Novel: The Wednesday Wars
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Target Audience: 8-12 years old
Genre: Historical fiction
Publication Year: 2009
Setting: Long Island suburb, 1967-68
A Favorite Quote: “You don’t have to say ridiculous things twice, Holling. Once is more than enough.”
My One Sentence Summary: Holling Hoodhood navigates the treacherous waters of seventh grade, just trying to survive gym class, Shakespeare plays, girls armed with roses, and rats in the ceiling.
What I loved about this book: This book had me laughing out loud. It also left me choked up. I loved the friendships among students in Holling’s class, his evolving relationship with his sister, and—most of all—his afternoons with Mrs. Baker reading Shakespeare. I also enjoyed the references to 1960s cultural icons and current events of the time.
Major themes: Accepting others in spite of differences; literature as a key to understanding ourselves and others; coming of age and choosing one’s own path, even against the expectation of others
Who should read this book: A great book for anyone who enjoys realistic fiction, humor, baseball, and/or Shakespeare—especially relatable for middle school (or soon-to-be middle school) students.