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The Wednesday Wars

Narrated by: Joel Johnstone
Length: 7 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Kids, Fiction
4.5 out of 5 stars (120 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling - he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? 

But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: The success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much with which to contend? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! 

As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation - the Big M - in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

©2007 Gary D. Schmidt (P)2018 Recorded Books

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Parents & Teachers

Why do Authors feel the need to separate children from parents? Sad really, lots of great parents out there. How about a few books that reflect THAT reality. OK read, bad perspective

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Outstanding book.

At first, I was intended to continue reading it. But after the chapter, October, I understood it more. With the audio you can hear how they sound and mean some of the phrases from Shakesspeare in the story.

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  • AP Murph
  • Middle Village, NY, US
  • 08-18-19

Lower the price and then the price is right at the price you pay to pay the mortgage was a buck for a good price for a buck but

Lower the prices for a year to get a buck and then get a little guy in a buck or two in a row and a cut up to the top right hand and a cut and then cut it out to a buck or two or so then I will is a great way for sure to do the best of the day they have the best prices in price for a good price for a great price for a buck

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Fine Juvenile Fiction

Fun, lighthearted book that also has meaningful themes and talking points. It makes me want to read Shakespeare again.

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If you were ever in 7th grade. . .

I first read The Wednesday Wars in 2011, and I have never forgotten it (especially the yellow tights and the story that surrounds them). Recently I bought the audiobook so I could read it again. Glad I did. It was just as much a delight the second time through. Toward the end of the book, I drove to a wedding, an hour drive each way along a winding mountain road. I laughed out loud numerous times, and the drive seemed to fly by.

The Wednesday Wars is set during the school year of 1967-1968. The protagonist is 7th grader Holling Hoodhood, the only Presbyterian in his class. Every Wednesday, half the class goes off for Hebrew instruction and the other half goes off for Catholic instruction. A Presbyterian, Holling is left in his teacher’s care. If not for him, Mrs. Baker would have Wednesday afternoons off. Therefore he is sure she hates him as only a teacher can and is out to kill him in devious ways, including by making him read Shakespeare plays.

I don’t want to give away too much of the story. But I will say this: I laughed and laughed and laughed. I related to all the angst of a 12 year old. I remembered those atomic bomb drills where we got under our desks. I also ached over parts of the story. The writer is truly gifted at saying much with a few words. He also reminded me why I’m glad I’m not a 7th grade boy dealing with the 8th grade boys on the cross-country team. Read the book to know what I mean. LOL! And it is a rare writer who can bring me to tears while I’m walking on the treadmill, but that’s what happened to me when he so wonderfully described the sound Mrs. Baker made when–– (Nope! Not gonna say more.)

If you were ever a kid, if you were ever in the 7th grade, and especially if you were a 7th grade kid during the turbulent ’60s, you need to read this book.

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Multi-level goodness

Wednesday Wars is not only a wonderful coming of age and to terms with difficult family story, it is also a history of growing up during the Vietnam War era as well as sneaking in why and how to see and apply the lessons of good literature to your life. I think that everyone who will be reading or performing Shakespeare should read this book first. Wish it were required reading for all sixth or seventh graders, but it is great for adults too.

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Joel Johnstone perfectly narrates this story

This was a moving and funny story from the mid sixties - good character development and redemption.