Max Elliot Anderson, author of action-adventures and mysteries for kids, has begun a real life adventure to encourage summer reading. On Saturday, May 31, he released a special bottle into the Rock River, near his home of Rockford, Illinois.
“Since most of my books contain adventures, and are written especially for boys 8 – 12, I wanted to do something different this summer, to point out the importance of reading in America. That’s because I grew up hating to read.” His blog, Books for Boys, ranks in the top 10 searches on Google. He placed the bottle into the river, downstream from a spillway. “I know there are lots of hazards and obstacles in the rivers,” Anderson said. “But I’ m hoping my bottle makes its way to the end of the Rock River, and into the Mississippi. If it gets that far, then who knows?”
The large, clear, plastic bottle is decorated with blue tape. Inside is a special card. When the card is returned to the author, he will send a set of his books to the person who found it. Also included is a forever stamp. “That way,” he said, “it won’t cost the finder anything to claim the prize, no matter when they pull it out of the water.”
The prize card includes instructions for proper disposal of the bottle, or recycling. “I don’t consider my message-bottle to be litter since I’m confident someone will find it one of these days.”
This summer adventure is in keeping with what young readers have reported, after reading Max Elliot Anderson’s books. “Reading one of your books is like being in an exciting or scary movie,” several have said. “It’s vital,” Anderson said, “that we teach our children to turn off the TV, put away the video games, move away from the computer, and pick up a book. Reading helps to exercise the imagination in ways that nothing else can.” His books include North Woods Poachers, Mountain Cabin Mystery, Big Rig Rustlers, Secret of Abbott’s Cave, and Legend of the White Wolf. “Each book has completely different characters, and takes place in a different part of the country,” he said.
Anderson’s books have been 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. His books are equally enjoyed by boys and girls.
Anderson’s prize bottle could possibly make its way past Moline, and Davenport, to St. Louis, past Memphis, and all the way to New Orleans. “Hopefully someone will fish it out of the river before it gets to the Gulf,” he said with a smile.
“What better way to get kids excited about the adventure of reading, than to give them a real adventure this summer?” Anderson asked. He encourages young readers, who live along the Rock and Mississippi rivers, to be on the lookout for the bottle.
“Even if you aren’t the lucky one to find it,” Anderson said, “why not read a good adventure this summer anyway?” (Photos available on request to firstname.lastname@example.org)