Marvin and Stuart get to sleep over at Nick Tuffle’s house for Nick’s birthday. They set out sleeping bags in the Tuffles’ backyard. Stuart and Nick fall right to sleep, but Marvin tosses and turns. Then he hears a noise, and something glowing zooms over his head. Is it really a flying birthday cake? Or something else? The next day, a very strange new kid shows up at school. . . .
About Louis Sachar
Newbery Award–winning author Louis Sachar is the creator of the entertaining Marvin Redpost books as well as the much-loved There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom, winner of 17 child-voted state awards.
Louis Sachar’s book Holes, winner of the 1999 Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award, is also an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, an ALA Quick Pick, an ALA Notable Book, and was made into a major motion picture.
A Few Words From Louis Sachar
Of all the characters from Holes, why did you choose to revisit Armpit in SMALL STEPS?
LS: I tend to write about underdogs. It seemed to me that life would be tough for an African-American teenager from a low-income family with a criminal record. Especially someone stuck with the name, "Armpit."
Although this new book is about a character from Holes, the two books are very different. How would you explain to a fan of Holes what to expect from SMALL STEPS?
LS: I can't. I'm no good at describing my books. Holes has been out now for seven years, and I still can't come up with a good answer when asked what that book is about.
Could you imagine future novels about any of the other boys?
Do you think about what Stanley is up to now?
LS: I don't think too much about Stanley or Zero. I left them in a good place. Although money doesn't bring happiness, or give meaning to someone's life, the problems Stanley and Zero face now (and I'm sure they do face many problems) are less interesting than those faced by someone like Armpit.
Plenty of teenagers fantasize about what it would be like to be a young rock star.
You portray it as lonely. Tell us about that decision.
LS: The media tends to portray the teenage world as one where drinking and sex is taken for granted. In fact, I think most teenagers don't drink, are unsure of themselves, and feel awkward around members of the opposite sex. I thought it was important to show Kaira, a rock star no less, as such a person. Her situation, in many ways, is made more difficult as she has no social contact with anyone her age. She is trapped in a world of agents, record producers, and hanger-ons.
I'm imagining that off all the books you've written, Holes is the one that has changed your life the most. Not only did it win the Newbery Medal, it's also simply a popular sensation. Is this assessment accurate? What is this novel's continuing impact on your life? Would you consider it the book that you are proudest of?
LS: Not counting Small Steps, I think Holes is my best book, in terms of plot, and setting, and the way the story revealed itself. It hasn't changed my life, other than that I have more money than I did before I wrote it. I'm still too close to Small Steps to compare it to Holes.
Why do you typically write only two hours each day?
LS: Small steps. Every time I start a new novel it seems like an impossible undertaking. If I tried to do too much too quickly, I would get lost and feel overwhelmed. I have to go slow, and give things a chance to take form and grow.
THE BOY WHO LOST HIS FACE
“Readers will empathize with David’s troubles and cheer his triumph in this delightful, funny book.”—Publishers Weekly
DOGS DON’T TELL JOKES
“Readers will laugh at Gary’s good jokes and groan at his clunkers while they cheer his transformation from goon to legitimate comedian.”—Booklist
—A Newbery Medal Winner
—A National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Award Winner
—A Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Winner for Fiction
—An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
—An ALA Notable Children’s Book
—An ALA Quick Pick
—A Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
—A Horn Book Fanfare
—A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
—A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
—A New York Times Book Review Notable Children’s Book of the Year
“We haven’t seen a book with this much plot, so suspensefully and expertly deployed, in too long a time. . . . Louis Sachar has long been a great and deserved favorite among children, despite the benign neglect of critics. But Holes is witness to its own theme: what goes around, comes around. Eventually.”—Starred, The Horn Book Magazine
“A multitude of colorful characters coupled with the skillful braiding of ethnic folklore, American legend, and contemporary issues is a brilliant achievement. There is no question, kids will love Holes.”—Starred, School Library Journal
MARVIN REDPOST: WHY PICK ON ME?
“The hilarious portrayal of grade-school relationships has tremendous child appeal.”—The Horn Book Magazine
MARVIN REDPOST: IS HE A GIRL?
“Sachar writes for beginning readers with a comic simplicity that is never banal. Here he gets a lot of fun out of the identity confusion, and kids will love the frankness about grade-school gender wars and social taboos.”—Booklist
MARVIN REDPOST: ALONE IN HIS TEACHER’S HOUSE
“Sachar’s finely tuned sense of how children think and feel make this fourth book about Marvin and his comic misadventures entertaining.”—The Horn Book Magazine
MARVIN REDPOST: A FLYING BIRTH DAY CAKE?
“Clipped sentences and short paragraphs are not only just right for new readers, they’re just right for the story-a smart, funny mist on the new-kid theme, reminding us that everyone feels alienated at one time or another.”—The Horn Book Magazine
THERE’S A BOY IN THE GIRLS’ BATHROOM
“A humorous and immensely appealing story.”—Kirkus Reviews