Louis Sachar

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Louis Sachar
Louis Sachar.jpg
Sachar at the 2006 Texas Book Festival
Born (1954-03-20) March 20, 1954 (age 61)
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
Occupation Writer
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Hastings College of the Law
Genre Children's fiction
Spouse Carla Askew (1 child)

Louis Sachar (/ˈsækər/ SAK-ər; born March 20, 1954) is an American writer of children's books. He is best known for the Wayside School series and Holes.

Holes won the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature[1] and the 1999 Newbery Medal for the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children".[2] In 2012 it was ranked number six among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal.[3]


After graduating high school, Sachar attended Antioch College for a semester before transferring to University of California, Berkeley, during which time he began helping at an elementary school in return for college credit.[4] Sachar later recalled,

Sachar graduated from UC Berkeley in 1976 with a degree in Economics, and began working on Sideways Stories From Wayside School, a children's book set at an elementary school with supernatural elements. Although the book's students were named after children from Hillside and there is a presumably autobiographical character named "Louis the Yard Teacher,"[4] Sachar has said that he draws very little from personal experience, explaining that "....my personal experiences are kind of boring. I have to make up what I put in my books."[5]

Sachar wrote the book at night over the course of nine months, during which he worked during the day in a Connecticut sweater warehouse.[4] After being fired from the warehouse, Sachar decided to go to law school, around which time Sideways Stories From Wayside School was accepted for publication. The book was released in 1978; though it was not widely distributed and subsequently did not sell very well, Sachar began to accumulate a fan base among young readers.[6] Sachar graduated from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in 1980 and did part-time legal work while continuing to write children's books.[7] By 1989, his books were selling well enough that Sachar was able to begin writing full-time.[4]

Sachar married Carla Askew,[8] an elementary school counselor, in 1985. They live in Austin, Texas, and have a daughter, Sherre, born January 19, 1987. Sachar has mentioned both his wife and daughter in his books; Carla was the inspiration for the counselor in There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom (1988),[4] and Stanley's lawyer in Holes.

When asked about whether he thought children have changed over the year, Sachar responded: "I've actually been writing since 1976, and my first book is still in print and doing very well. ... I don't think kids have changed."[9]


Wayside School
Marvin Redpost
  • Kidnapped at Birth? (1992)
  • Why Pick on Me? (1993)
  • Is He a Girl? (1993)
  • Alone In His Teacher's House (1994)
  • Class President (1999)
  • A Flying Birthday Cake? (1999)
  • Super Fast Out of Control! (2000)
  • A Magic Crystal? (2000)
Holes series
Other books


  1. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1998". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
    (With acceptance speech by Sachar.)
  2. ^ a b "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". Association for Library Service to Children. (ALSC). American Library Association (ALA).
      "The John Newbery Medal". ALSC. ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-26.
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Retrieved 2015-10-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Author Bio". Louis Sachar (louissachar.com). 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-14. Archived 2015-09-10.
  5. ^ "Louis Sachar Interview Transcript". Scholastic Teachers (scholastic.com/teachers). February 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-18. Chats with students and teachers. With linked transcripts dated 2000 and 2005.
  6. ^ Strickland, Barbara (February 26, 1999). "Louis Sachar: Top of His Class", The Austin Chronicle 18.26. Retrieved 2007-07-24. Archived 2013-12-02.
  7. ^ Goodnow, Cecelia. "Author Louis Sachar returns with a spinoff of his kids classic, 'Holes'", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 10, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  8. ^ McElmeel, Sharron L. (2005 [2000]). "An Award Winning Author: Louis Sachar". First published in Book Report 18.4, Jan/Feb 2000, pp. 46–47. Archived 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  9. ^ http://www.npr.org/2015/08/02/427113842/kids-love-to-be-scared-louis-sachar-on-balancing-fun-and-fear
  10. ^ "Pig City by Louis Sachar". The Bookbag (thebookbag.co.uk). October 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 

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