Holes

by Louis Sachar (1999)

Read to Them is glad to offer the endlessly rich, Newbery-winning novel Holes as a Tweener and Middle School selection. Holes is a book with a wide range of strengths that has already engaged a generation of readers and is sure to provide a wealth of provocation and stimulation when you make it a One School, One Book selection for your elementary or middle school.

At its heart, Holes is the story of Stanley Yelnats, a boy wrongly accused of a crime, sentenced to spend a summer at the mysterious Camp Green Lake. Stanley is a resourceful young man with a good heart. He adapts to these trying circumstances and demonstrates not only fortitude but also sympathy and support for those around him – especially the most picked-on boy at Camp Green Lake, a lad nicknamed “Zero.”

But Holes has a lot more to offer beyond the relationship at its heart. In Holes we follow multiple plotlines and mysteries. There is the mystery of the stolen sneakers. The mystery of a no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great-grandfather. The mystery of the treasure supposedly buried at Camp Green Lake. The mystery of the mysterious warden. And the mystery of the notorious outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow.

This last mystery points out another writing technique that author Louis Sachar uses to keep the novel continuously engaging. Along the way, Sachar follows two stories from the past – one from Stanley’s family’s past, and one from Camp Green Lake’s past. Of course the mysteries of both stories converge and help illuminate the answers to Stanley’s quest.

Students and families reading Holes together will get to share Stanley’s dilemmas as he confronts of the likes of Mr. Sir and Mr. Pendanski and the mysterious warden. They will strategize together as he befriends the seemingly hapless Zero. And they will thrill to the action-packed conclusion as Stanley and Zero pursue and resolve the layered mysteries at the core of Holes – including yellow-spotted lizards!

 

Note: Schools selecting Holes as a Middle School selection will receive an expanded packet suite including Discussion Questions, Role Playing ideas, and augmented Suggested Activities aimed at middle school students.