Posted by: kidsbooksreviews | April 28, 2008

Holes, by Louis Sachar

Holes is a Newberry Award winning book, and with good reason. Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Facility for a crime he didn’t commit, he digs a hole every day: five feet wide in every direction, and five feet deep. The camp’s staff says that digging holes builds character, but the boys know that there’s a deeper purpose behind all the digging.

This book opens the door for discussion on crime and punishment, as well as how inventions change lives, superstitions, racial relationships and equality (including inter-racial romances), the history of race relations, how drought affects the landscape, and what the motives are behind some crimes. One character promotes folk medicine over traditional medicine, which could lead to a brief discussion on folk remedies. There are multiple settings here, with four stories being told simultaneously. Generations of characters’ stories are told, with their ancestors’ lives intertwining seamlessly.

There is once instance where a character says, “What the hell”.

I have used this book with grades 4 and 5 in a special education setting. Some of the activities we did was a comparison between settings, mapping out some of the story locales, and discussing how race was viewed 100 years ago compared to now.

This book presents a unique opportunity to look at author’s purpose if you’ve got time to show the movie; the screenplay is written by Louis Sachar also, and kids can examine why he chose to change some of the plot for the purpose of the movie.



  1. This book is about digging holes.Also the boys dig holes because they are looking for treasure.And zero hits Mr.Pendancki with a shovel and ran away.Yes holes is a good book.I think my friend Jordan will like this book because he likes finding stuff.The best part is when Zero runs away.And the worst part is when Mr.Sir got scratched by the warden and screams because of the poision.

  2. The book Hols is aboat a boy with a bad life becase of his no good dirty roten pig stealing great great grandfather.He was the guy that gave them a curse.When stanly was walking and then clyde livingstons shoes fell on his head now hes at camp green lake a tarrible place to stay.They hafe to dige a hole every day. That would be hard to do a hole every day for the next 18 mounts.

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