Holes is Louis Sachar's fifth novel, and probably his most loved. The novel took Sachar a year and a half to write, and was published in 1998. Holes combined huge popular appeal with critical success, as Holes won or was nominated for almost twenty different awards, including the National Book Award (1998) and a Newbery Medal (1999). In 2012, Holes was voted the sixth best children's chapter book of all time by the School Library Journal.
A movie of the book, for which Sachar wrote the screenplay, was produced in 2003 by Walt Disney Pictures. Small Steps, which is not a direct sequel but follows the post-Camp Green Lake lives of some of Holes' minor characters, was published in 2006.
On the subject of the book's genre, scholar Laura Nicosia writes that Holes has been classified at different times as "realistic, a tall tale, a folk tale, a fairy tale, a children’s story, a postmodern novel, a detective fiction and an historical legend" - quite a list for what appears on the surface to be a relatively simple book for kids to read and enjoy. Although it is frequently taught in middle and high school, Holes has also been the subject of serious critical attention, particularly from scholars interested in its portrayal of the past and its postmodern, complex narrative style.
It seems that Holes belongs to that rare and special breed of children's books for grown-ups.