by Louis Sacharholes.jpg
2000, Random House Children's Books


  • Ages 12 & Up
  • Young Adult Chapter Book
  • 256 pgs.
  • Categories - Friendship, Decision Making, Trust, Imagination
  • Newberry Award Winner
It is very well-written and certainly captivating. It goes on to create the characters very vividly and the reader can feel the torture and dreadful experience the main characters are experiencing. It also reveals the meanness of the adults.

Main Characters:

  • Stanley Yelnates
  • Hector Zeroni


A darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment, by the author of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. Stanley Yelnats's family has a history of bad luck, so he isn't too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys' juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake - it has been dry for over a hundred years - and it's hardly a camp. As punishment, the boys must each dig a hole a day, five feet deep, five feet across, in the hard earth of the dried-up lake bed. The warden claims that this pointless labor builds character, but she is really using the boys to dig for loot buried by the Wild West outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow. The story of Kissin' Kate, and of a curse put on Stanley's great-great-grandfather by a one-legged Gypsy, weaves a narrative puzzle that tangles and untangles, until it becomes clear that the hand of fate has been at work in the lives of the characters - and their forebears - for generations.
With this wonderfully inventive, compelling novel that is both serious and funny, Louis Sachar has written his best book to date.

Personal Recommendation:

  • This book shows how life choices can affect not only you but those around you.

Lesson plan: