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Holes by Louis Sachar
by Louis Sachar
Published by Scholastic, Inc. in 1998
is an excellent novel for adolescents. It incorporates elements of action, mystery, and humor. But mostly, it is a story about friendship and a young man's personal growth.
Stanley Yelnats blames all of his misfortune on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather". The curse on his grandfather has followed his family through generations. The curse continues to plague Stanley's family as Stanley is falsely accused of stealing baseball great Clyde Livingstone's sneakers. As a result, he is sent to Camp Green Lake - a juvenile
detention center for boys, run by the Warden, Mr. Sir, and Mr. Pendanski. He and the other boys, X-Ray, Armpit, Squid, Zigzag, Magnet, and Zero, spend each day digging holes exactly five feet deep and five feet wide.
Stanley begins the story as an outcast, "he didn't have any friends at home" (7). At Camp Green Lake, it takes a while for him to be accepted by the other boys. It is not until he finds a lipstick tube with the mysterious letters KB, and lets X-ray take credit for the find, that he is able to "move[d] up a place in line" (63). Soon after this happens, Stanley begins to form a friendship with Zero. Their relationship begins out of convenience. It is mutually beneficial, Zero learns how to read and Stanley gets to take a break from digging. Eventually their friendship becomes more important. When Zero gets into trouble, Stanley is concerned about him and creates a plan to help.
The boys at Camp Green Lake are told digging these holes will build "character". Stanley quickly realizes that this is not the only reason they are digging the holes. Through most of the story, Stanley sees himself as a victim of circumstance. Everything happens to him because of his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather." He does not have the confidence to take responsibility for his own life. He also does not have confidence in his own abilities.
Stanley finds himself on an adventure when he and his friend Zero escape from the camp and are alone in the desert. They find themselves facing unbearable heat, thirst, and deadly yellow-spotted lizards. Though you may never find yourself facing yellow-spotted lizards or digging holes in a waterless lake, you can learn important lessons from Stanley and enjoy sharing in his adventure.
This is a complicated story with many unusual characters spread across many generations. Sachar's story jumps around in time and place as their paths cross and re-cross. I think you will enjoy this book. It’s an adventure and a mystery, with moments of high suspense, all neatly tied-off with a happy ending.
Louis Sachar was born in New York in 1954, and currently lives in Austin, Texas.
has won a wealth of awards in addition to the
National Book Award
, including the New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year, New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Horn Book Fanfare Honor List, Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. In addition to
, Sachar has written
for elementary school children including the Wayside School series (information found at the
link found under “External Links”).
(photo found at
Trailer for Disney's Holes (2003)
Youtube Video for Kids (Spoiler)
More About the Author:
Louis Sachar Homepage
Louis Sacher Biography
News article from the Austin Chronicle
More books by Louis Sachar
Honors and Awards:
National Book Award homepage
"Holes" the Disney motion picture:
IMDB- Review of Movie Holes
Disney's official Holes the movie website
Holes unit plan
Holes lesson plan
Holes study and discussion questions
e-mints- Literature: "Holes" by Louis Sachar
Paindromes (Spelled the same frontwards and backwards) and Mirrored palindromes
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