Louis Sachar is considered among the greatest modern writers in children’s literature. Famous for books such as Holes and the Wayside School series, Sachar developed interest in children while working as a teacher’s aide for college credits. He had to work as an attorney to support his career as an author till his books started selling well. Know more about the life and works of Louis Sachar through these 10 interesting facts.


#1 Louis credits his decision to become a writer to his elder brother Andy Sachar

Born on March 20, 1954, in East Meadow, New York, Louis Sachar was the second of two sons of Robert J. Sachar and his wife Ruth Raybin Sachar. His father was a salesman while his mother was a real estate broker. Louis had a close relationship with his elder brother Andy Sachar. Louis looked up to Andy and later cited him as the greatest influence on his life. He even gave credit to his brother for his decision to become a writer.

Louis Sachar in 2006
Sachar at the 2006 Texas Book Festival


#2 He developed a love for reading in High School

Louis attended Barnum Woods School in East Meadow, New York. When he was nine, his family moved to Tustin, California where he attended the Red Hill School. Sachar liked school and was a good student. It was in High School that he truly realized his love for reading. After graduating high school, Sachar attended Antioch College for a semester. However due to the sudden death of his father, he returned to California to live with his mother and enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley.

University of California at Berkeley
University of California at Berkeley


#3 He first developed an interest in children while working as a teacher’s aide

At Berkeley, Louis developed an interest in Russian literature and took up a Russian language course. After struggling with Russian for over a year, Louis dropped out of the class. Looking for a replacement for the Russian language class, Louis signed up to be a teacher’s aide at Hillside Elementary School to earn three college credits. Though he took the decision to earn easy credits without giving tests, it became his favorite class and was a life changing experience as it inspired him to write children’s books.

Hillside Elementary School, Berkeley, California
Hillside Elementary School, Berkeley, California


#4 His first book Sideways Stories from Wayside School was published in 1978

Sideways Stories From Wayside School Front Cover
Front Cover of the 1st Edition of Sideways Stories From Wayside School

Sachar graduated from Berkeley in 1976 with a degree in Economics. He moved to Norwalk, Connecticut where he worked in a sweater warehouse during the day and worked on his first book at night. After being fired from his job at the warehouse, Sachar joined the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California. During his first week of law school, his book Sideways Stories from Wayside School was accepted for publication.

#5 Characters of his first book were named after children at Hillside School

Set at an elementary school with supernatural elements, Sideways Stories from Wayside School contained very short stories about various kids. During his time at Hillside Elementary School, Sachar was the Noon Time Supervisor whose job was to watch over the kids during lunch. He played games with the kids who called him “Louis, the Yard Teacher”. The students in his first book were named after children he met at Hillside School and the book also has a character named “Louis the Yard Teacher”. However Sachar has said he drew little from personal experience.


#6 He initially worked as a California attorney to support himself as a writer

Front Cover of Sachar's Holes
Front Cover of Sachar’s award winning book Holes

As Sideways Stories from Wayside School didn’t sell very well upon publication, Sachar continued with his law degree. He graduated from Hastings College of Law in 1980 and passed the California Bar Exam the following year. Though he did part-time legal work to support himself, Sachar continued to write children’s books and began accumulating a fan base among young readers. By 1989, his books were selling well enough to allow him to stop practicing law and start writing full-time.

#7 Louis Sachar’s most famous novel is Holes

In 1998, his young adult mystery comedy novel titled Holes was published. It won many awards including the 1998 U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the 1999 Newbery Medal for the years’ “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. In 2012, Holes was ranked number 6 among all-time children’s novels in a survey published by School Library Journal. Holes is Sachar’s most famous work, has sold over 8 million copies worldwide and was made into a major motion picture of the same name by Disney.

#8 The Wayside series is among his most famous works

As of 2015, Louis Sachar has written twenty five books for children and young adults. Apart from Holes, his other famous books include the Wayside School series, which contains two more books other than his first work; There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom (1987); Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes (1991); and The Cardturner (2010). Several of his works appear in libraries and school reading lists throughout the United States. Louis Sacher has received many prestigious awards and honors for his writing.

Front cover of the first edition of There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom
Front cover of the first edition of There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom


#9 Sachar married Carla Askew in 1985

Louis Sachar and his daughter Sherre
Sachar with his daughter Sherre at their home in Austin

In the early 1980s while attending a book signing at Davis Elementary in Plano, Texas, Louis Sachar met Carla Askew, the school’s counselor. They fell in love and initially lived together in a small one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. In 1985, Louis and Carla got married and on January 19, 1987, their daughter Sherre was born. In 1991, Sachar and his family moved to Austin, Texas, where he continues to live with Carla, Sherre, and their two dogs, Tippy and Lucky.

#10 He is considered among the greatest modern children’s authors

Louis Sachar loves to play games, especially bridge and tennis. According to him, he had most fun writing his first book as at that time writing was just a hobby for him. He has said that the only reader he wants to please through his work is himself. According to his wife the reason behind the popularity of his works is his ability to tell stories from a kid’s point of view and to precisely capture the feelings and attitude of children. Another often cited reason for Sachar’s success is his not underestimating the intelligence of his young readers. Louis Sachar is considered among the greatest modern authors in children’s literature.


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