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The Wednesday Wars


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About the Author

Gary D. Schmidt is the best-selling author of many books for young readers, including Just Like That; National Book Award finalist Okay for Now; Pay Attention, Carter Jones; Orbiting Jupiter; the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor Book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy; and the Newbery Honor Book The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Johnstone brings to life one of the most endearing characters to come along in some time. Holling Hoodhood is starting seventh grade in 1967. It is a time of change, not just for Holling as he begins his journey into adolescence, but for the world around him as well. The war in Vietnam is raging and the deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy hang heavy on the American consciousness by the end of the school year. And for Holling, the world of nascent relationships lies before him, not to mention, baseball, camping and the constant excitement, wonder and terror of being 11 at such a volatile time. Johnstone's first-person narration perfectly captures Holling's progression from an angst-filled yet innocent boy, to a wiser, self-aware young man. His reading is touching, funny and insightful; he manages to bring the listener back to a time-real or nostalgically re-imagined, at least-when the crack of a bat against a ball in Yankee Stadium or sharing a Coke with a girl at the Woolworth's counter was all any boy could want. This is a lovely, heartfelt novel, read with as much care as the author used to create it. Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Gr 5-8-While the rest of the seventh graders at Camillo Junior High attend Hebrew school or catechism classes on Wednesday afternoons, Holling Hoodhood, a Presbyterian, must stay with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, and perform janitorial chores. The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement form the background for this powerful novel by Gary Schmidt (Clarion, 2007). Holling is pretty sure that Mrs. Baker despises him, and things only get worse when he proves to be inept at the jobs she gives him to do (he releases her two rats when cleaning their cage and gets chalk dust all over the cream puffs that were intended for the wives of American soldiers serving in Vietnam). The teacher announces that in the future they will spend their time together studying Shakespeare. Despite Holling's reservations, Shakespeare turns out to be not so bad after all, and he acquires a whole new vocabulary for cursing from the bard. This comes in handy when he's dealing with the bullies at school; trying to hold his own with his heartless, all business father; or when he must wear a yellow leotard with white feathers on the butt while performing in a Shakespearean production. Eventually, he realizes that Mrs. Baker really is his friend, and that he must be true to himself and his own purpose in life. Actor Joel Johnstone does a marvelous job as narrator, bringing the believable characters to life. A moving, compelling, often humorous novel.-Kathy Miller, Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin City, KS Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Schmidt makes the implausible believable and the everyday momentous. A gentle, hopeful, moving story." -- Booklist (starred review)"Schmidt, whose Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy won both Printz and Newbery Honors, delivers another winner. Deeply satisfying." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Schmidt [gets] to the emotional heart of every scene without overstatement. Another virtuoso turn by the author of Lizzie Bright." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)"Schmidt rises above the novel's conventions to create memorable and believable characters." -- Horn Book (starred review)"One of my favorite books of the year." -- New York Times"A graceful novel full of goodwill, yearning and heart." -- San Francisco Chronicle"An entertaining and nuanced novel. There are laugh-out-loud moments that leaven the many poignant ones." -- School Library Journal"An accessible, humorous school story, and at the same time, an insightful coming-of-age tale." -- BookPage"Fans of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy may be pleasantly surprised to see Schmidt's lighter, even sillier side." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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