Last updated Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Author: Louis Sachar
Illustrator: Louis Sachar
Date of Publication: 1998
ISBN: 0374332657
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2004

Synopsis: Stanley Yelnats's family has a history of bad luck, so he isn't too surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a boys' juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake. There is no lake - it has been dry for over a hundred years - and it's hardly a camp.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What happens when you do something wrong?
•  What does punishment mean?
•  Have you ever been to sleep-away camp? what was that like?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Read this book only through chapter 9 or 10 if you can get that far - take the usual amount of reading time, but stop in the middle of the book. Tell children that the book will be available in the library if they want to find out the ending.
•  What do you think happens next?
•  The theme this month is Family - are there different kinds of families? Can friends be like a family? How were the children in this book like a family or not like a family (remember "Mom"?)

Craft ideas:
•  Make a shovel bookmark, and decorate with scene from book.
•  Draw a map of the camp from what you have learned from the book, and then cut it out into a puzzle. Exchange with someone else, and try to put their puzzle together.

Special activities:
•  If you were going to run a camp like the one in the book, what do you think the rules should be? Work together to come up with a list of rules, rights, laws, regulations, etc.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!