Max Elliot Anderson writes books for boys and hosts Books for Boys, a blog that’s all about encouraging boys to read. His seven published books include Newspaper Caper, Terror At Wolf Lake, North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, The Secret of Abbott’s Cave, and Legend of the White Wolf.
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 written for children.
A few years ago I decided to seriously study books for boys, with an eye to discovering some of the reasons for boys’ lack of interest in reading. I discovered books with large blocks of copy, making it easy for a reluctant reader to lose his place on the page, and books 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 children’s books were written with girls as the primary audience. The books for boys tended to include dragons, wizards, or the dark side.
So I set out to write the kind of stories I would have liked to read when I was a child. As a result, 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 humor, heart-pounding action, adventure and dialog. Most chapters end in a cliffhanger, nearly forcing the reader to start the next chapter.
I also write good stories with moral and ethical elements. Hopefully, at some time in the future, these concepts will be useful as boys grow into men.