Louis Sachar
Louis Sachar.jpg
Born (1954-03-20) March 20, 1954 (age 67)
East Meadow, New York, U.S.
EducationAntioch College
University of California, Berkeley (BA)
University of California, Hastings (JD)
GenreChildren's fiction
Notable worksHoles
Johnny's in the Basement
Stanley Yelnats' Survival Guide to Camp Green Lake
Small Steps
Wayside School series
SpouseCarla 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]


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 3 college credits.[5] 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.[5]

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,"[5] 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."[6]

Sachar wrote the book at night over the course of nine months, during which he worked during the day in a Connecticut sweater warehouse.[5] 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.[7] 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.[8] By 1989, his books were selling well enough that Sachar was able to begin writing full-time.[5]

Sachar married Carla Askew,[9] 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),[5] 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."

On April 18, 2003, the Walt Disney film adaptation of Holes was released, which earned $71.4 million worldwide. Sachar himself wrote the film's screenplay. On November 19, 2005, the Wayside School series was adapted into a special, two years later becoming a TV show with two seasons.


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 2018-11-05.
  2. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1998". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-01-26.
    (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 2012-03-26.
  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 2015-10-29.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "AutLouis Sachar (louissachar.com). 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-14. Archived 2015-09-10.
  6. ^ "Louis Sachar Interview Transcript" Archived 2009-02-01 at the Wayback Machine. Scholastic Teachers (scholastic.com/teachers). February 23, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-18. Chats with students and teachers. With linked transcripts dated 2000 and 2005.
  7. ^ Strickland, Barbara (February 26, 1999). "Louis Sachar: Top of His Class", The Austin Chronicle 18.26. Retrieved 2007-07-24. Archived 2013-12-02.
  8. ^ Goodnow, Cecelia. "Author Louis Sachar returns with a spinoff of his kids classic, 'Holes'", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 10, 2006. Retrieved 2007-07-24.
  9. ^ McElmeel, Sharron L. (2005 [2000]). "An Award Winning Author: Louis Sachar" Archived 2008-07-20 at the Wayback Machine. First published in Book Report 18.4, Jan/Feb 2000, pp. 46–47. Archived 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2015-10-29.
  10. ^ "Pig City by Louis Sachar". The Bookbag (thebookbag.co.uk). October 24, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27.

External links