Author Interviews, Book Resources

Internet Field Trip: Newbery Medal Winner Louis Sachar

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

The Newbery Medal has been given since 1922 "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children." The 1999 Newbery Medal winner was Holes, a book by Louis Sachar. Children's book lovers waited with great anticipation for the annual announcement of the award given by the American Library Association. Holes was also the 1998 National Book Award winner.

Louis Sachar is well-known to middle grade children for his Wayside School books and other humorous novels. Holes is something of a departure for him, a young adult mystery. Still, the book is very much recognizable as typical Sachar-style, full of deadpan humor. While young adult usually means ages twelve and over, I have found that Holes is very appealing to my ten-year-old students. After reading it myself and having several students tell me how much they liked the book, I recently began reading it aloud to my fourth graders. So far every single child has been riveted, curious about what will happen next.

For an excellent plot synopsis as well as a thoughtful commentary on the book's literary quality, read Betsy Hearne's review, published in The New York Times in November 1998. Or, to learn more about Louis Sachar and how he created Holes, visit the PBS NewsHour site to see Elizabeth Farnsworth's November 25, 1998 interview of Louis Sachar.

For those wishing to learn more about the award as well as how books like Holes are selected, visit the ALA's page on the Newbery award. Information on past Newbery award winners is available, too.

  • Subjects:
    Reading, Teacher Tips and Strategies, Technology