves a comment on this blog. I will draw the name of one winner this weekend from those who leave a comment. Leave a comment telling Max about your reluctant reader, and he will send you a book for that reluctant reader to try! PLEASE be sure to leave me a contact email address in this format: Yourname [at]your ISP[dot]com so I can let you know and get your mailing address.

If you are a previous winner waiting for your book to come in the mail, I should have those out this week and to your door. Thanks for your patience.


Cara Putman said...

What a great interview. Fun to learn more about you, Max. And Crystal, I'd love to be entered in the drawing. I have a feeling Jonathan and Abigail would love these books.

Janna said...

I have a 9 1/2 year old son who I am working on developing a like of reading with - these books sound like he would like them. Currently he likes the Jigsaw Jones books, but these would be up his alley I think.

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Delia said...

This is a wonderful interview! After reading that Max hated reading when he was a kid, I now have hope for my own non-reader. I'd also like to be entered in the drawing, please Crystal... for my non-reader and for my avid readers.

Mimi N said...

Hi Max. My son is 8 1/2 and has struggled with reading so far. He is in an extra reading class and Title 1 for reading. He is spectacular at math. His teacher and I stay in touch as much as possible. I would say he's at a 1st grade level when he's in 3rd grade. I've started getting him books on CD to follow along with the book, he and I read and he tries to read on his own. For Christmas I found him a book in comic form called Kingdoms: The Coming Storm. I'm trying every different style. I try to tell him of all the fun adventures he'll go on if he can just dive into the story! Even if we don't win a book, it's good to know of more "boy" books that are out there with positive messages! Thank you.


Pam Halter said...

hi Max! My daughter used to hate to read. I homeschooled her and knew her weaknesses, so one summer I handed her a book and said, here this is your summer reading. It was the first book in Bryan Davis's DIOM series. She's hooked on reading now.

I'd like to be included in the drawing for my friend's son, Adam, who struggles with dyslexia and because of that, hates to read.

Anonymous said...

your books sound so great! I have 2 kids that prefer not to read. please enter me in the drawing, thanks!