The Wednesday Wars

cover image for The Wednesday WarsSchmidt, G. D. (2007) The Wednesday Wars.  New York, NY: Clarion Books.

Review:

Seventh grade is hard enough, even when your teacher doesn’t have it out for you.   Every Wednesday afternoon half of Holling HoodHood’s class leaves early to go to Hebrew school and the other half leaves early to go to Catechism.  Only Holling is left  to stay behind with Mrs. Baker, who clearly isn’t too happy about having to find something for him to do.  To top it all off, it’s 1967 and most everyone else has bigger problems, like the Vietnam war, on their minds.

Holling and Mrs. Baker are both rather unlikely heroes, but then, those are often the best kind.  Like all great teachers, Mrs. Baker’s greatest strengths are her faith in her students and her patience with their mistakes.  Holling, on the other hand, is one of those kids that seems to be mostly just drifting along – but only until events finally force him to make the kinds of choices that will determine what kind of person he really is.

While The Wednesday Wars may seem like a rather simple school story on the surface, Holling’s world is complicated, and not all of the complications are stated directly.  Younger tweens may miss the the undercurrents and find the story confusing or less engaging than older tweens.  Older tweens will empathize with Holling’s predicaments and respect him for his decisions and attempts to do what is right.

Best for ages 10-15

Awards and Reviews: Newbery Honor

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