Author Feature-K A Holt


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

Middle School

Featured Author

K A Holt

K. A. Holt

House Arrest

K.A. Holt is the author of several books for young people, including HOUSE ARREST, a Bank Street Best Book of 2015, and RHYME SCHEMER, a Bank Street Best Book of 2014 and an Amazon Best Book for Kids and Teens. She lives in Austin, TX and eats a lot of tacos.



Find her on the web:





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Book Trailer


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Book Quiz

Printable Copy

  1. Timothy is on house arrest because he: 
    1. Got into a fight at school  
    2. Got caught with drugs  
    3. Stole a wallet and used the credit card  
  2. What is the purpose of a "trach"?   
    1. It is a superhighway  
    2. It lets a person breathe  
    3. It is used in the garden  
  3. Where did Mrs. B. place pillows on Timothy?  
    1. His feet and legs  
    2. His head and arms  
    3. His lap  
  4. Mrs. B. suggests Timothy apply for what to help his family finances?   
    1. A job for Timothy  
    2. Welfare  
    3. A Carnival of Giving
  5. The story of Levi's first birthday included: 
    1. Timothy and mom yelling at each other   
    2. A candle in vanilla yogurt  
    3. Using the emergency escape route
  6. What did Timothy's dad say was like the heart of the family?  
    1. His cell phone  
    2. His kids  
    3. His 70 inch TV
  7. What did Timothy's mom mean when she said "they found us more hours"?  
    1. She will work more hours  
    2. Timothy will have more hours on probation  
    3. Levi will have more time with nurses  
  8. The only doctor in the whole country that does the surgery Levi needs lives in what city?  
    1. Cincinnati  
    2. Austin  
    3. New York City
  9. Where is Timothy's "safe place"?  
    1. His room  
    2. Jose's garage  
    3. University of Texas football stadium
  10. What is "the turtle"?  
    1. A pet for Levi  
    2. An old car Jose and his dad are restoring  
    3. A charm on Isa's necklace




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Academic Program 

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents

Bank Accounts Worksheet 

Budget Development Template

Career Fields Worksheet

Expenses Worksheet

General Introduction to Academic Program


Many families find themselves in situations similar to Timothy's-a comfortable lifestyle is abruptly changed due to circumstances beyond their control. Trying to keep things as normal as possible for their children, while struggling to manage the stress all alone. Adults believe they are sheltering their children by "not burdening" them with the financial concerns.

In the book House Arrest, Timothy's brother is born with extreme medical issues. Then his father leaves. His mother is trying to keep up with the bills, and then she loses her job. Timothy knows there are financial problems: there is less food, his mom is working more hours (until she loses her job), and he is outgrowing his clothing. While he is not old enough to find a job himself, this is an opportunity to teach him about the costs of managing a household. This program will address some of the aspects of budgeting for a home and family.

Activity Title: Financial Affairs


  • Math 111.26. Grade 6 (14) (C)
  • Math 111.27. Grade 7 (13) (B) (D) (F)
  • Math 111.28. Grade 8 (12)

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • Living on a budget by Minden, Cecilia
  • Payday! by Beaton, Kathryn
  • Smart spending: the teens' guide to cash, credit, and life's costs by McGuire, Kara
  • The new totally awesome money book for kids (and their parents) by Bochner, Arthur Berg
  • Money sense for kids! by Harman, Hollis Page
  • The kids' money book: earning, saving, spending, investing, donating by McGillian, Jamie Kyle
  • Be smart about money: money management and budgeting by Gordon, Sherri Mabry
  • The teen money manual: a guide to cash, credit, spending, saving, work, wealth, and more by McGuire, Kara
  • Money Hungry by Sharon Flake
  • Mr. Chickee's Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

Activity Supply List

Detailed Description of the Activity

This program addresses components of household financial affairs in three lessons. Students will become involved in learning about careers, salaries, budgeting to meet the needs of a household, and methods of payment.

A. Budgeting Expenses:

Discuss the things students spend money on, listing items shared. Have the students group all their personal monthly expenses into categories (music, movies, clothes, school supplies, food, etc.)

Discuss the things the adults in their families spend money on, listing items shared. Have the students group all their family monthly expenses into categories (living expenses, transportation, insurance, house, etc.).

Create graphs to illustrate the family vs. individual expenses

Discuss: which expenses are "needs"? Which expenses are "wants"? Where are there more "needs": student expenses or family expenses

Materials: Worksheet "Family vs. Individual Expenses"/writing utensil for recording expenses

Graph making supplies: either paper and map colors/markers/crayons or use a spreadsheet and convert into graphs (You Tube instructions:

B. Budgeting Incomes:

Student incomes vs. family incomes

Discuss: What are some ways to earn income if a student is under the age of 16? 16 and older? Adults?

Are incomes higher with education? High school vs. GED? Bachelor's Degree vs. trade school graduate.

Activity: Provide a list of career fields. Using the site assign students the task of finding the yearly salary for a career. Once they have the salary, then have them develop a monthly budget for themselves, listing at least 5 five budget areas (food, utilities, rent, transportation, entertainment), and then determine the percentage of the total budget.

Materials: List of career fields. Paper or template for developing a budget. Calculator.

C. Choosing payment options

Query the class: Do you know if your family uses personal checks, debit cards, credit cards? Do you know why your family has made this choice?

Using the articles available here,, assign research into the pros and cons of using each. Students may record pros and cons, and then determine which is best for their use. Share findings.

Activity Resources

Worksheets: all linked in the Activity Supply Section

  • Family vs. Individual expenses
  • Career Fields
  • Bank Accounts-Which is better?

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians



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Active Programs

Printable Copy of Program

Supplemental Documents


In the book House Arrest, there are instances of repurposing items. Heavy pillows and a bowling ball are used to help Timothy express his feeling during counseling. Timothy wears a pair of jeans that are way too hot for a steamy summer day, so his social worker takes the jeans and cuts them off at the knee, repurposing them into a pair of weather appropriate shorts. At another point in the story, the day nurse introduces chains to be used in place of the cloth strips that hold Levi's trachea in place.

These are examples of repurposing, or upcycling-a quite popular activity of late.

Use some of the following activities to create an "Upcycling Affair". You can even take things a step further and donate items created to a local charity.

The following program can be offered all at once, set up as stations, or it can be offered one program at a time. These particular activities all use old t-shirts. Additional Upcycling Fair focus objects might include plastic shopping bags, plastic ware, wood pallets...there are many ideas to be found. Use the links provided to find a list of materials needed, to download instructions, and to search for additional upcycling projects for future programming.

Activity Title: "Upcycling Affair"

1. Upcycling for Fashion

Can't stand the thought of throwing away that favorite old t-shirt? Then it is time to upcycle it into a fashionable accessory you can be proud of!

Old T-shirts to shopping bags: Feb. 24, 2016

Old T-shirt to infinity scarf:

Old T-shirt to headband:

2. Upcycling for little ones

Need head coverage for that adorable baby? Or quick and easy baby shower gifts? Upcycle t-shirts to meet these needs.

Old T-shirt to baby hat:

3. Upcycling for pets

Is your new puppy anxious when you leave the room? The puppy doesn't want to sleep anywhere else but in your bed? Upcycle a t-shirt (preferably with your scent) into a toy that will keep the puppy occupied.

Old T-shirts to dog toys:

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • DIY T-Shirt Crafts: From Braided Bracelets to Floor Pillows, 50 Unexpected Ways to Recycle Your Old T-Shirts Paperback –by Adrianne Surian
  • Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt Paperback –by Megan Nicolay
  • The Upcycled T-Shirt: 28 Easy-to-Make Projects That Save the Planet Clothing, Accessories, Home Decor & Gifts Paperback –by Jenelle Montilone
  • Refashioned: Cutting-Edge Clothing from Upcycled Materials Hardcover –by Sass Brown
  • The Chloe by Design Series (Chloe by Design, The First Cut, Design Diva, Unraveling, Design Destiny)
  • Sequins, Secrets, and Silver Linings by Sophia Bennett.

Activity Supply List (Per Participant)

  • Patrons may bring in t-shirts, or t-shirts may be provided. Craft stores will sell them in bulk, and fairly inexpensively.
  • Old T-shirts to shopping bags: Cotton t-shirt, Scissors, Ruler
  • Old T-shirt to infinity scarf: Cotton t-shirt, Scissors, Ruler
  • Old T-shirt to headband: Cotton t-shirt, Scissors, Hot glue
  • Old T-shirt to baby hat: Cotton t-shirt, Scissors
  • Old T-shirts to dog toys: Two gently used t-shirts (preferably with your scent) and a pair of scissors.

Detailed Description of the Activity

For each activity, provide the following, per person:

  • A work space
  • Materials for the activity
  • There are step by step directions included in the links shared above.

Activity Resources 

Activity Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

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Passive Programs 

Program Printable Copy

Supplemental Documents

Career Match Game

General Introduction/Purpose of Program

From pre-teen to adulthood, people wrestle with their business affairs, especially career choices. Finding that "perfect fit" career isn't always easy, and many libraries are central to career searches. This self-directed program will include an introduction to those careers mentioned in House Arrest. The resources included may also be of further use for more in-depth career searches, beyond these ten careers.

Activity Title: Business Affairs

Activity Introduction

Many teens are beginning to enjoy the activities that cost money, and they begin to look into methods of making money so they can enjoy their passions. The best way to make money is with a job, and finding a job that suits their career goals can be daunting. This Activity will help them to learn about some careers they might enjoy as adults.

Books to Display or Book Talk

  • The success principles: how to get from where you are to where you want to be by Canfield, Jack
  • Careers-by DK
  • What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens, Third Edition: Discover Yourself, Design Your Future, and Plan for Your Dream Job Paperback – by Carol Christen, Richard N. Bolles
  • Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type -by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, Kelly Tieger
  • Job Search: Teen Interview Tips and Strategies to Get Hired – by Patricia Dorch

Activity Supply List

  • Match Game forms
  • Box for entries
  • Prize
  • Career pamphlets
  • Links to career information centers
  • Links to career personality test sites

Detailed Description of the Program

Set up a career corner area. In this area, display career pamphlets, earnings forecasts, area jobs available in the careers spotlighted. Set up links to different career personality trait websites.

1. Career Match Game:

Provide the Career Match Game form

Set up an entry box to collect submissions

Once forms are collected, choose one or more correctly completed forms, and give those entrants prizes.


A Career Match Game prize could be a free book related to careers: how to dress for success, how to write a resume, etc.

Resources (print and electronic)

Professional Resources (for librarian and teacher use)

Bulletin Board Ideas: Career Corner


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Created on Mar 31, 2016 | Last updated April 17, 2016