Research juvenile detention centers in their state. Investigate the purpose of a juvenile detention center. How does the state work to rehabilitate juvenile offenders? What is the purpose of a probation officer? How is it determined whether a juvenile can be tried as an adult?
Stanley is overweight and considered a misfit by the boys in his school and neighborhood. Discuss why Stanley is an easy target for bullies. At what point in the novel does Stanley begin feeling that he is a part of the group? Who is the leader? How do the guys view Stanley at the end of the novel? How might Stanley be considered a hero? Discuss how Stanley's heroic status might change the way his classmates view him when he returns to school in the fall.
Ask students to make a list of the campers and their nicknames. Discuss the significance of each boy's nickname. Why is Stanley called "Caveman"? How can nicknames "label" people and affect the way they feel about themselves? How does Stanley's self-concept change as the story progresses? Why does Stanley call Zero by his real name when they are in the desert together? Discuss how Stanley and Zero help one another gain a more positive sense of self.
Define courage. When does Stanley begin to show courage? Chart Stanley's courageous acts (e.g., stealing the truck). Which other campers might be considered courageous? What gives Stanley the courage to search for Zero? Discuss which characters in the parallel story demonstrate courage. Prepare questions you would most like to ask Stanley about his newly developed courage. How might Stanley answer their questions?
Stanley never had a friend before arriving at Camp Green Lake. Trace the development of Stanley's friendship with Zero. What are each boy's contributions to the friendship? When Stanley finds out that Zero is the person who stole the Clyde Livingston sneakers, he feels glad that Zero put the sneakers on the parked car. Explore why.
Stanley's father is an inventor. Although it is said that an inventor must have intelligence, perseverance, and a lot of luck, Stanley's father never seems to have such luck. Research inventors such as Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and the Wright brothers. How did luck play a role in their inventions?
Zero cannot read, but he is excellent in math. Survey at least 20 adults and ask them whether their strength in school was reading or math. Collect the data gathered and construct a graph that reveals the results of the survey. Study the graph and discuss the importance of both subjects.
Stanley has always wanted to be an FBI agent. Find out the training that Stanley would need to accomplish his dream. What other types of law enforcement careers could Stanley investigate?
Ideas prepared by Pat Scales, Director of Library Services. the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville, South Carolina.
good book, January 29, 2009 (view all comments by good book)
One of my favorite children's middle reader books! When this book came out I bought numerous copies and shipped them to all my friends and relatives. I really thought people should read it, and still do.
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"Review A Day"
by Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor,
"Long before there was Holes the movie, there was Holes the book, and readers had fallen in love with Louis Sachar's interwoven tales of exploited kids, poisonous lizards, interracial love, smelly feet, and, of course, Stanley Yelnats's no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather. 'Every little piece fits together,' says Frances Foster, Sachar's editor. 'There's enormous satisfaction in reading that kind of story.'" (read the entire CSM review)
"Review A Day"
by Chris Bolton, Powells.com,
"Few adult novels can hope to attain the treasured status of a beloved children's book. One can make a connection to an adult book for a variety of reasons — literary, nostalgic, emotional, aesthetic — but these pale in comparison to the romantic identification a child develops for a book that hits him/her just right, much as no adult relationship acquires the rarified (perhaps imaginary) intensity of young love. I read Holes this year, about twenty years too late for such idolatry. Still, as I devoured it in one night, too thrilled to stop turning the pages just because my body needed sleep, I felt a familiar stirring and realized that if I had discovered this book when I was nine, I would have cherished it for the rest of my life." (read the entire Powells.com review)
by Publishers Weekly (Starred Review),
"[W]ry and loopy....[A] dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism. Readers (especially boys) will likely delight in the larger-than-life (truly Texas-style) manner in which Sachar fills in all the holes, as he ties together seemingly disparate story threads to dispel ghosts from the past and give everyone their just deserts."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure."
by Mary Ann Capan, VOYA,
"This delightfully clever story is well-crafted and thought-provoking, with a bit of a folklore thrown in for good measure."
Don't miss this follow-up to the 2012 Amazon Best Book pick, P.K. PINKERTON AND THE DEADLY DESPERADOS!
Author Caroline Lawrence returns to the Wild West with another action-packed mystery starring Master-of-Disguise, P.K. Pinkerton.
After vanquishing three notorious Desperados, twelve-year-old P.K. Pinkerton opens a private-eye business in Virginia City. P.K.'s skills are quickly put to the test: When a maid named Martha witnesses a murder, she hires the young detective to track the killer before he finds her too.
P.K. enlists a trusted ally, Poker Face Jace, to help crack the case—but collecting clues and keeping Martha safe will not be easy. Cunning liars, rogue gunslingers and deadly foes lurk at every turn, and time is running out to bring the murderer to justice.
Sharp, thrilling and vividly imagined, P.K. Pinkerton's second action-packed adventure will keep your heart racing through the very last page.
Author Caroline Lawrence returns to the Wild West with another action-packed adventure starring Master-of-Disguise, P.K. Pinkerton.
After escaping the ruthless desperados, P.K. finally feels safe in Virginia City and is ready to set up a new private eye business. But all the mysteries in town seem to be pranks—until the day P.K. meets a young maid named Martha.
Martha's employer has been found dead . . .and now the killer is after her. The mystery takes a grave turn when Martha disappears, so P.K. consults Poker Face Jace, an expert at people-reading. With his help, PK inspects saloons and billiard rooms, and even tries sneaking into the coroner’s office. But time is quickly running out for P.K., and Martha’s life has never been in more danger.
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