I once had a birthday party based entirely around Sachar’s Newbery Medal winning novel. A small group of friends and I saw the book adapted to stage at the local children’s theater. My mom made a cake with holes in it, and each of my friends took home a copy of the novel as a party favor. I absolutely adored this book.
And I still adore the story of Stanley Yelnats and his time to Camp Green Lake, a boys’ detention center where the boys build character by spending every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. Stanley soon catches on that the boys are digging holes because the Warden is looking for something. The problem is that nobody – but the Warden – knows what it is.
The premise seems simple, no? But it’s actually a very rich story that addresses a series of issues – racism, juvenile detention – without hitting you over the head. Even though I could probably tell you the whole story without missing a beat, I still enjoyed seeing how Sachar tied everything together.
Growing up I did not read a lot of books with boys as the main character, which is why I never read about Huck Finn and was originally turned off the idea of Harry Potter. Luckily, though, I did not allow this one to pass by simply because Stanley is a boy. Reading this book is kind of like going home.
- Sarchar, Louis. Holes. New York: Yearling, 2000. Originally published 1999. Print. 233 pgs. ISBN: 0440414806. Source: Purchased.