Autobiographical traits, writing, and publication

Before Louis Sachar published the novel Holes, his books dealt with the everyday school life of children. In Holes, he wants to break away from this theme and try out a new setting for his teenage characters: a reform school for delinquent youths. 

Right around the time Sachar was planning his novel, his young daughter visited Alcatraz prison island and was genuinely fascinated by what she saw there. Sachar therefore thought children might be interested in the subject of a reform school. His law studies and his work as a lawyer certainly strengthened his knowledge of the subject matter and he was able to authentically portray such a penal system with all its legal peculiarities.

The idea for Holes thus sprang from a place rather than a planned plot or the characters who a...

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