"Holes" author Louis Sachar Celebrates 10th anniversary of his best-selling novel

October 20, 2008 1:00:16 PM PDT
Ten years ago thousands of children fell in love with Holes, written by Louis Sacher. (Release) Since the book was published nearly 5 million readers have been touched by the novel about a juvenile detention center where a greedy warden is desperately seeking a hidden treasure.

Five years ago, Holes randomhouse.com/holes was released as a major motion picture starring Shia LaBeouf, Jon Voight, and Sigourney Weaver. The screenplay was also written by Sachar, who is now on a four-city tour to celebrate the book's anniversary.

Yearling Books is marking the tenth anniversary of the award-winning novel with the publication of HOLES: 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION. The special edition of the beloved Newbery Award-winning novel includes an excerpt from the Holes screenplay and commentary by Sachar. With more than 4.8 million copies of the paperback edition sold, Holes is still embraced by young readers, parents, and educators. The novel received many accolades and awards after its 1998 release, including the Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe?Horn Book Award; it was a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 150 weeks.

"Louis Sachar's Holes is a novel that truly stands the test of time because the heart of the story deals with universal themes such as right and wrong, good and evil, and the power of friendship that kids of all generations can relate to," says Beverly Horowitz, V.P. & Publisher of Bantam Delacorte Dell Books for Young Readers. "We are extremely fortunate to be the publisher of such a remarkable novel and are honored to work with the incredibly talented author Louis Sachar."

In the novel, Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center in Texas run by a greedy warden desperately seeking a hidden treasure. Unknown to Stanley and the rest of the boys at camp, the holes they dig everyday to "build character" are really a way for the warden to unearth the loot of a famed outlaw from long ago. Stanley's character and the story of friendship, justice, truth, and redemption continue to strike a chord with new readers each year. Entertainment Weekly recently named Holes as one of the 100 best books of the last 25 years in their "New Classics" feature story. It is a novel destined for permanent shelf space in libraries and among the personal collections of young readers nationwide.

Small Steps, Sachar's companion to Holes which features some of the same characters, was published earlier this year in paperback from Delacorte Press and is available wherever books are sold. Sachar is also the author of Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake, There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, Dogs Don't Tell Jokes, and the Marvin Redpost series, among others. He lives in Austin, Texas.

For more information, visit randomhouse.com/holes.

Words From Louis Sachar

I was born in East Meadow, New York, on March 20, 1954, and lived there until third grade. My dad worked on the seventy-eighth floor of the Empire State Building, and maybe that somehow inspired Wayside School, who knows? When I was nine years old, we moved to Tustin, California. At that time, there were orange groves all around, and the local kids would often divide up into teams and have orange fights. The "ammo" hung from the trees, although the best ones were the gushy, rotten ones on the ground. Now most of the orange trees are gone, replaced with fast-food restaurants and big box stores.

I enjoyed school and was a good student, but it I enjoyed school and was a good student, but it wasn't until high school that I really became an avid reader. J. D. Salinger and Kurt Vonnegut were the authors who first inspired me. Some of my other favorite authors include E. L. Doctorow, Margaret Atwood, E. B. White, Richard Price, and Kazuo Ishiguro.

After high school, I attended Antioch College in Ohio. My father died during my first semester, and I returned to California to be near my mother. During that time, I had a short but surprisingly successful career as a Fuller Brush man. For those of you too young to know what that is, I went door-to-door selling cleaning products.

I returned to college, this time to the University of California at Berkeley, where I majored in Economics. On campus one day, I saw the unlikely sight of an elementary school girl handing out flyers. I took one from her. It said: "Help. We need teacher's aides at our school. Earn three units of credit." I thought it over and decided it was a pretty good deal. College credits, no homework, no term papers, no tests?all I had to do was help out in a second- or third-grade class at Hillside Elementary School.

Besides helping out in a classroom, I also became the noontime supervisor, or "Louis the Yard Teacher," as I was known to the kids. It became my favorite college class, and a life-changing experience.

When I graduated in 1976, I decided to try to write a children's book, which eventually became Sideways Stories from Wayside School. All the kids at Wayside School were based on the kids I knew at Hillside.

It took me about nine months to write the book. I wrote in the evenings. In the daytime I had a job at a sweater warehouse in Connecticut. After about a year, I was fired (my enthusiasm for sweaters was insufficient), and I decided to go to law school. Sideways Stories from Wayside School was accepted by a publisher during my first week at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

I finished law school, graduating in 1980, passed the bar exam (which was required to practice law), and then did part-time legal work as I continued to write children's books. It wasn't until 1989 that my books began selling well enough that I was finally able to stop practicing law and devote myself fully to writing.

My wife, Carla, was a counselor at an elementary school when I first met her. She was the inspiration for the counselor in There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. We were married in 1985. Our daughter, Sherre, was born in 1987. We live in Austin, Texas, along with our dog, Watson.

I write every morning, usually for no more than two hours a day. I never talk about a book until it is finished.

In my spare time, I like to play bridge. You can often find me at the bridge club in Austin, or at a bridge tournament somewhere around the country.

MEET LOUIS SACHER

Monday, Oct. 20 at 7 pm
Anderson's Bookshop

123 W. Jefferson, Naperville

630.355-2665

andersonbookshop.com

Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 7pm
Barnes and Noble

Old Orchard Center

Skokie

847.676-2230


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