What You Need to Know:|
• Holes is an incredible book that would be a great addition to any bookshelf.
• This book has received many awards including the 1999 Newbury Medal.
• The movie, Holes, based on the book, was released in 2003.
• There are some violent moments including fistfights, bullying, deadly lizards, rattlesnake-venom laced fingernails, a
blow to the head with a shovel, and threats of death.
• Louis Sachar is also the author of the entertaining Wayside School series.
• While this book should appeal to both boys and girls, it is a great find for boys. It has a male main character and just
the right blend of humor, excitement, tension and intellect.
Holes is a rare find so don’t miss out on it! The story is captivating, the characters are engaging, the relationships are fascinating, and the details are timeless. I’m always searching for good books for boys and this one is perfect. It is a fast-paced read with vivid imagery, plenty of action and intrigue, and even some subtle humor. At the same time, Sachar eloquently delivers a story filled with meaning and positive messages about family, friendship, loyalty and compassion. He manages to create an intense, powerful, and sometimes chilling story, that is still appropriate for fourth grade and up.
The story begins on a serious note. Stanley Yelnats, a poor, overweight, unpopular boy, has been arrested for stealing a famous baseball player’s sneakers. Stanley actually didn’t commit the crime but, as is often the case for Stanley, he was simply in the “wrong place at the wrong time.” He ends up at a children’s correctional facility know as Camp Green Lake where the kids are forced to dig holes in an enormous dried-up lake. It’s hard work, the social hierarchy among the boys is complicated, the adults running the place can be sadistic, and the circumstances are downright unpleasant, but Stanley accepts his situation and rises to the occasion. Intertwined with Stanley’s story are flashbacks to the surreal lives of his ancestors. Apparently, Stanley’s great-great-grandfather didn’t fulfill a promise he’d made, and his descendants have been paying the price ever since then. Like the pieces of a puzzle, the details of the past and present are woven together flawlessly until they collide, leaving Stanley a new person.
1998, 272 pages
Award Winners, Books for Boys, Bullying, Character/Values, Compassion/Empathy, Determination, Diversity, Ethics, Good Book Club Selection, Life Challenges, Poverty, Self-Awareness/Discovery
• Was it fair that Stanley was blamed for the stolen sneakers?
• Do you believe in the curse on Stanley’s family? Why or Why not?
• Did fate or destiny have anything to do with the outcome of the story?
• Why was Mr. Pendanski extra cruel to Zero?
• How do the boys’ circumstances in the camp influence their relationships?
• Have you ever been wrongly accused or felt like you were in the wrong place at the wrong time?
• How did camp have a positive effect on Stanley?
• What do you think will happen next for Stanley and Zero?
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