Louis Sachar

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Louis Sachar
Born (1954-03-20) March 20, 1954 (age 69)
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
GenreChildren's fiction
Notable works
Carla Askew
(m. 1985)
Official website

Louis Sachar (/ˈsækər/ SAK-ər;[1] born March 20, 1954) is an American young-adult mystery-comedy author. He is best known for the Wayside School series and the novel Holes.

Holes won the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People's Literature[2] and the 1999 Newbery Medal for the year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children".[3] In 2013, it was ranked sixth among all children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal.[4]


Sachar was born to a religious Jewish family in East Meadow, New York. As a child, he attended Hebrew school and Sunday school.[5][6] After graduating from Tustin 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 three college credits.[7] Sachar later recalled,

I thought it over and decided it was a pretty good deal. College credits, no homework, no term papers, no tests, all I had to do was help out in a second/third grade class at Hillside Elementary School. Besides helping out in a classroom, I also became the Noontime Supervisor, or "Louis the Yard Teacher" as I was known to the kids. It became my favorite college class, and a life changing experience.[7]

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,"[7] Sachar has said that he draws very little from personal experience, stating that ". ... my personal experiences are kind of boring. I have to make up what I put in my books."[8]

Sachar wrote the book at night over the course of nine months, during which he worked during the day in a Connecticut sweater warehouse.[7] 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.[9] 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.[10] By 1989, his books were selling well enough that Sachar was able to begin writing full-time.[7]

Sachar married Carla Askew,[11] 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),[7] and Stanley's lawyer in Holes.

When asked about whether he thought children have changed over the years, Sachar responded: "I've actually been writing since 1976, and my first book is still in print and doing very well."

Film and television[edit]

On April 11, 2003, Disney's film adaptation of Holes was released, which earned $71.4 million worldwide. Sachar himself wrote the screenplay, at the request of the film's director Andrew Davis, and has a brief on-screen cameo during one of the flashback scenes.[12] On November 19, 2005, the Wayside School series was adapted into an animated direct-to-video special. Two years later, it became a television series with two seasons, airing on the Canadian Teletoon and Nickelodeon in the U.S.


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. ^ "About". Louis Sachar. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1998". National Book Foundation. Retrieved January 26, 2012.
    (With acceptance speech by Sachar.)
  3. ^ 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 March 26, 2012.
  4. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  5. ^ "Louis Sachar: The "Hole" Truth | Behrman House Publishing".
  6. ^ Nolos, Alex (September 11, 2018). "Celebrate Rosh Hashanah With These 11 Amazing Jewish Authors!". bookstr.com. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Louis Sachar — Biography". September 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  8. ^ "Louis Sachar Interview Transcript" Archived February 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Scholastic Teachers (scholastic.com/teachers). February 23, 2006. Retrieved July 18, 2007. Chats with students and teachers. With linked transcripts dated 2000 and 2005.
  9. ^ "Louis Sachar: Top of His Class - Books - The Austin Chronicle". December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  10. ^ GOODNOW, CECELIA (January 10, 2006). "Author Louis Sachar returns with a spinoff of his kids classic, 'Holes'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  11. ^ McElmeel, Sharron L. (2005 [2000]). "An Award Winning Author: Louis Sachar" Archived July 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. First published in Book Report 18.4, Jan/Feb 2000, pp. 46–47. Archived July 20, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2015.
  12. ^ La Jeunesse, Marilyn (April 12, 2022). "18 things you probably didn't know about 'Holes'". Insider. Retrieved March 9, 2023.
  13. ^ "Pig City by Louis Sachar". The Bookbag (thebookbag.co.uk). October 24, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2009.

External links[edit]