Holes by Louis Sachar: Letters home from each of the main characters
When Kirsten went to Year 7, the very first recommended read in English was Holes by Louis Sachar. A fantastically brilliant read, Holes is a 1998 young adult novel whose plot centers on Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to Camp Green Lake, a correctional boot camp in a desert in Texas, after being falsely accused of theft. It explores the history of the area and how the actions of several characters in the past have affected Stanley's life in the present. These interconnecting stories touch on themes such as racism, homelessness, illiteracy, and arranged marriage. Here's the blurb for you to enjoy. It is totally recommended for KS2/KS3 so ages 9+
Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so when a miscarriage of justice sends him to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre (which isn't green and doesn't have a lake) he is not surprised. Every day he and the other inmates are told to dig a hole, five foot wide by five foot deep, reporting anything they find. Why? The evil warden claims that it's character building, but this is a lie. It's up to Stanley to dig up the truth.
Witty, inventive and completely unique, this is a masterpiece of storytelling that combines sly humour with irresistible, page-turning writing.
So when we saw this Instagram post by Claire Sleath of Primary Bookstagram, Kirsten couldn't resist taking up one of the writing inspiration activities suggested for KS2 pupils. Of the 5 activities suggested, Kirsten chose to write letters home from each of the main characters. If you have read holes, you will enjoy this blog, if you haven’t you will enjoy this post and it will definitely create an urge to read the book. So c’mon! What are you waiting for?
Dear Foster Home,
It is me, Hector. Well, the boys call me ‘Zero’ because I don’t like to speak around them. Good news, I learnt how to write! Not on my own though, my mate Stanley Yelnats taught me. For return, I dig his holes. Dig, dig, dig. All we do is dig. It is not too bad here. We get water. The sun is hot which makes me sweat loads but I guess it is better than some other places on the earth. Stanley is helping me write this. He says “hello”. He also says to tell you about how evil Warden Walker is, the head of this place. Anyways, I need to dig more holes now.
Bye and sorry,
—————————————————————Dear Mom and Dad,
Hi, it’s me, Stan. I hope you’re all doing okay and I hope dad’s given the “cure for foot odor” invention a rest.
I’m decent. Of course, it’s not Hollywood over here, after all this is my punishment (for something I didn’t do by the way). However, from what I’ve heard from the boys, this is one of the best camps around in terms of harshness. Sure, we have to dig holes everyday under the scorching hot sun until we get cramps and backs start to break. And sure, we only get water every not so often and get seeds as a snack. And sure, our rooms are tight and compact so we’re all basically sleeping on top of each other. But at least we’re alive.
Warden Walker seems like an okay, but strict leader but she’s really not. I got in trouble this one time and I was taken to her office. Marion was there too. When she was telling me off, Marion got in her way or annoyed her. Probably both. Walker slapped him hard across the cheek but Marion reacted very differently to how you would if you were slapped normally. I think it’s something to with the warden’s nails...Poison maybe? I don’t know, it feels like I’ve been going crazy with exhaustion and heat the second i got here.
I have to end it here, Marion will cut off my water allowances if I don’t get back to digging. Stay safe.
Love from, Stanley x
PS. I didn’t steal the shoes for the 100th time!
Hi mum, it’s Rick, although I go by ‘ZigZag’ now. I’m still your tall lanky boy, although I must’ve grown taller by now. I don’t really know what else to tell you, to be honest. It’s very hot here and we dig deep holes everyday. That’s about it.
Love you lots, Zigzag
Hey pops, it’s Theo. I go by ‘Armpit’ now though...heh. Life is good, out here in the hood. I’m the leader of all these boys. But what were you expecting?
X-ray is my best mate. The other’s are cool too. There’s Squid and Magnet. Oh and Zero, of course. I gave him that nickname because he doesn’t talk. As in, ever talk. Doesn’t bother me though, just another boy to take charge of! I tackled the new guy, Stanley or something though we all call him Caveman
Hope y’all are doing okay without me, I’ll be home soon.
Love from Armpit
Hey mom, it’s me Alan! I go by Squid now, cause I still have gas issues. I don’t eat standing though I swear.
Hi dad, how’s it going? It’s Jose. I know I haven’t written in a while. How’s Rupert doing? You know, the dog I stole? Yeah, him…
I’m doing okay. The boys and I are tight. They even gave me the nickname ‘magnet’ because I steal loads of things, haha! It’s so hot here and all we do is dig day in, day out. I miss you guys so so much and can’t wait to see you all again, even if none of you wanna see my face.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Hey guys! It’s Rex, or X-Ray as i’ve been labelled for having these 30 cm wide glasses. I’m doing okay, I guess. I managed to make friends and not be called a nerd.
All we do is dig every single day. It can get boring but I guess it’s better than juvy. I was the first to be sent here so it was hard living with Marion and Marion only. But the boys came later, like my good friend Armpit.
It’s so hot here and we barely ever get to rehydrate. Plus, we get seeds for snacks. Seeds! I guess, it’s my punishment.
I’m still sorry about what I did and I hope you guys will forgive me one day.
Much love, Rex.