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Holes by Louis Sachar (And Some Fun “Holes-Inspired” Activities!)

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{Guest post from author, Hannah Rials}

It summer book reading season and one of my favorites from my middle reader/YA years is Holes by Louis Sachar. This book is a classic and keep reading to see why.

Holes by Louis Sachar book review

Holes is my favorite Louis Sachar book and this Newbery Medal and National Book Award-winning novel is about a boy who struggles to work his way out of his family’s bad luck.

The history of Kate Barlow and Stanley’s great-great-grandfather woven into the story brings a new dimension to a children’s chapter book. He gives children the ability to make connections between history and Stanley Yelnat’s story. He pulls you into the harsh conditions of Camp Green Lake and keeps you captivated with the mystery surrounding it. None of the camps I ever went to had buried treasure. I read this with my mom when I was ill. It’s not just a story for kids, but for kids and parents to enjoy together.

We all have something or someone who we blame our bad luck on, whether it be that we didn’t get enough sleep or that the world is out to get us. But Stanley Yelnats believes that his bad luck comes from his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather Elya Yelnats. After Madame Zeroni cursed him for not carrying her up the mountain, bad luck has traveled down the family line to Stanley’s own unfortunate incident.

When a pair of famous sneakers, stolen from “Sweet Feet”, drops from the sky into Stanley’s life, the judge gives Stanley two choices: Camp Green Lake or jail. As Stanley had never been to camp before. But Camp Green Lake is not your average boys’ camp. Here, we dig holes to build character, and if you don’t dig a hole five feet deep and five feet wide, well you just aren’t building enough character. Free time is limited, and you get used to eating food out of a can. But there is a secret buried deep in the dirt of the dried up lake, and Stanley might just be the boy to dig it out.

Here in the harsh, scorching wasteland, Stanley (AKA Caveman) not only discovers himself but also the cure to his family’s perpetual bad luck. Join Stanley as he solves the mystery of Kissin’ Kate Barlow, discovers the cure to stinky feet, and comes close enough to a yellow-spotted lizard to actually see the yellow spots. Will Stanley survive to tell the tale to his great-grandchildren?

Grab your copy of Holes HERE.

Something To Do

“Get Deep” with Holes

If teachers and parents really want to “dig” into the story of Holes, check out this Instructional Guide for Literature aids students that’s great for analyzing and comprehending this Newbery Medal and National Book Award-winning novel.By completing appealing and challenging cross-curricular lessons and activities that work in conjunction with the text, students will learn how to analyze and comprehend story elements in multiple ways, practice close reading and text-based vocabulary, determine meaning through text-dependent questions, and much more. Strengthen your students’ literacy skills by implementing this high-interest resource in your classroom!

Dig Your Own Hole:

What You’ll Need:

Holes Cookies

  • A tall glass
  • Oreos
  • Graham crackers
  • Treasures (I used York Peppermint Patties and Rollos still in the wrappers)
  • A spoon (shovel)

1. Split the Oreos and scrape off the icing. Put both the Oreo pieces and the graham crackers into the food processor until crumbled and well mixed—add more graham crackers depending on how light you want your dirt.

2. Add your treasures, making sure that they aren’t all clustered together.

Holes Cookies

3. Pour your “dirt” into a tall glass and pack firmly to give the feel of dry dirt. Let harden for a few hours.

4. Pick up your shovel (spoon) and dig! Afterward, enjoy the tasty treasures that you find.

Holes Cookies

Spiced Peaches!

Dine on Kate Barlow’s famous spiced peaches and Scholastic offers the recipe here:

Cootie Catcher Nickname Generator


Cootie Catcher Nickname Generator

What You’ll Need:

  • Piece of paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • You’re making a cootie catcher
  1. Fold the bottom corner diagonally to make an equilateral triangle. Trim off the excess
  2. Unfold triangle—you should have a square. Fold the other corner diagonally to make a center. Open it.
  3. Fold each corner diagonally to the center
  4. Turn the paper over so that the folded sides are against the table. Then fold all the corners to the center diagonally.
  5. Write numbers 1-8 on the triangles.
  6. Fold the square in half. Then fold it in half horizontally.
  7. Write a noun on the inside of each triangle (i.e. buzzard, man, cave, etc.) and color each triangle a different color. Pull the triangles up and write an adjective (i.e. stinky, lone, kissin’, etc.).

Step 2

Cootie Catcher Nickname Generator

Step 3

Cootie Catcher Nickname Generator

Step 4

Cootie Catcher Nickname Generator

How it works:

  • Pick a number between 1 and 8. That is how many times you move the cootie catcher.
  • 4 colors/ words will be showing. Pick a color. Whatever word goes with that number is the first part of the nickname
  • Pick a number between 1 & 8. Then pick another color. Lift the triangle and the adjective is the second part of the name.
  • Arrange them in whatever order you choose.
  • Mine nickname is Silent Bird.

Madame Zeroni’s Song

Madame Zeronis Music

As you well know, Madame Zeroni’s song has been passed down from one Yelnats generation to the next. Whenever they think about their ancestor lugging the growing pig up that mountain and singing the song, they seem to hear the song themselves.
You know the words, now let’s put music to them. I have given the basic notes of Madame Zeroni’s song. Learn to play it on the piano or on another instrument. If you have a musician in the family, see if they can make it into a grand symphony!


Looking for a beautiful and unconventional diverse picture book for kids? Check out the upcoming, Sissy Goes Tiny!

Sissy Goes Tiny by Rebecca Flansburg and B.A. Norrgard

In Sissy Goes Tiny, eight-year-old Sissy and her parents make the bold choice to downsize their life and embark on a journey of living tiny and doing more with less. At first, Sissy struggles to get used to the idea of living in a tiny house on wheels and traveling around the U.S, but as she and her mommy and daddy learn about downsizing, repurposing, and how “stuff is just stuff,” she soon understands that a life of “living tiny” will be filled with the big adventures and learning.

This gorgeous diverse picture book will be available July of 2019 and you can read the full story of this journey here and also reserve your hardcover copy here.

“I believe that Sissy Goes Tiny is going to open so many minds for people!  A tiny house is absolutely not for everyone, but we all like to dream and step into the shoes of another lifestyle in our minds.  Learning about this lifestyle I think will help people be more supportive of people who do choose to live unconventionally.  Sissy and her family are a great example of that.” Co-author, B.A. Norrgard

Join us in celebrating the idea of Tiny Living and BIG Adventures!

5 thoughts on “Holes by Louis Sachar (And Some Fun “Holes-Inspired” Activities!)

  1. I am so impressed with this website and the things to do with the book Holes! Way to go Hannah! Thank You Valarie for being such a great mentor to Hannah!

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