Thursday, May 23, 2024


by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Louis Sachar

There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. When unlucky Stanley Yelnats is sent there as a punishment for a crime he didn’t commit, he finds himself digging holes in the relentless heat. His own family story, and that of the outlaw Kissin’ Kate Barlow, become intertwined as he digs away to find out the truth.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • The characters in Holes are mostly known by nicknames rather than their real names; invent appropriate new names for some of the characters.
  • Write one of Stanley’s letters home. Remember that in these, he tells his parents what he thinks they want to hear rather than the truth!
  • Design a wanted poster for Kissin’ Kate Barlow.
  • Write a character profile for one of the characters.
  • Write a newspaper report of Stanley’s trial.
  • Make a storyboard for one of the timelines in the book.
  • Why is the book called Holes? Can you think of an alternative title?
  • Watch the film version and make a list of things that are different in the film to the book. Why do you think that is? Which do you prefer?
  • Draw a map to show how Stanley’s character changes throughout the book.
  • Louis Sachar has written a guide to surviving Camp Green Lake. Can you write your own guide?
  • Choose two characters from the book and write a list of similarities and differences.
  • Make a list of the adjectives used to describe Camp Green Lake on the first page of the book. Using a thesaurus, add synonyms to this list.
  • Write a report about conditions at Camp Green Lake.
  • Make a list of ways in which characters in the book are lucky and unlucky.


  • Make up some maths problems around digging holes. For example, if it takes one boy 5 hours to dig 1 hole, how long will it take 2 boys to dig 6 holes? If each hole is 1.5metres (approximately 5 feet) across, and there has to be a gap of 1 metre between holes,  what is the maximum number of holes that could be dug in an area 5m x 5m?


  • Water is a precious resource, especially at Camp Green Lake. Research the reasons why water is so important to live and present them as a poster or information leaflet.
  • Make a presentation about poisonous animals. What mechanisms are used to deliver poisons? Why are some animals poisonous?


  • Use art software to produce a picture of the cabin at Camp Green Lake.
  • Take a series of photos of a person digging a hole, then use software such as Windows Movie Maker to stitch them together into a short time-lapse film.

Design Technology

  • Make a list of different ways of preserving food, including Kate Barlow’s spiced peaches.
  • Design some new sneakers for Clyde Livingston.
  • Stanley’s dad is trying to invent a way to recycle sneakers. Find out how items are recycled in your local area.



  • Compose a melody for the song “If only, if only, the moon speaks no reply.”


  • Make a fact file about the state of Texas.
  • Research a lake that has dried up. This site is a good place to start.
  • Using information from the book, draw a map of Camp Green Lake and the area around it.


  • The lives of millions of people in the USA were impacted by the “Jim Crow” laws, which prevented black people from having the same rights as white people. Research and film a presentation about these laws and how they were removed through the efforts of the civil rights movement. This Kiddle page is a good starting point.

Physical education

  • Digging holes helps Stanley to get fitter and stronger. Design a gymnastics routine that builds strength in your arms and upper body. For example, include a balance on your arms or a vault over a box.


  • In the final chapter, Stanley and Zero each receive nearly 1 million dollars. If you were them, what would you spend it on?
  • One of the themes of the book is friendship. In what ways do friends support each other in the book?
  • Kate Barlow and Sam are not able to have a relationship due to racism. What can we do to value difference and diversity?
  • Do you think that any of the boys should have been sent to Camp Green Lake? What other punishments might have been appropriate?

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