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Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes (original 1998; edition 2008)

by Louis Sachar

Series: Holes (1)

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13,032None172 (4.08)1 / 272
kimlien91's review
Summary: This book is a novel about the main character that is sent to a detention camp because of being accused of stealing a pair of shoes. The story then goes on to tell his experience at the detention camp.
Personal Reaction: I enjoyed reading this book when I was in school because I hated reading but this book kept me interested.
Extension: This book could be a good way to get kids to start reading novels in the classroom.
  kimlien91 | Apr 25, 2012 |
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A young youth offender is sent to Camp Green Lake to serve his punishment for stealing a pair of running shoes. Although innocent, his parents lack the funds to hire adequate legal help. At camp, Stanley learns he has to dig a 5 by 5 by 5 hole in the desert every day. He makes friends quickly and one especially named Zero becomes a close one especially when Stanley teaches Zero to read. This becomes a crucial part of the plot and the saving of their lives at the climax.

Aimed at young adults, Sachan keeps the story moving rapidly and will assuredly keep young readers involved. The novel also teaches friendship, cooperation and overlooking peoples differences. There is even some information about how to survive in the desert. ( )
  lamour | Mar 28, 2014 |
A great little book! Stanley Yelnats is a great character, growing and believing in himself while wondering about what's right and how to do his best within a group of troubled boys.
  wareagle78 | Mar 22, 2014 |
I think this fantastic adaptation of the movie is helped by the fact that Sachar wrote the screenplay. Who better to know which elements of his book needed to be translated to the big screen and how! The translation to the big screen is helped by the book's cinematic read. As for the movie itself, the acting and pacing are excellent; the near-constant action and mystery makes this movie constantly entertaining. The issues of bullying and social justice and how the characters deal with these make this an important movie for children to see. There is a some violence, so only children 9 and up should watch this. The little bit of magic and diverse cast also makes this a great movie great for boys and girls. A good idea is to screen the movie after a kid or class has read the book and discuss how well the various elements translate to the big screen or what differences there are between the two.
  Megs_Scrambled | Mar 16, 2014 |
Stanley is being sent to a place out in the middle of nowhere, and he has to dig holes. He meets a guy named Sam and becomes friends with him. They both dig holes together and then end up running away in the end. They run away and find a source of water that is running and then they find a snake and one of them gets bit.
I truely didn't really like this book but it was pretty good. The whole book was about them digging holes, and eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and finding things in the holes. Which for me was really boring when there just digging holes all day. ( )
  HannahK.B1 | Mar 9, 2014 |
Louis Sachar
Realistic Fiction
240 pages
Summary: There is this boy, his name is Stanley Yelnats. A pair of shoes fell in his head an the police ran after him because he thought Stanley stole the shoes. Stanley was going to take the shoes home because his dad is trying to invent a machine that takes the stink out of shoes. Stanley and his family have to go to court. The judge decides to send Stanley to camp green lake which is like a detention center for troubled boys when they do something that's bad.
Tags or subject headings: Camp Green lake is where you go and dig holes to learn a lesson. The theme of this book is to teach.

Response to the book: I didn't like this book because it shows how people take advantage of other people and I don't think that is right, I think that you should treat everybody equally. I don't think it was necessary for Stanley to be put in this place because of shoes. I also don't think it was necessary for the boys to dig holes all the time, they dug the holes from sunrise to sunset, I personally don't see how that teaches them to not be troubled. ( )
  Mihalevich | Mar 6, 2014 |
[Holes] by [Louis Sachar] is the story about a boy named Stanley Yelnats who is accused of a crime he didn't commit. His father is an inventor who is currently trying to find a way to recycle old sneakers. His mother is a caring, loving, and supporting woman. Stanley was accused of stealing sneakers worth over $5,000. This is because the sneakers once belonged to a famous baseball player. The baseball player had given it to charity but when Stanley had found them, they had fallen from the sky. The judge gave his parents a choice. Either Stanley goes to jail, or he goes to Camp Green Lake. His parents decided to send him to Camp Green Lake. But Camp Green Lake is not any ordinary camp. It's out in the middle of nowhere. All you do is dig holes 5 feet deep and 5 feet wide. But the holes are out on the lake. This is because the lake has dried up. Stanley faces all sorts of problems on the lake such as: annoying counsellors, bullies, and yellow spotted lizards. This book is very interesting. I think it's one of the best books ever. ( )
  AkhilanS | Mar 2, 2014 |
This was a great and easy book. I really enjoyed reading the book about Stanley Yelnats(the 4th) and he finds these pair of shoes and gets court and sent out to dig holes ever day and he meets many friends many there. The story is about him digging holes and trying to escape. I cant wait to read small steps. ( )
  cars27 | Feb 20, 2014 |
This was a book I read to my girls after reading its good reviews. I always love it when I start a book and my oldest rolls her eyes, not wanting to read it because “It sounds boring” only to be saying “One more chapter! One more chapter” as we near the book’s end. This was such a book.

It tells the story of Stanley, a boy sent to a juvenile delinquent camp after he was falsely accused for theft. He blames his ‘bad luck’ on his great-great-pig-stealing-grandfather, who had supposedly been cursed back in Italy by a fortune teller. In-between the present day story of Stanley is woven historical bits of a story that ends up relating to the current happenings. The delinquents of the camp each have to dig a hole a day – 5 foot deep and 5 feet wide. ”To build character,” they are told. It soon becomes aware to Stanley that it’s not just to build character. They are looking for something. But what? That’s a story that interestingly goes all the way back to into the past of Stanley’s family, and of the ghost of the town the camp is sitting on.

This is a delightful little story with lots of neat little motifs braided throughout the book. With the exception of a couple of “OMG’s” the story is a clean one, too. It was a fun read-aloud for the kids. 4 of 5 stars on Goodreads. ( )
  lauraodom | Feb 17, 2014 |
It was good. I wasn't sure how interesting it would be at first, but (a little bit to my surprise) I ended up liking it.

Stanley Yelnats is sent to a "camp" for a crime he didn't commit. The boys at the camp are expected to dig a hole every day, supposedly to "build character". Stanley starts to wonder after a while the real reason they are digging all those holes, and the mystery begins to unravel... ( )
  LibraryCin | Feb 10, 2014 |
I'm often disappointed when I read children's books that I never read as a child. But Holes was great--I thought it stood up to being read by an adult. Compelling, kind of surreal, and a quick read. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
A dark & delightful tale of friendship with a dose of morality. ( )
  dandelionroots | Feb 3, 2014 |
Holes is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats who is sent to a juvenile camp that is located in a dried up lake. As there punishment the boys have to dig one hole per day. This hole has to be 10 feet deep and wide. The reason for the digging is that the warden wants to find buried treasure that was buried by Kate Bigalow. Later on in the book after stanley faces so many obstacles during is time at the camp he ends up finding the treasure with his new friend zero. In fact, Stanley gets to keep this treasure because the warden was under investigation that they were not running the camp with the right rules required. This investigation allows all the boys to return home and makes Stanley's family very happy and wealthy. This book was a very good read for anyone I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants a fictional fun read with no like true thinking just for plain enjoyment. ( )
  Joseph_Ball | Jan 23, 2014 |
Although I read this book when I was younger, it has always been one of my favorites. Holes, by Louis Sachar, takes place at a behavioral correction camp for young adults and kids. Stanley Yelnats is the main character. In order to discipline the kids, the head woman in charge has them consistently dig holes that are 10 feet deep and 10 feet wide. Eventually, the boys realize that there is an underlying reason for their constant hole digging. The head woman in charge believes that somewhere on the grounds of the camp lies buried treasure. Oddly enough, Stanley Yelnats is the one to dig up and find the buried treasure. The head woman states that she deserves to keep it, which results in her arrest. Once Stanley receives the treasure and all is settled, the boys all get to return home.
I enjoyed this book and I definitely recommend it. It has a very unusual story line and interesting characters, like Zero, that make it a captivating novel.
  Thomas28 | Jan 23, 2014 |
Holes is about a teenaged boy named Stanley Yelnats who is sent to a Juvenile Correction Facility in the middle of a desert for a crime he didn't commit. At this facility, the woman in charge teaches discipline by making the boys dig holes that are 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep in the blistering heat. Stanley's family believes that he is cursed due to one of his ancestors not listening to an old, crazy fortune teller, which is what they blame Stanley's arrest on. It is revealed that the head of facility is looking for buried treasure, which is why she makes the boys dig holes. One day, Stanley is able to find the treasure while he is digging, and this woman tells him that it is rightfully hers. However, the authorities show up under the suspicion that this facility is not operating by the right rules, so the woman and her workers are all sent away to prison, while Stanley gets to keep the treasure and makes his family rich. ( )
  dberk3 | Jan 23, 2014 |
Holes is a story written by Louis Sachar about a young boy named Stanley Yelnats. Stanley is sent to a juvenile detention center in the middle of a desert after being wrongly accused of stealing a pair of shoes. Stanley believes his family is cursed. At the detention center, he and other kids are forced by the warden to continuously dig holes five feet wide and five feet deep under the unforgiving desert sun. Although the warden suggests they are digging to "build character", Stanley believes the warden is looking for something else. Stanley's friend, Zero, runs away and Stanley steals the water truck to go chase after him. After looking for him for days, Stanley finally finds Zero. Both of them climb a mysterious mountain, lifting the curse. They return to camp, find the lost treasure, and allow for all of the boys to be sent home. Not only is this a fantastic book, but the movie is amazing as well. I would definitely recommend both to all. ( )
  ChaseHahn | Jan 23, 2014 |
Stanley Yelnats comes from a long line of males with the same name, because his family had always liked the fact that “Stanley Yelnats” was the same frontward and backward. This story, too, goes frontward and backward in time.

After being caught with a stolen pair of tennis shoes that had fallen from a bridge on Stanley’s head, Stanley is sent to a juvenile correctional facility in Texas called Camp Green Lake. There is neither water nor anything green however in this camp, which has been a desert for over a hundred years. The only inhabitants besides the campers, counselors, and warden are snakes, spiders, scorpions and poisonous yellow-spotted lizards.

Stanley, from a relatively poor family, had thought he would actually be going to a “camp” on a “lake,” which would be an improvement over his situation at home, where his father had nothing but bad luck with his invention attempts and where Stanley was bullied for being overweight.

But as luck would have it, or wouldn’t - as was the case with the long line of Yelnats - this was not a nice camp but an abusive outpost far from the eyes of any overseers.

We gradually learn that the bad luck of the Yelnats family stems from a Gypsy curse put on Stanley’s great-great-grandfather and all of his descendants. The reason for the curse, and the way it affects what happens at the camp, gradually unfolds like an onion skin, which is entirely appropriate given that onions play a critical role in the story.

Stanley and his “camp-mates” are forced to dig holes five feet by five feet every day in the pitiless desert sun, and soon, a life-threatening event happens. Whether Stanley can survive all depends on whether he can break the curse, but even he doesn’t know what that means!

Evaluation: You can hardly say too many good things about Louis Sachar, or, apparently, give this book too many awards. It is clever, heart-warming, full of good messages, and definitely worth all the accolades. It will delight middle graders on up. Despite its serious themes, it is full of fun, and features a sort of loser-ish kid who turns into a hero, just by being himself.


1999 Newbery Medal

1998 National Book Award for Young People's Literature 

Christopher Award for Juvenile Fiction

ALA Notable Book 

ALA Best Book for Young Adults 

ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults
New York Times Book Review Notable Children's Book of the Year
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Publishers Weekly Notable Children's Book of the Year

Publishers Weekly Bestseller
Horn Book Fanfare Title 

Riverbank Review 1999 Children's Book of Distinction 

New York Public Library Children's Book of 1998-100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
Texas Lone Star Award Nominee
NECBA Fall List Title ( )
  nbmars | Jan 4, 2014 |
Holes is a great book if you want adventure but not if your in to fantasy of fiction or science fiction or
  lllllllllllllllllli | Dec 9, 2013 |
This story follows a young boy, Stanley, who gets sent to a juvenile boys camp for stealing shoes. At this place each day he is to dig a hole the size of his shovel in order to build character as the warden puts it. However this is really because they are in search of lost treasure from a long long time ago. Throughout the story Stanley befriends many of the boys and even teaches one of them to read. Long ago an old curse was placed upon Stanley's family but they ended up solving the mystery when they climbed the mountain after running away. They ended up returning to the camp in the middle of the night and finding the lost treasure. The camp was exposed after Stanley was freed and all the boys were sent home. I remember loving this book as I was growing up and I was thrilled when the movie came out. I feel like the overall meaning of this book is that friendship is powerful and you can get through anything when you have friends, additionally two heads are better than one. When the boys worked together they solved the mystery and old stories of the camp, they were also able to depend on one another to read or learn how to dig a better hole. ( )
  Kbenis1 | Dec 7, 2013 |
"This winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award features Stanley Yelnats, a kid who is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake: the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption."
From amazon
  lexibaldwin | Dec 5, 2013 |
Well-written book about a group of misfit boys in a horrific situation and how they cope and survive. Great book for getting young boys to read. ( )
  kesser | Dec 4, 2013 |
I think many school's have this as a required text. It is a page turner, I really enjoyed it. ( )
  CelenaM511 | Dec 4, 2013 |
A story about a group of spunky, mistreated boys finding the truth. ( )
  makasireh | Nov 26, 2013 |
I really loved reading the book Holes by Louis Sachar. This was probably my third time reading this book! The movie was also just as good as the book. I like the theme of family that the author presents. Stanley has a close relationship with his family, but his family just so happens to be cursed. The book always goes back to the past to tell the story why they became that way. What I also liked about this book was the relationship between the characters. Going back to the theme of family, I think that there appears to be a close bond between the boys at this camp. We see Stanley form a close bond with Hector, otherwise known as Zero. Despite the awful circumstances these boys are put in, I liked that they were able to form a friendship that makes them like brothers. I think that the author's theme of this book is just to take life as it is; our past makes us who we are just as Stanley's bad luck makes him and his family who they are. ( )
  ewestr1 | Nov 26, 2013 |
Stanley has just been sent to a boys’ detention center thanks to his great-great grandfather who gave him the cursed name of Yelnats. Stanley and the other boys spend their days “building character,” by digging holes all day, every day. Stanley isn’t convinced that they are digging for character, but something that the warden is searching for, and he is determined to find out what that is.Great read aloud with the younger students; model of voice; text-to-text and self-connections about coming of age and figuring out a mystery; character analysis; writing prompts etc. ( )
  Backus2 | Nov 20, 2013 |
Holes is a great read about a young boy and his back luck cursed family, and how he stumbles upon the cure for the curse and meets some great friends along the way!

Personal Reaction:
I loved this story from begining to end, It was absolutely enveloping. I couldn't put it down!

Classroom Extension:
Write a list of all the chores Mr.Sir might have had the kids do in their reading journal, and how they might pass the time if they were at the camp.
Draw a picture of what might be in the treasure chest at the end of the book, and tell the class what you'd do with it.
  MaryKateCollins | Nov 20, 2013 |
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