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The Wednesday Wars

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  27,357 Ratings  ·  4,654 Reviews
In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy’s mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his te
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published May 21st 2007 by Clarion Books (first published 2007)
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Holling Hoodhood’s got a problem. It’s 1967, and he’s just started seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, and his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. Every Wednesday afternoon, half of the kids in Holling’s class go to Hebrew school and the other half go to St. Adelbert’s for catechism. And Holling, as the only Presbyterian in the class, stays behind with Mrs. Baker.

And Mrs. Baker makes him read Shakespeare. Outside of class.

What follows is a year in Holling’s life, a year of Wednesdays with Mrs
Jul 17, 2012 karen rated it really liked it

this is my second book for the readventurer challenge.

this book is very...sweet. and ordinarily,a sweet book would make me feel like i had chiggers or something else foul crawling under my skin, and its earnest gee-whizzery would make me feel unclean just because of my mental rolodex of words that are more satisfying to say in moments of astonishment or crisis than "gee whiz."

but this one was different. this one was entirely wholesome, yeah, but wholesome and satisfying like fresh-baked bread, a
Jun 24, 2010 Greg rated it really liked it
A Review in Two Parts

Part One
Ariel, recommended this book to me, and she wrote a fine good review of the book. You can find it by clicking on her name.

I really liked the book, but didn't love it. I think the things I didn't love about the book were me being a crank. For example, the myopic narrator view point of a seventh grader was great; it caught the distortions that a kid sees the world through and the way teachers and others outside of their own circle are depersonalized into roles instead
Hal Johnson
There’s something very pleasant about kids’ books written in the ’60s. They have an assurance that books written in later, more apologetic and hesitant decades lack. They’re usually untroubled by the social upheaval all around them. Hippies may show up here or there, but the books are more likely to be about time travel, or inventions, or mysteries.

This is one of the things you can only learn from consuming texts from that era: that people who lived in the ’60s didn’t know they were living in th
Aug 29, 2011 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Catie by: Flannery
This book is a heartwarming mix of nostalgia, life lessons, beauty, and awkward humor with a nice side of brown…light…perfect cream puffs. And let me tell you; it’s really swell.

Holling Hoodhood is the only kid in the seventh grade who doesn’t have to attend either Temple or Catechism on Wednesday afternoons. No, instead he gets to spend every single Wednesday afternoon with Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts. Each Wednesday she finds new ways to torture him: endless cleaning of chalkboard erasers,
Dec 24, 2010 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-middle-grade
At first I thought this book was too young for me. The protagonist is a 7th grader, an age I am far past. It was a bit slow at first and my initial conclusion was: This would be great book for a middle school boy, especially one you want to get interested in Shakespeare, but not so great for the general reader.

And then I kept reading and realized that this was a brilliant, touching and funny book. Schmidt is excellent at making believable, nuanced characters--not something I often see at books a
I think I have come to understand what it takes for a book to be awarded Newbery. It seems these Newberry awarded books are just so wholesome, so full of great life lessons, so sweet and touching in a non-nauseating or preachy way. The Wednesday Wars is just like that.

13-year old Holling Hoodhood is in trouble. While his Jewish and Catholic classmates attend religious studies on Wednesday afternoons, he, the only Presbyterian in his class, is forced to spend this time with his English teacher Mr
Jan 02, 2008 Christina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Other Librarians
Shelves: kid-books
Oh it's the season to read the books we adults want children to read, and in actual fact they have no interest in doing so. Wednesday Wars sadly falls into that catagory.
It's 1968, and Holling Hoodhood is stuck with his teacher every Wednesday afternoon when the rest of his class attends religious education classes that their respective places of worship.
Holling learns to love Shakespeare, and how to run a good race, and he learns to understand his teacher, Mrs. Baker, and to love his older si
Claire Scott
Jan 31, 2008 Claire Scott rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adult readers of kid lit and YA lit
If I had the option to give 6 stars to The Wednesday Wars, I'd do it. I giggled out loud at least 30 times on the bus *and* the train, earning myself a certain public transit notoriety as That Annoying Lady With The Book. And most people didn't even notice me getting teary during the poignant parts. Of course I'd heard glowing reviews of this book, but I didn't love Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, so I was skeptical. But no longer. Gary Schmidt, please write more!

It's 1967-68, and Hollin
Dec 23, 2007 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Love, love, love, love, love, love. Love.

First, it takes place on Long Island, which I didn't even know when I ordered it for the library. So, sure I got an extra chuckle out of Schmidt's description of LI in November than the reader from, say, Nebraska will. But still, this is just an adorable story and you don't have to be stuck on the Long Island Expressway to enoy it. It reminds me of Richard Peck, if Richard Peck wrote about 1960's surburban life and not 1930's Illinois.
Dec 04, 2010 Scott rated it it was ok
This book is written like a monthly diary of a seventh grade boy named Holling Hoodhood. It's supposed to be realistic fiction set in 1967, but the events are about as believable as his name. I didn't like it. Here's why.

Everybody around Holling is completely insensitive and cold-hearted, including his father, his mother, his sister, his teacher Mrs. Baker, the school principal, his friends and classmates, Doug Sweiteck's brother, and Micky Mantle. Holling is a complete victim of circumstance. H
Apr 26, 2008 Heathercrow rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely fabulous! I enjoyed every minute of it. I was very surprised to find out that it was more than just a Jr. High kid putting up with bullies. It was about life and how you deal with different trials no matter what your age is and everyone deals with these trials in different ways. I am totally serious when I say that I laughed and cried and ignored my family until it was done. It is very worthy of the 2008 newberry award.
Duffy Pratt
Aug 20, 2013 Duffy Pratt rated it really liked it
It oozes charm. In the first half of the book, Schmidt really had me. I absolutely loved everything surrounding the incident with the creampuffs and its aftermath. While the charm remained, the second half lacked a bit of direction. It didn't quite stall, but the plot is a very slender reed here. And outside of Holling and Mrs. Baker, the characters are all pretty thin.

There's also a fairly horrifying aspect here. During this book, Holling does the following: Appears as Ariel in a local performa
Sep 04, 2015 Amber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the year of 1967, Holling HoodHood is entering the seventh grade and notices that his English teacher Mrs. Baker hates him. She tries her best to make his life miserable, but with his Dad's Architect firm HoodHood and Associates vying to get the contract for her family's Sporting goods store, all Holling can do is grin and bear it even when she tortures him with Shakespeare. Will he survive? Read on and find out for yourself.

This was a pretty good audiobook that I borrowed from my local libra
Lisa Nelson
Feb 23, 2010 Lisa Nelson rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: Doug
Shelves: fiction
I learned two new ways to cuss this month. First, my sister Aimee told me that in the Fantastic Mr. Fox movie instead of cussing they say, "What the cuss!" Love it! Next, Holling Hoodhood the 7th grade narrator of this delightful book learns all about the best kind of cussing by reading, Shakespeare's "The Tempest." He says,"Caliban-the monster in the play-he knew cuss words. Even Doug Swieteck's brother couldn't cuss like that-and he could cuss the yellow off a school bus." There are great scen ...more
Apr 22, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mam, Laurie
Shelves: newbery-honor
Really charming. It was the same kind of nostalgic book as Penny From Heaven, but better-written, funnier, and more real-feeling. (This one has its obvious parallel in a really good episode of The Wonder Years.) This reminded me of older books about boys coming of age, like It's Like This, Cat and Onion John; but I think the language is wholly modern and accessible. I thought it was so much better--tighter, I guess--than Trouble.

Also, a question: looking at the other reviews, and thinking of rev
Jul 20, 2007 Kricket rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, so I reviewed it for our librarian blog at work.

Holling Hoodhood has many things on his mind. The U.S. is at war with Vietnam. His older sister has painted a flower on her face. His father is trying to run the town’s other architect out of business. And Holling’s teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. You see, every Wednesday after lunch, half of the kids in Holling’s 7th grade class go to the Temple Beth-El for Hebrew School. The other half goes to St. Adelbert’s for Cat
Dec 09, 2007 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Without too much effort, you could probably come up with a dozen or so books of the Teacher-Who's-Totally-Mean-At-First-Develops-A-Mentoring-Relationship-With-The-Student-And-There-Are-Some-Life-Lessons-And-A-Bunch-Of-Growing-Up-Happens Genre, but dollars to doughnuts, none would be quite as good or as fun to read as Wednesday Wars. Toads, beetles, bats, I loved it--as the Bard might say. This one could probably work as young as fourth grade.
Oct 14, 2016 Marilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best of the best. I hope everyone reads it. I fell in love with the main character. And the teacher--oh--the teacher. She inspires me to go back into the ring!!! I loved the copious amounts of Shakespeare allusions. I laughed, I cried, I read it non-stop. Would love to discuss it with someone after you read it.
Jul 02, 2016 Emy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Une vraie pépite que je vous recommande mille fois ...more
When someone who tends to make good recommendations to you tells you several times that you will probably love something–listen. I finally picked up Gary D. Schmidt and The Wednesday Wars on audio, and I adored it. From first sentence to last, this book was so full and rich and true in every way. I laughed in a way I haven’t laughed listening to audio in well over a year, and I cried. I cried because it was too touching and real and perfect not to.

Never before have I read a book that more exempl
Cassi aka Snow White Haggard
Holling Hoodhood's seventh grade year looks like it's going to be a challenge. His teacher Mrs. Baker isn't his biggest fan and he's not even a troublemaker. But he is Presbyterian while all the other kids are Catholic or Jewish. On Wednesday afternoon, all of his classmates leave for classes at the church or the synagogue, leaving him alone with Mrs. Baker. Needless to say Mrs. Baker is not happy with this arrangement. What do you do with one student for the afternoon?

The Wednesday Wars starts
Apr 01, 2013 Mara rated it really liked it
This book managed to remind me a little, although it did not dissuade me from my general pessimism and dismay, why being a teacher is a wonderful, life changing job. Mrs. Baker is all that one dreams to see in teachers: the intelligence, the power, the endearing strength in the face of all difficult, messy, annoying children, the heartwarming attention only they can bestow when you have no idea they're watching, how much they get to know you, their influence and the mark that they leave. I haven ...more
Feb 27, 2009 Christina rated it it was ok
All of the people who gave this book five stars can't be wrong, can they? Well, I've been in the minority before, so I guess I'll put myself there again because I really do not think my middle-school students will understand the humor in this book. It reads as an adult's nostalgic look back at his seventh-grade year during the Vietnam War. Although the situations that Holling, the main character, finds himself in are supposed to be funny, I didn't find them to be humorous because of the undercur ...more
Feb 17, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
When I finished, my first thought? "Oh my goodness, that was delightful." Imagine Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine (in all it's poetical glory...I do love that book) meets The Sandlot (in all it's youthful hilarity...a classic). And that's The Wednesday Wars - and so much more. Schmidt describes the world as seen through the eyes of Holling Hoodhood, a seventh grade boy with a heart of gold. Mix in baseball (and of course the Yankees...we'll forgive Holling that since he is from Long Island), some ...more
Om Manghani
Sep 25, 2015 Om Manghani rated it really liked it
Shelves: grade-8
Nice book, with a good inner message.

It was slow towards the start, and I thought that since it was a Primary School book, that there would not be a very deep plot and meaning. The first half of the book was quite slow for me, but when it came to the part when Holling started to like Mrs. Baker more, themes and bigger ideas started to come up all over the place.

The ending was very satisfying, and fulfilled my high expectations. I think that the author did do a really good job on the ending on
Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
No stars for you book! And don't you dare question my authority!

This book is so sweet, I'm practically choking on its sweetness, in a good way.

What I liked:

What I loved:
Holling and his friends
Holling and his sister

"Did you find yourself?"
"What?" said my sister.
"Did you find yourself?"
"She found me," I said.

This stuff is gold, guys. Molten, pure gold.

What I didn't like:
How everything sweet happened to everyone except Holling.
But conversely, I also found this to be the best part of the
May 06, 2008 Luann rated it really liked it
A great book! I wouldn't have disagreed if they had given it the Newbery medal instead of just an honor. I love the first-person narrative. Holling's sense of humor made the book a lot of fun to read. There were also some very touching parts. Mrs. Baker is the best teacher! She made me want to read more Shakespeare. Also, there are lots of great quotes about the nature of teachers. One of my favorites, right after Mrs. Baker has shown Holling her Olympic medal:
"'Don't look so surprised. You didn
Oct 24, 2012 Kristi rated it it was amazing
Holling Hoodhood is one of the most enjoyable characters I have read. I love his attitude and his outlook. I also enjoyed the other characters especially his teacher and lunch lady. It is set in 1967, which was a tumultuous year for everyone and especially for a 7th grade boy. He is dealing with so much from family troubles to social to political. Such a clean enjoyable read. I enjoyed watching his relationship with his teacher evolve. What a fabulous teacher and style. I do agree with Holling, ...more
Apr 07, 2013 Natasha rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The boy/narrator was hilarious and sweet. I loved his perspective. I also loved all of the wonderful things that this book taught and made me think about just through the story- it was splendidly written. Brilliant.
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Time Out Book Club: June Meeting 22 7 Jun 22, 2016 09:23AM  
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

More about Gary D. Schmidt...

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“Vengeance is sweet. Vengeance taken when the vengee isn't sure who the venger is, is sweeter still.” 81 likes
“Think of the sound you make when you let go after holding your breath for a very, very long time. Think of the gladdest sound you know: the sound of dawn on the first day of spring break, the sound of a bottle of Coke opening, the sound of a crowd cheering in your ears because you're coming down to the last part of a race--and you're ahead. Think of the sound of water over stones in a cold stream, and the sound of wind through green trees on a late May afternoon in Central Park. Think of the sound of a bus coming into the station carrying someone you love.
Then put all those together.”
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