This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Wrongly accused of stealing sneakers, Stanley Yelnats is sentenced to 18 months at Camp Green Lake correctional facility. The boys there dig holes daily in the hot sun, supposedly to "build character" — but Stanley soon discovers the warden is actually hunting for a treasure tied to Stanley's ancestors. As he masters his digging skills and rescues a fellow inmate, Stanley's self-confidence grows. He also discovers the treasure may be closer than anyone realizes. Flashback tales about Stanley's family history are woven through his Camp Green Lake experiences.
Characters in Stanley's flashbacks attribute physical healing to God and suggest that a tragic event was "God's punishment."
Other Belief Systems
Stanley and his dad halfway believe in a family curse supposedly placed on Stanley's great, great grandfather.
Counselors say, "What the h---?" and take God’s name in vain once. A fair amount of violence occurs as the warden hurts the counselors and inmates, the counselors point guns at the kids, and the kids fight each other. None of the violence is terribly descriptive.
In a flashback to the time of Stanley's great grandfather, a white schoolteacher kisses a black peddler she loves. The town lynches him.
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Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Newbery Medal, 1999; National Book Award for Young People's Literature, 1998; Christopher Award for Juvenile Fiction; ALA Notable Book; Publishers Weekly Notable Children's Book of the Year