The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

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The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

"The quality of mercy doesn't drop much from Gym teachers" (58)

Seventh grader Holling Hoodhood has it rough. While everyone else in his class is attending either Chinese School or Hebrew lessons, Holling is stuck spending every Wednesday afternoon with his English teacher, Ms. Baker, who hates his guts. She gives him pointless assignments, like shaking the chalk out of all the erasers.*

And even worse, she then makes him start reading Shakespeare. She must really hate him. But then, he begins reading The Tempest, and is shocked to find that he might actually be enjoying it. This sets off an amazing chain of events, both hilarious and wonderfully sweet .

In this historical novel, Schmidt has managed to realistically recreate suburban life in the 60s,** without a single dull moment. He has given his protagonist his own unique voice, and readers will immediately be sympathetic to his plight. I would highly recommend for middle-schoolers and up, and of course, for all Shakespeare lovers! (And clearly, the Newbery committee agrees. The Wednesday Wars is a 2008 Honor book!)

Other blog reviews:

A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy


Deliciously Clean Reads

Miss Erin

Kids Lit

*Do kids still have to do this?

** Though, the whole time I was reading, I thought it was the 70s (unfortunately, we never got past WWII in high school history classes).


Lazygal said...

No matter how excitedly I booktalk it, my students just could care less. One of my staff wondered if it's really the type of book that adults think children will love, hence the good reviews (she was one of those who loved it, but in our recent "Read with a Sixth Grader" her student was unimpressed).

Sara said...

That's so disappointing!

I'd like to think that I would have enjoyed it when I was in middle school... and I probably would have ended up liking it if it was assigned or read aloud, but it's still not something I would have picked on my own. (Of course, back then, I didn't read anything that didn't have a female protagonist... but that's another story)

And I'm not very good at booktalking but I can't figure out a way to explain this one in a way that would appeal to students. But I wonder if more students would want to read it if they heard the passage about the rats, or the creampuffs.

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