Holes by Louis Sacharsticker-burst


byLouis Sachar

Paperback | May 9, 2000

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Winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award! This #1 New York Times bestselling, modern classic in which boys are forced to dig holes day in and day out is now available with a splashy new look.

Stanley Yelnats 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 Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn’t take long for Stanley to realize there’s more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Includes a double bonus: an excerpt from Small Steps, the follow-up to Holes, as well as an excerpt from Louis Sachar’s new middle-grade novel, Fuzzy Mud.

"A smart jigsaw puzzle of a novel." --The New York Times 


About The Author

Louis Sachar is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Holes, which won the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Christopher Award, as well as Stanley Yelnats' Survival to Camp Green Lake; Small Steps, winner of the Schneider Family Book Award; and The Cardturner, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, a Parents' Choice Gold...
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Details & Specs

Title:HolesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 7.69 × 5.19 × 0.61 inPublished:May 9, 2000Publisher:Random House Children's BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0440414806

ISBN - 13:9780440414803

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Extra Content

Read from the Book

Stanley Yelnats was the only passenger on the bus, not counting the driver or the guard. The guard sat next to the driver with his seat turned around facing Stanley. A rifle lay across his lap. Stanley was sitting about ten rows back, handcuffed to his armrest. His backpack lay on the seat next to him. It contained his toothbrush, toothpaste, and a box of stationary his mother had given him. He’d promised to write to her at least once a week. He looked out the window, although there wasn’t much to see—mostly fields of hay and cotton. He was on a long bus ride to nowhere. The bus wasn’t air-conditioned, and the hot heavy air was almost as stifling as the handcuffs. Stanley and his parents had tried to pretend that he was just going away to camp for a while, just like rich kids do. When Stanley was younger he used to play with stuffed animals, and pretend the animals were at camp. Camp Fun and Games he called it. Sometimes he’d have them play soccer with a marble. Other times they’d run an obstacle course, or go bungee jumping off a table, tied to broken rubber bands. Now Stanley tried to pretend he was going to Camp Fun and Games. Maybe he’d make some friends, he thought. At least he’d get to swim in the lake. He didn’t have any friends at home. He was overweight and the kids at his middle school often teased him about his size. Even his teachers sometimes made cruel comments without realizing it. On his last day of school, his math teacher, Mrs. Bell, taught ratios. As an example, she chose the heaviest kid in the class and the lightest kid in the class, and had them weigh themselves. Stanley weighed three times as much as the other boy. Mrs. Bell wrote the ratio on the board, 3:1, unaware of how much embarrassment she had caused both of them. Stanley was arrested later that day. He looked at the guard who sat slumped in his seat and wondered of he had fallen asleep. The guard was wearing sunglasses, so Stanley couldn’t see his eyes. Stanley was not a bad kid. He was innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. He’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was all because of his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather! He smiled. It was a family joke. Whenever anything went wrong, they always blamed Stanley’s no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather! Supposedly, he had a great-great-grandfather who had stolen a pig from one-legged Gypsy, and she put a curse on him and all his descendants. Stanley and his parents didn’t believe in curses, of course, but whenever anything went wrong, it felt good to be able to blame someone. Things went wrong a lot. They always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He looked out the window at the vast emptiness. He watched the rise and fall of a telephone wire. In his mind he could hear his father’s gruff voice softly singing to him. “If only, if only,” the woodpecker sighs, “The bark on the tree was just a little bit softer.” “While the wolf waits below, hungry and lonely, He cries to the moo–oo–oon, “If only, if only.” It was a song his father used to sing to him. The melody was sweet and sad, but Stanley’s favorite part was when his father would howl the word “moon”.The bus hit a small bump and the guard sat up, instantly alert. Stanley’s father was an inventor. To be a successful inventor you need three things: intelligence, perseverance, and just a little bit of luck. Stanley’s father was smart and had a lot of perseverance. Once he started a project he would work on it for years, often going days without sleep. He just never had any luck. Every time an experiment failed, Stanley could hear him cursing his dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. Stanley’s father was also named Stanley Yelnats. Stanley’s father’s full name was Stanley Yelnats III. Our Stanley is Stanley Yelnats IV. Everyone in his family had always liked the fact that “Stanley Yelnats” was spelled the same frontward and backward. So they kept naming their sons Stanley. Stanley was an only child, as was every other Stanley Yelnats before him. All of them had something else in common. Despite their awful luck, they always remained hopeful. As Stanley’s father liked to say, “ I learned from failure.” But perhaps that was part of the curse as well. If Stanley and his father weren’t always hopeful, then it wouldn’t hurt so much every time their hopes were crushed. “Not every Stanley Yelnats has been a failure,” Stanley’s mother often pointed out, whenever Stanley or his father became so discouraged that they actually started to believe in the curse. The first Stanley Yelnats, Stanley’s great-grandfather, had made a fortune in the stock market. “He couldn’t have been too unlucky.” At such times she neglected to mention the bad luck that befell the first Stanley Yelnats. He lost his entire fortune when he was moving from New York to California. His stagecoach was robbed by the outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. If it weren’t for that, Stanley’s family would now be living in a mansion on a beach in California. Instead, they were crammed in a tiny apartment that smelled of burning rubber and foot odor. “If only, if only…. The apartment smelled the way it did because Stanley’s father was trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers. “The first person who finds a use for old sneakers, “ he said, “will be a very rich man.” It was this lastest project that led to Stanley’s arrest. The bus ride became increasingly bumpy because the road was no longer paved. Actually, Stanley had been impressed when he first found out that is great-grandfather was robbed by Kissin’ Kate Barlow. True, he would have preferred living on the beach in California, but it was still kind of cool to have someone in your family robbed by a famous outlaw. Kate Barlow didn’t actually kiss Stanley’s great-grandfather. That would have been really cool, but she only kissed the men she killed. Instead, she robbed him and left him stranded in the middle of the desert. “He was lucky to have survived,” Stanley’s mother was quick to point out. The bus was slowing down. The guard grunted as he stretched out his arms. “Welcome Camp Green Lake,” said the driver. Stanley looked out the dirty window. He couldn’t see a lake. And hardly anything was green.

From Our Editors

Junior Booklovers Contest Winner Riley, age 13, Calgary, ABStanley didn't steal the shoes.No, really. He didn't. He was walking home after an abysmal day at school, minding his own business, and the shoes fell from the sky.But those same shoes were taken from a homeless shelter just minutes earlier.And they just happened to belong to a baseball great who was auctioning them off for charity.And poor Stanley was seen running in the opposite direction of the shelter in question.Two choices: Prison, or Camp Green Lake.Stanley chose the latter. Stanley Yelnats is more or less your average, junior-high school kid, who gets picked on by the popular kids and is just overweight enough to become the butt of endless taunts. After he finds himself in an incredibly sticky situation that he cannot explain, he is sent to Camp Green Lake, a reform camp for children with crimes under their belt. The Warden at Camp Green Lake believes that bad boys can become good boys by digging holes in the barren wasteland that is the Texas desert. Stanley soon befriends Zero, a mysterious boy who has, until then, kept to himself. Further mystery unfolds as Stanley and Zero tie villains from the past into their present lives.Holes is easily one of the most engrossing books I have ever read. Three stories are told in Holes, three stories that tie together in the final chapters amazingly well. Readers will not only connect with Stanley, but also with outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow, Sam the Onion man, and Madame Zeroni, the ancient psychic who curses the Yelnats family name. The author is a genius, not only for the brilliant tale, but for flawlessly linking up events that have occurred a hundred years apart, such as the boat in the desert and God's Thumb.I was read this work of art in grade 3; it has been a favourite of mine since. Holes is a vital part of any library.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, Holes follows the story of Stanley Yelnats who is serving time for a crime he didn't commit. At Camp Green Lake, Stanley has to dig a hole each day - holes that will lead to his destiny. Louis Sachar is also the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. Holes is the 1999 recipient of the prestigious Newbery Medal, awarded to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Newbery MedalWinner of the National Book AwardA New York Public Library's 100 Great Children's Books 100 Years Selection"A dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism."-Publishers Weekly, Starred Review"There is no question, kids will love Holes."-SLJ, Starred Review"[A] rugged, engrossing adventure."-Kirkus Reviews"This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking."-VOYA"[Sachar] comes fully, brilliantly into his own voice. This is a can't-put-it-down read."-The Bulletin#1 New York Times Bestseller