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Operation Yes

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No one in her sixth-grade class knows quite what to make of Ms. Loupe, with her short hair, her taped square "stage" on the floor, and the interest in improvisational theatre. After all, their school is on an Air Force base--a place that values discipline more than improv. But her students soon come to love her fresh approach; and when her dear brother goes missing in Afghanistan, and Ms. Loupe herself breaks down, they band together to support their teacher. What starts as a class fundraiser expands into a nationwide effort for all injured troops, and an amazing vision of community and hope.

256 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2009

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About the author

Sara Lewis Holmes

3 books83 followers
Sara Lewis Holmes is the author of The Wolf Hour, which brings together a wolf, three pigs, a witch, and a headstrong girl in a story, and Stories, you've never seen before but will recognize deep within. It's gorgeously written, fiendishly clever, and full of heart to balance out its brain -- a perfect middle-grade read for fans of fairy tales and fierce storytelling.

Sara is also the author of Operation Yes, which ALA's Booklist called "purest stagecraft: quick, funny, sad, full of heart, and irresistibly absorbing." It was also named as one of Booklist's Top Ten Arts Books for Kids 2009.

Operation Yes was a Cybils finalist in the Middle Grade Fiction category and the audio version won a 2010 Audie award for the best audiobook for kids, ages 8-12. Listen to an excerpt here.

The Provo Library Review says:

Operation Yes is filled with riches: caring, loving parents, a multileveled portrait of what it is like to live in a military family, sympathetic and well-developed characters, sorrows, laughter, growing up, and thousands of LGMs (you'll see). Contemporary realistic juvenile fiction of the highest order.

Sara is also the author of Letters From Rapunzel (HarperCollins) which won the Ursula Nordstrom Fiction prize.

Author photo by Sonya Sones, 2010

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5 stars
333 (28%)
4 stars
376 (32%)
3 stars
299 (25%)
2 stars
104 (9%)
1 star
39 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 3 books83 followers
June 7, 2009
Yes, I've read it. About a gazillion times. :)
February 7, 2021
Good read for middle-grade readers. Presents an excellent message about the importance of community service. The moments of improvisational acting done with the teacher, Miss Loupe, were hysterical!
Profile Image for Ann.
96 reviews11 followers
September 5, 2017
This was a challenge to read aloud as the dialogue goes back and forth so quickly. My son often asked, "who said that?" Regardless it is a nice story but more importantly shines a light on a group that I've never read a book about before: active duty military kids growing up on military bases.
Profile Image for Sandra Stiles.
Author 1 book68 followers
November 11, 2009
I’m not really sure what I expected from this book when I got it but I definitely loved it. I could relate to this on some levels. I have had three nephews and a brother in Iraq. I had a student whose mother was sent to Korea and she was sent to live with her grandmother for a year and attended my school. Last year one of our teachers was called back up and deployed to Iraq. I have had students who seemed excited they were going to another country and some who were upset because they were moving again. I know the fear these students face wondering about the safety of their loved one. I am have been put on alert twice by my son. I am one of the lucky ones, his deployment has be put on hold for the time being. That is why I related to this book.

Ms. Loupe is not your average sixth grade teaches. She has a tattoo on her back. Of all things her students think her class is fun. Her first day, she took attendance while taping a large rectangle onto the floor. She then proceeded to step into it and ask questions that made her students question her sanity. They learn all kinds of things as they take turns in the Taped Space. Her dream is to create an improve theater. Students learn that she had been in the Air Force Academy but dropped out. Her brother is currently serving in Afghanistan. Bo has been in trouble in years past but now his cousin Gari is coming to stay with his family while her mother, a nurse is shipped to Iraq.

The Taped space allowed the kids an outlet for facing uncertainties and fears. She teaches her students to look at things from different angles to better understand them. This is a great inquiry technique. When something happens to her own brother her students step up to help her.

This book was to be put on the bottom of my Cybils stack to be read. One of my students picked it up from my desk the day I received it. He is one of my reluctant readers. He asked me if I was finished with it because it looked like a book he would really enjoy reading. I told him I had not started it and he asked me, “Do you think you could have it done by tomorrow?” I read the book during my first two periods so that I could give it to him during my 5th period. As I handed it to him I thanked him and told him I had it on the bottom of my list until he asked for it, which forced me to read it early. I told him I really enjoyed it and knew that he would too.







99 reviews
April 5, 2021
So, I have read this book multiple times, and it never gets old.

This is a contemporary story about the sixth grade of a school on an Air Force base.

First off, it gives you a peek into that world, of how truly scary it can be to move all the time, or to worry that your loved ones might not come home.

Secondly, it’s a great call to action. It reminds us that everyone is going through something, and that kindness and consideration go a long way.

Plus, Ms. Loupe is the kind of person that just makes you want to smile. She is DEFINITELY the teacher you want in sixth grade!

The writing is very well done! I look forward to reading it again. Highly recommend!!!
9 reviews1 follower
December 19, 2012
My Fifth grader and I tackled this book together. He had started to read it for an assignment. In fact, he was supposed to read it for an oral book report. He made it half way through and wanted to give up. The book is 250 pages long and he had not even made it to the main conflict. I stepped in and began reading aloud to him. Suddenly he was reinterested. The plot began to evolve and after I filled my son with lot's of guilt for not giving the poor book or author a chance, he realized that he would have missed out on an unusual story.
Profile Image for Kesha.
690 reviews6 followers
November 24, 2013
Oh to teach like Ms. Loupe; this is my goal. I want to inspire reluctant learners in the same fashion. This story is phenomenally encouraging and brings together meaningful elements of life; education and military.
Profile Image for Adam .
313 reviews60 followers
February 5, 2010
I didnt like the story that well, but I felt a very strong connection to the characters. Espically Mrs. Loupe. She reminded me of my 3rd and 6th grade teachers.
1 review1 follower
March 14, 2013
Well I really didn't like it because it was too slow in the beginning and never really got good
Profile Image for Heather.
986 reviews
December 10, 2017
I loved the aspect of including improv theater in teaching. I would have loved to have a teacher like Miss Loupe, with a taped-rectangle "stage" and a funky couch as a prop in her classroom, who used theater in her teaching. (I remember my sixth-grade teacher had a box of plays in our room that we could rehearse in our free time. A group of us even performed one of those plays, complete with tons of miniature pancakes topped with Karo syrup found in the teachers' lounge, as a last-minute substitute for maple syrup. Oh, the stickiness!)

Anyway, it was also interesting to read a story told from the perspective of military families. It would be so different to always know that you aren't going to be in one place for very long. The author is married to an Air Force pilot, and moved many times, and therefore has firsthand experience.

My favorite quote from this book: "'There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.' It's from a song... One of Marc's [Miss Loupe's brother] favorites... Marc was trying to tell me that cracks are painful, but they can bring good things too."

Three stars because the books seems a little disjointed. It has lot of good ideas, but they don't seem to come together quite seamlessly. But it's still a good read.

G
Profile Image for Dianna.
274 reviews3 followers
May 2, 2021
I listened to this book on CD and found following along difficult at times. Reading it may be another experience as the story is told in 3rd person omniscient.

This is set in modern day on a military base and the 6th graders in the story all deal with moving, family members being deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and so on. The main character is always in trouble at school, which is not good since is dad is in charge of the command post where he lives. In addition, he has a cousin come live with his family since her mom is deployed - but the two of them have never been very fond of each other--she doesn't want to be there any more than he doesn't want her.

They share an interesting teacher who has a brother serving in the war, and work together as different obstacles come their way. The teacher helps students see things differently.

Best for upper elementary and early middle school students.
Profile Image for Anna.
6 reviews
May 15, 2013
**Spoiler Alert!!**
Bo: He is a teacher's pet and is Gari's cousin.
Gari: She's Bo's cousin, who has to move to live with Bo.
Mrs. Loupe: The new sixth grade teacher that is a fun teacher.
Trey: Bo's best friend.
Melissa: Bo's classmate that helps with the rebellion.

In the beginning, Mrs. Loupe is introduced. The class is wondering why she is putting tape on the floor. She tells them it is a stage, and starts teaching them improv. Gari finds out that she has to go live with her cousin because her mom was called back to be a nurse in the army. She is upset about that. She wants to get some sort of disease so her mom will stay home and not go to the army. Bo is not happy about it either. Gari called her friend and told her the bad news. She was, at the time, Her friend's campaign manager for class president. Gari said they could work something out so she could still be her manager away from home, so she would win. Bo didn't tell anyone about Gari coming. He figured they would ask him lots of questions about her. The class was afraid Mrs. Loupe would act weird again after lunch. She did, and the class was not surprised.

Mrs. Loupe had a tattoo that the boys were drawing at lunch. Hog Heaven was a favorite restaurant at the school. Their fifth grade teacher, Mr. Nix, was mean, in Bo's point of view. Mrs. Loupe asked Bo and Trey to help her with something. That's when they found out about the Ugly, Ugly Couch. It had stared in a movie. Gari says she can stay with her friend, Tandi, but her mom wants her to stay with family. Gari doesn't really love her mother right know. Mrs. Loupe told them about her brother, Marc, who was away fighting in a war. He sends them something to do for improv. Mrs. Loupe tells them that everyone in her family took up wars except for her. She hasn't spoken to her father in years. She teaches them how to fall on command. Mrs. Loupe teaches them that cracks are important, and gives them and assignment to find cracks. Marc asked her to collect things for the kids in Afghanistan. They love the assignment because it helps them think of things to bring in for the kids. Bo's dad made a deal with him. If Bo was better in school, he would get to met the Flying Farmer, who is Bo's favorite person at the air show.

Gari watches her mom pack for the trip to the army. She has to help sometimes. Her mom is making sure she sends pictures from North Carolina, where she is going to live. Gari is trying to get her mom not to go, but she refuses.

Mrs. Loupe closed the Taped Space. She told the class to not let her go in. They all shouted out things trying not to let her go in. Mrs. Heard said they had to get rid of the Ugly, Ugly Couch before the School Commission came. Everyone was talking in protest. Mrs. Loupe said she would ask Mrs. Candy if they culd put the couch behind the reading castle in the library. Before Dillon left, Mrs. Loupe said he could sign his name, along with others, on the bottom of the couch. Mrs. Loupe said they were going to have a improv camp next summer. Bo stopped listening after that. Bo was going to be gone next summer.

Gari's mother gave her a Army figure that her Army commander had given her before she left. She left so she could take care of Gari. Gari didn't want to cry in front of all of the people at the airport, so she didn't say anything. Gari starts to come up with a plan b.
Bo tells Gari how "stupid" Mrs. Loupe's class is, even though he truly loves it. Gari is upset that she has to go to school on Friday. She went into the classroom looking for her new class, but they weren't in there. She fell asleep on the Ugly, Ugly Couch. Mr. Nix's class came in and found her on the couch. During the fire alarm went off, she went outside with Mr. Nix's class to wait for the all clear. Mr. Nix told her to go to the office and report that she had been found without a class in an empty classroom. She turned the wrong way and ended up in the cafeteria.

When she got to the office, she called her aunt. Her aunt told her to just try to hang in there. Bo made her throw up. When they got home, Bo got in trouble. One night, Bo wanted to go to Hog Heaven, but Gari said she wasn't feeling good and she was a vegetarian, so she politely refused. Her aunt said they had vegetarian options. They went.

In the abandoned bathroom in the kindergarten hall, Gari started her act of rebellion. She super-glued plastic army figures on the floor and put red paint by them and put it in the toilets. She wrote her name on the windows and doors with paint. No one noticed.

One day, after the school commission came, Mrs. Heard came in with bad news for Mrs. Loupe. She ran out of the room, crying. She dropped her loupe outside. The kids asked what had happened. Mrs. Heard told them that Mrs. Loupe's brother was reported missing.

Gari finally told Bo about what she did. He told Trey and Melissa. They started a program. It went viral. One soldier was $1. Their goal was $1,000,000. It went across America. They reached their goal. The Military found Mrs. Loupe's brother. He was hurt. Some of his partners died.

When Mrs. Loupe came back, they put on a play in the cafeteria. It was and improv play. Gari was a new Army recruit. She didn't have a speaking role. She pretended that she didn't know what she was doing. It was a good play.

At the end, it talks about her next year. She did the same things that she did at the beginning of last year. They talked about Bo and Gari. That was the end of the book.

This was a very good book. I recommend it for anyone who likes plays or the military.
12 reviews
January 31, 2018
I thought this book was amazing in my opinion it really made me want to be grateful that my parent and I aren't in the army because then I would have to find new friends. Also this book seems very real at times because of how well the story was composed an example of this was when Gari was in the stinky bathroom setting up army guys and painting stripes of fake blood. It also had a great theme and the theme was to me know matter what if you like someone or if you don't like someone you should stick to you plan an continue to move forward. My favorite part was when they raised the a fundraiser called LGM (little green men).
Profile Image for Autumn.
235 reviews
May 3, 2018
Good preteen read set in a middle-school on an Air Force base. When their teacher gets some bad news about her brother serving in Afghanistan, the students use the creativity, imagination, and improv she taught them to rally together and help her out. Good example of how a group of students can use their ingenuity to help their school and tighten their community. Positive message and good writing.
Profile Image for Lucas.
3 reviews
March 27, 2020
Operation yes is not good. This book by Sara Holmes struggles to keep the story interesting. While the idea behind a bunch of kids trying to help their crazy teacher is good, the execution is awful. One of the worst parts is the lack of character development. Although Bruno is slightly more mature by the end, there are no major differences between the characters by the end of the story with the exception of Mrs. Loupe. Also the plot is super complicated. It starts out simple, but once they start Operation yes there is no clear goal. It starts off trying to help Mrs. Loupe and then it becomes trying to raise money for wounded soldiers. Overall this book suffers from a lack of development and an uninspiring story. I would give this a 2/5.
3 reviews
December 5, 2017
I rated this book a 2 because although it is kinda relatable to what kids do , it doesn’t really all happen at once. I would recommend this book to a 6th grader so they can see how they act. It shows that a kid is going through family problems and is also managing school. I like that they come together at the end to help each other .
572 reviews1 follower
September 13, 2022
The sixth graders really like their teacher, even though the School Commission has doubts about her. They decide to do a fundraiser after her brother is wounded in Afghanistan. They all come from military families, so they know it could be their loved one next.
They know they will all be moving this year or next.
Profile Image for Emily.
85 reviews1 follower
June 10, 2021
ADORED the excitement, the humor, and the development of characters! I thought the book was practically perfect!!! 👁️ 💝 📙!!! (reference to the book:) All the time... If you haven't read the book I hope you enjoy it!
Profile Image for S Brunning.
56 reviews1 follower
November 7, 2018
FINALLY finished it. Not really a fan of this book or style of writing or characters or plot or... You get the idea.
Probably wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books478 followers
November 13, 2012
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes is one of a number of new books just out that focus on issues relating to war in the Middle East. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are touching more and more lives here in the U.S., and many authors have taken on the challenge of including these current events in their new novels.

OPERATION YES takes place here in the States on an Air Force base. Bo's father is one of the commanding officers at the base, and Bo attends the base school. Not a model student, Bo is not looking forward to the new school year, but he has promised his father he will at least try to behave.

Miss Loupe is a new teacher at the school. One of the first things she shares with her students is the fact that she and her brother, Marc, once lived on the base and attended the school where she now teaches. Bo becomes fascinated with Miss Loupe's teaching strategies as he watches her actions on his very first day in her class.

All the students are surprised and puzzled as they watch her tape off a large rectangle on the floor of their classroom, and then drag in an ugly, old couch. The taped off area and the ugly couch soon become the center of their afternoon activities. Miss Loupe is a master of improv theater, and she is determined to get each of her students involved.

Something else new in Bo's life is the arrival of his cousin, Gari. Gari's mother, a nurse, has been deployed to Iraq, and Gari has come to live with Bo and his family on the base. She isn't happy about leaving her Seattle home and friends to trek across the country to the east coast, and it doesn't help that she is worried sick about her mother's safety in Iraq. Gari quickly begins hatching a plan that might either get her sent back to Seattle or bring her mother home.

Bo is also dealing with deployment issues. Just when he is starting to like school and his new teacher, it's possible that his father may be sent to Afghanistan at the end of the year, which would mean another in a long history of moves for the family. Bo doesn't want to hold back his father's career, but he would do just about anything to remain with Miss Loupe and participate in her theatrical experiments.

OPERATION YES takes readers into one teacher's unique classroom to witness students becoming excited about learning. Those same students face the emotional challenges of having direct connections with war and some of the toughest times for U.S. military personnel. This book provides needed subject matter for today's tweens and could be easily used to promote lively classroom discussion about war, service, and the relationships affected.
Profile Image for Lisa Nocita.
993 reviews2 followers
July 28, 2011
Ms. Loupe, the new sixth grade teacher, is unconventional and quirky. Her students, many of whom are the children of military personnel stationed at the nearby air force base, are accustomed to change with students moving in and out as their parents are deployed but they find Ms. Loupe an unexpected and, for once, refreshing change. She hopes to convince her students that a) art needs a frame; b) art is arranging objects to create beauty; and c) theater is the art of saying yes. Of course this is in addition to closely following the traditional tested curriculum. What happens when we say yes? One of my favorite lines in the book, as a teacher, is "Go ahead and sink into the Quagmire of Ignorance. The rest of us wish to set sail on the Sea of Knowledge.". Sure to elicit student groans! Bo is one such student, the son of the base commander. Getting into trouble is one way that he feels he can exert control over all of the other decisions and rules that are made for him. He feels he has big shoes to fill although his family seems mostly loving and supportive where Bo is concerned. They have expectations for him but they don't seem too high or out of reach. This is really a plot contrivance this mild angst he experiences. When his cousin comes to live them when her mother is deployed to Iraq, his irritation is piqued. Once again, no one bothered to consult him if this was a good idea, which he does not. Gari is also nonplussed to be suddenly uprooted and relocated. She could care less to be in Ms. Loupe's class. She wants to be with her friend in her own school in Seattle. When Ms. Loupe's brother is identified as missing in action in Afghanistan, the class begins to fall apart. Morale needs boosting and the students of room 208 aim to overcome their personal demons to win the battle for their teacher. The writing is engaging, and though the child protagonists aren't as endearing as they might be, the adult characters are. Any child would love to have Ms. Loupe for their teacher and the slightly eccentric Ms. Candy as their librarian. This is one of the novels on my summer reading list that I have been procrastinating needlessly. It's a quick read with a sturdy but not preachy plot. It loses a little steam towards the end, but has a "nice", tidy ending readers will like.
Profile Image for Angie.
3,620 reviews43 followers
January 17, 2019
Everyone you know is fighting a great battle.
Time to step up. Time to step in. Time to say yes.


Bo's dad is the commander of the Air Force Base they live on. Bo is in sixth grade and has a new teacher this year. Ms. Loupe is an Air Force brat so she knows all about life on the base. Her entire family is in the military including her brother Marc who is stationed in Afghanistan. Ms. Loupe is unlike any teacher the class has had before. She comes from a theater background and starts teaching them improv from day one. She has a TAPED SPACE where anything can happen and she brings in a ugly green couch for a prop. Gari is Bo's cousin. She is forced to leave her home in Seattle and move in with Bo's family when her mom, an Army nurse, is deployed to Iraq.

Marc is reported missing from his squad and when he is found he is gravely injured. This puts Ms. Loupe off her game and makes her step back from her class. In order to get Ms. Loupe back and to show how much they care for her, Bo, Gari and the rest of Class 208 enact Operation Yes. The plan is to get 100,000 LGM (little green men) and deploy them throughout the school. Each LGM can be purchased for a $1 donation and all proceeds will go to help wounded soldiers. Soon the students have started a nation-wide campaign and written a play about the soldiers. But best of all they have brought Ms. Loupe back to herself.

I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did. The second reading was just as good as the first. It seems like such a simple story about kids on a military base, but it ended up being more than that. It was about hope and learning to accept the life you are given and making something of that life. It is about learning to say yes and what happens when you do. It is about being present in the lives of others and how your presence can affect others lives. I thought the kids were fantastic and very realistic. Their reactions were exactly like I would expect kids to react. I would definitely recommend this one to kids.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 188 reviews

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