Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Wednesday Wars

Schmidt, Gary D. 2007. THE WEDNESDAY WARS. New York: Clarion. ISBN 0618724834 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-12]

As the lone Presbyterian in his classroom, Holling Hoodhood is the only student left in the classroom on Wednesday afternoons. With the Catholic half attending Catechism class and the Jewish half going to Hebrew school, Holling has an afternoon a week alone with Mrs. Baker, his seventh grade teacher who seems to hate him. “Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun. Me. And let me tell you, it wasn’t for anything I’d done.”

The Wednesdays begin with Holling simply doing chores around the classroom, washing the chalkboard and taking care of the class pets, but Mrs. Baker soon decides to use their Wednesday time teaching Holling about Shakespeare. The extra time helps Holling appreciate Shakespeare and become closer to the teacher who may not hate him as much as he originally thought. While the adventures that Holling gets himself into, often with the help of Mrs. Baker, will have readers laughing out loud, other scenes in the book are heartbreaking. Schmidt weaves the events of the 60s, the Vietnam War, the “flower-child,” and the death of Martin Luther King Jr., seamlessly into THE WEDNESDAY WARS. With this coming-of-age tale, readers will not only be thoroughly entertained, but will gain new knowledge of this time period.

THE WEDNESDAY WARS would make a great addition/introduction on a study of the 60s. To learn more about the Vietnam era, have readers interview a family member or family friend about the events of that decade.

Other books by the same author:

By Mary D. Buckalo

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