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The Wednesday Wars

Ages

10+

Holling Hoodhood has got plenty to worry about. 

How to avoid Doug Sweiteck’s brother.  

Escaped classroom pets Sycorax and Caliban.  

And Wednesday afternoons with Mrs. Baker, who hates his guts.  

Ages 10+
Pages 288
Publisher HarperCollins
Coming Jul 2024
Awards
Kirkus Starred Review
Newbery Honor Title
Publisher's Weekly Starred Review
Booklist Starred Review

Average Rating

4 Reviews
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It’s 1968 in Long Island, NY, and Holling Hoodhood is the only Presbyterian in his class. Because he's not going to Hebrew School or Catholic classes on Wednesday afternoons, Holling has to hang out with Mrs. Baker. Holling goes from cleaning the classroom to learning Shakespeare, all while managing the chaos of 7th grade, including getting chalk on the cream puffs and getting bullied by Doug Swieteck's brother.  

All of this takes place against the backdrop of the political turmoil of the late 60's, including the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. 

By the end of the book, Holling’s relationship with Mrs. Baker has developed into a beautiful friendship and they support each other through some of their most challenging moments. 

Readers will laugh and cheer for Holling as they read this beautifully written Newbery Honor Award book. 

  • Holling’s reading of The Merchant of Venice introduces the phrase “the quality of mercy” (rachamim in Hebrew), a theme throughout the book. 

  • Around the winter holidays, a large menorah is placed in the school’s lobby. It had belonged to Mr. Samowitz’s family for over two hundred years, and the students “could almost smell the sweet wax in the darkness of a long time ago."  

  • Holling's best friend, Danny, is Jewish, and is often the book's moral compass. Danny has an orthodox bar mitzvah and lays tefillin

  • Danny is nervous about his bar mitzvah; Danny's friends help him by listening to him leyn (chant) his parsha (Torah portion) during recess. 

  • While out on a field trip, Mrs. Baker observes that the first temple on the site was burned down by lightning, the second by British soldiers who discovered the congregation was supporting the revolution, and the third by arsonists. "In all those times, the ark holding the Torah was never damaged. It's still there today."

There is some racist bullying, a few references to news broadcasts about soldiers dying in Vietnam and the assassinations of MLK Jr and RMK, and one homophobic comment by baseball player Mickey Mantle. All of this content is age-appropriate. 
What the Book is About

It’s 1968 in Long Island, NY, and Holling Hoodhood is the only Presbyterian in his class. Because he's not going to Hebrew School or Catholic classes on Wednesday afternoons, Holling has to hang out with Mrs. Baker. Holling goes from cleaning the classroom to learning Shakespeare, all while managing the chaos of 7th grade, including getting chalk on the cream puffs and getting bullied by Doug Swieteck's brother.  

All of this takes place against the backdrop of the political turmoil of the late 60's, including the Vietnam War and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. 

By the end of the book, Holling’s relationship with Mrs. Baker has developed into a beautiful friendship and they support each other through some of their most challenging moments. 

Readers will laugh and cheer for Holling as they read this beautifully written Newbery Honor Award book. 

  • Holling’s reading of The Merchant of Venice introduces the phrase “the quality of mercy” (rachamim in Hebrew), a theme throughout the book. 

  • Around the winter holidays, a large menorah is placed in the school’s lobby. It had belonged to Mr. Samowitz’s family for over two hundred years, and the students “could almost smell the sweet wax in the darkness of a long time ago."  

  • Holling's best friend, Danny, is Jewish, and is often the book's moral compass. Danny has an orthodox bar mitzvah and lays tefillin

  • Danny is nervous about his bar mitzvah; Danny's friends help him by listening to him leyn (chant) his parsha (Torah portion) during recess. 

  • While out on a field trip, Mrs. Baker observes that the first temple on the site was burned down by lightning, the second by British soldiers who discovered the congregation was supporting the revolution, and the third by arsonists. "In all those times, the ark holding the Torah was never damaged. It's still there today."

There is some racist bullying, a few references to news broadcasts about soldiers dying in Vietnam and the assassinations of MLK Jr and RMK, and one homophobic comment by baseball player Mickey Mantle. All of this content is age-appropriate.