Monday, July 23, 2012
Holes by Louis Sachar
I can't believe it took me so long to read this book. (It seems like I've been saying that a lot lately, doesn't it? I must have a lot of catching up to do.) Holes by Louis Sachar is the 1999 Newberry Medal winner and the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for Young People. Critically acclaimed books are not always books I enjoy reading, but we loved this one. I say "we" because I read this book to my children, mainly my 8-year-old son. He came to me and asked if I would read it to him a few chapters at a time and I was happy to oblige. We love reading in our house and while I encourage him to read on his own, I also see a lot of value in reading together. It is wonderful- we cozy up on the couch, I read and he listens. I don't think it gets better than that.
Holes is about Camp Green Lake, only there is no lake, nothing is green and it's certainly no camp anyone would actually want to attend. Stanley Yelnats is sentenced to eighteen months at Camp Green Lake where the main punishment is digging holes day after day to "build character." As it turns out, there is more than character building going on. The hideous warden of the camp is actually looking for something and Stanley has figured it all out. He knows what they are looking for and where to look, but he is in no hurry to give away that secret.
This was a fun book to read with my son and we were both excited to find out what would happen next. It took us a couple of days to finish and we talked about the book even when we weren't reading it. I was especially glad we were reading the book together when we came upon a few subjects that my little guy didn't understand. It is never easy to attempt to explain complex social issues such as racism, the death penalty and homelessness to an innocent child, but I am glad I was the one to do it. It gave us some interesting topics to discuss and I was able to gently explain in a way that hopefully he understood. My five-year-old even sat in on several of our reading sessions (though she did mention that she prefers books with pictures) and would join our discussions of the book. I love reading with my children and I feel like doing so has such a beneficial impact.
What do you read to your children?