One of my goals in March was to read all the Newbery Medal winners since I was born (1995) and while I didn’t quite meet that goal due to the library I work at shutting down with many of the 1997-2006 books inside, I was so eager to see Holes was on my up and coming TBR list! This is a book that is read by most middle schoolers these days, and when I posted in my intern housing GroupMe that we were going to be watching the film one night in the fall of 2018, I had a dozen people crammed into my living room to watch. It’s the film you totally forget about for years and then cannot stop watching once it starts–and it all came from the book that won the 1999 Newbery Medal.
Stanley Yelnats isn’t so surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a juvenile detention center. After all, his family has been ridden with bad luck ever since a one-legged gypsy put a curse on his great-great grandfather. He is told that the hard labor he must perform, digging five-foot holes in the dried up soil where Green Lake once sat, is meant to build character. But it soon becomes clear to Stanley that the warden is really using the boys to search for something very valuable. The story of the hidden treasure, along with the warden, Stanley’s friend Zero, and the curse on the Yelnats family are all part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel.
This book is so good! It makes readers out of so many young people, including young boys, and we cannot thank it enough for that. Plus, it’s got history, mystery, and a desert, so what’s not to love?
Remember when Shia LaBeouf was the Disney Boy du jour? Wow, what a time. It’s insane to think there are high school seniors that weren’t walking yet when this movie was released in 2003. The movie also features Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Tim Blake Nelson, and a bunch of young male actors I haven’t heard much from in years. But this is as close to a classic film as 21st Century Disney may ever get, and for that I’m thankful. It really captures the spirit of the book.