Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

Holes by Louis Sachar

Book Summary


If you were an overweight, unliked student, and a pair of shoes fell on you when you were walking home from school, how would you feel when you were later accused of stealing them from a homeless shelter?  Things would be even worse if you were sent to a work camp for boys and required to dig one very deep hole in the desert every day. That is exactly the situation Stanley finds himself in as this book begins.

Holes book cover

Book Review

This is just outstanding. Although the movie version does a reasonably good job being faithful to the story, the book is infinitely richer, and worthwhile. The story line jumps between time periods, settings, and characters, so some readers might not be inclined to stick with the adventure independently. The book weaves some mature topics  through the story, including violence and racism.

Class Structure Recommendation: Read-Aloud, Small Group Book Club, or Independent Reading


 Small Steps

Small Steps is a companion book to Holes, featuring a character from Stanley's work camp: Armpit. This story takes place as Armpit tries to stay on the right side of the law this time, and as he mixes with a celebrity teen singer and someone from his past, it's not as easy as it sounds.

Small Steps book cover
Small Steps

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Persistence
  • When the law isn't just
  • Racism
  • Self-Confidence
  • Ethics
  • Fortune and Fate
  • Rules within social systems
  • Crime and Punishment

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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