Max Anderson

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a reluctant reader. After 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, Mr. Anderson brings the same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has completely different characters, setting, and plot. He’s also begun a traditional series. Seven books are published, with an additional twenty-nine manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like being in an exciting or scary movie. Visit Max at: Books for Boys Blog, Author Web Site, Video - Captain Jack's Treasure, or My Youtube Videos.

Max Anderson


For as long as I can remember, my life has been involved with the production of dramatic films, video programs, and television commercials. Many of these films were produced to be rented to churches—long before video came along. Of these films, my favorite projects were those intended for younger viewers. We called them our kids films.

It is out of this rich background experience that many of the books I write for kids today originates. So this column will recount many of my experiences related to the children’s projects, some of the locations, around the world, where they were shot, along with children who were involved in the stories. In addition, I’ll add in my childhood experiences that tend to find themselves in the children’s fiction I write today. Ready for the first story? Here it is.

We lived way out in the country, in a small town called Wolf Lake, Michigan. We swam in Wolf Lake, and I went to Wolf Lake Elementary School. Our home was located in thick woods on the grounds of a place called Youth Haven. The entire area was a wonderland of forest, lakes, rivers, and fun.

Also on the grounds of Youth Haven sat a film studio that my father founded. From a very early age, I hung around the studio, where I watched in wonder as actors played their roles. It was in that studio, and around film production, that my imagination went into hyper drive. I was fascinated by the sets that were built there, especially one that represented a two-story house. From the first floor stood a stairway leading upstairs. The only problem was the stairs led to nowhere. The “upstairs” was built on the same level as the rest of the house, in a different part of the studio.

I learned never to eat anything I found on the set. This was even more important in a kitchen. You wouldn’t believe some of the things done to make nonfood substances look good enough to eat. One of the most disgusting was the mashed potatoes, made to look like delicious ice cream cones, with food coloring added to make different “flavors” of ice cream. The reason being that under the hot lights, real ice cream melts. But those potatoes were good for a month or more.

One day, when I was seven or eight years old, I got to be in one of the scenes. The film was shot in black-and-white, not color, and this sequence took place outside at night. The director had me ride my bike along a lonely, dirt road. From the other direction, came a speeding sports car. It’s lights blinded me for an instant, and then “my character” was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. But since the film was black-and-white, all the

blood that ran from my ear, nose, and mouth came from a chocolate syrup bottle. Still, when the entire sequence was edited together, what I saw on the screen looked scary and believable. That’s the way it is with film; not much of what you see or hear is real at all. You just believe it because of the editing, lighting, music, and sound effects.

This is something we have to watch out for. We are bombarded with sights and sounds that the producers use to tell us what to think and how to react to what we see and hear in video games, films, and TV shows. With all of the electronics available today, who needs to use imagination?

And that’s why reading is so important. Reading makes connections in the brain that don’t happen any other way. While reading, we decide how things sound, smell, taste, or feel, because all those things happen in our minds.

So I hope you’ll continue on your path as a reader. It will help you to be successful in life. And remember: readers are the leaders; others follow.


Captain Jack's Treasure