3. Sacher, Louis. Holes. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 265 pages. Tr. $18 ISBN 0374332665
Brief Plot Description: Stanley Yelnats, an overweight boy from a poor family accursed with bad luck, is sent to Camp Green Lake because of the misapplication of justice. As he is walking home, a pair of sneakers falls from the sky and hits his head. He takes the shoes and runs away, but soon he is arrested and convicted of stealing the sneakers donated by a famous baseball player, Clyde Livingston. On the dry lake bed of Camp Green Lake, Stanley is required to dig a hole five feet deep and five feet in diameter every day with other boys for character improvement. He meets Zero, X-Ray, Zigzag there and discovers the truth behind the use of the holes and the person responsible for stealing the sneakers.
Genre(s)/Subject(s): realistic fiction, mystery, adventure, juvenile delinquency, friendship, pride and self-esteem, courage, determination, and survival
Reading Level: Ages 8-12
Awards: National Book Awards for 1998 and Newbery Medal for 1999
Books Similar in Style, Content, Theme, or Characters: The Young Man and the Sea by Rodman Philbrick. The Summer of the Swans byBetsy Cromer Byars.
Programming/Lesson Ideas: Children can have a group discussion using the discussion guide here https://multcolib.org/holes
Personal Thoughts: This is an amazing story for its plot full of twists and turns leading from the beginning of the story to the end. This is a story about destiny, friendship, punishment, and courage. Stanley blames his bad luck from a curse caused by his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather”, but he understands later that his destiny is in his own hands. Many plot points in the story are carefully arranged and interrelated.