As I said earlier, I am starting a new—feature? Section? Tag? I'm not sure what to call it, or even what it is, but I do know why I'm doing it, even if I don't know what to call it. I'm doing it because sometimes you just get bogged down in reading things that aren't so great. And you think to yourself, "Well, it's pretty good," and "Maybe I'm too critical," and "Maybe I expect too much." You might think "It's me—I'm just too tired to enjoy this properly" or "my expectations were probably too high."
But when you read something really great, all doubt falls away. The book lives. All you want to do when you're not reading it is to get back to reading it. It's a whole world.
People who can create these whole worlds—people who can do it over and over and over, for different age groups, who can connect (seemingly) effortlessly with kids through some crazy organ between their shoulder blades (note: this is just a theory)—these are the great ones.
Like Louis Sachar.
The first book I ever read of his was Holes, and it was awesome. Then Diana fell in love with Sideways Stories from Wayside School. She would declaim it throughout the house, thrilled. She brought it home from school over and over again. OK, I said to myself. He can write the awesome serious-ish novel and the crazy zany stories for younger kids—OK. He's versatile.
And that's when I read Don't Pick on Me, part of the Marvin Redpost series. A book about a kid accused of picking his nose. And I realized: Louis Sachar was always awesome.
How does he do it? Ah, if I only knew. There's something quintessentially unafraid about his writing, something honest and true and freakishly authentic. There's a there there, if you know what I mean.
And so today here on a random Thursday in May on the Diamond in the Window, we honor him. Because it's a wonderful thing that there is greatness out there. It makes the rest of the world almost OK.
3 thoughts on “The Great Ones: Louis Sachar”
My 8 year old son was taking an international trip with his Dad this past Christmas break. I gave him a Kindle for the trip, and “snuck” HOLES on to his library.
I think he’s read it 5 times since then. He just loves it!
Roald Dahl, Louis Sachar – can’t wait to see who is next. EL Konigsburg, perhaps?
Yes, that alternate “whole world” can be so attractive. Although sometimes, at least for us adult readers, what we desire is a way to figure out more about our “real” world. Either way, what we’re after is a deep, enchanting engagement.
I was thinking about this when I read this: http://gothamschools.org/2012/05/04/at-democracy-prep-counting-words-adds-up-to-literacy-growth/
These folks may be well intentioned, but they are so on the wrong track, IMO. They need to think about the greatness that you are talking about…
My son’s third grade teacher always has a read-aloud book handy for those times when they have a few minutes between activities. I’ve volunteered in there a few times and been able to see how quickly they gather on the carpet, so excited to hear the next part of the book. She’s read “Holes” and another Sachar book, and they’ve been just amazing in the way they speak to the kids, a very diverse group sitting on the floor, so engaged in the experiences of another person more or less like them. The kids and adults both seem so real, and the emotions definitely are.