Holes by Louis Sachar
Winner, 1999 Newbery Award
Stanley Yelnats, unjustly accused of theft, digs character-building holes at the very dry, hot Camp Green Lake in Texas with other delinquent boys until he discovers a secret.
A lot of people don't believe in yellow-spotted lizards either, but if one bites you, it doesn't make a difference whether you believe in it or not.
About the Author
Louis Sachar is the author of twenty-five books for children and young adults. On his website she states that Kate Barlow from Holes is one of his favorite characters. He also shares that this book was the most difficult to write.
This project is more abstract than some I've made, but it seems to fit with the mystery uncovered in the book. The circles symbolize the holes the boys dig in the dry ground, bullet holes (a gun is used to shoot lizards), and the spots on the deadly lizard. I painted most of the background a mix of dark brown and black to give it some depth. (There is one symbolic spot of yellow that I wanted to add to keep this piece from being totally dark or dull. I think the yellow captures the humor and the danger in the book, as well as being a more literal symbol for the spotted lizard.) The top layer is paper clay that I painted white with a crackle finish. I like how it looks a bit like old leather, dry earth, or lizard skin.
This book is quite complex with a storyline in both the past and present intertwined. Right after I read the book, I attended the conference at Northern Colorado Writers where a speaker recommended this book as a great example of effective setting. There are many subtle elements mentioned at the beginning of the book that end up being major parts of the conclusion.
I watched the movie on Netflix after I read the book and found that it follows it fairly well, which is not too surprising since the author of the book also wrote the screenplay. There are lots of familiar faces in the cast (such as Henry Winkler) which made it fun to watch.
Readers: If you read this book, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.