October 21, 2013

Monday Read: The Wednesday Wars

After hearing about this book and snagging some amazing resources from my friend Erin at I'm Lovin' Lit, I had to finally read my copy of The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt.

The story centers around Holling Hoodhood, who is the sole student in his school (and town) that is neither Catholic nor Jewish. Because of this, he is stuck at school on Wednesday afternoons, while his peers go off to their religious education classes.

Mrs. Baker, Holling's teacher, is none too pleased about having to keep charge over him each week and makes it perfectly clear that she wishes to rid herself of him and have a free afternoon each week. She "punishes" him, he believes, by making him read Shakespeare and taunting him with cream puffs, among other things that make his weeks unbearable.

Unfortunately, Holling has no room to even complain because the family business depends on the positive relationships of everyone in town, especially of Mrs. Baker. So he's forced to report that everything is, "Just swell," even though he's certain this will be a miserable year.

If that plot isn't enough to engage your readers, you'll love the way you can incorporate such rich history as you read through the months of the school year. To quote the review on Booklist, "Seamlessly, [Schmidt} knits together the story's themes: the cultural uproar of the '60s, the internal uproar of early adolescence, and the timeless wisdom of Shakespeare's words."

I'm glad I finally picked up this book after having it in my classroom library for years. I think it makes an excellent novel study and will certainly look to incorporate it in my classrooms.

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