I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday Wars FTW

Of all the kids in the seventh grade at Camillo Junior High, there was one kid that Mrs. Baker hated with heat whiter than the sun. Me.

Thus begins the roller coaster (emotions-wise) ride of a novel, The Wednesday Wars, by Gary D. Schmidt. Holling Hoodhood (no, that's not a typo) is the book's protagonist, living in the time of the Vietnam War (1967) in an upstate NY city divided (literally) with Jewish families to the north and Catholic families to the south.

The story line that weaves the book together is that on Wednesday afternoon the students who are Jewish go to prepare for their bar and bat mitzvahs, and the Catholic students go for Catechism. Well, poor Holling is a Presbyterian, so he's stuck behind as the only student in class each week on that day. For awhile Holling just does chores (like eraser clapping - ah, the good ol' days!) and such, but as the school year progresses (the book's "chapters" are the months of the year), his teacher, Mrs. Baker, gets him to read Shakespeare, and he even ends up as a fairy (yes, complete with yellow tights and feathers on his rear end) in a local Shakespearean production. Things come into play involving the NY Yankees, classroom pet rats, fresh cream puffs, the school's cross country team, and more. At some points of the novel, the reader is left nearly in stitches, yet in other parts the reader is left with a sinking feeling in the stomach (e.g. when Holling's father is out of touch (constantly) with his children).

I highly recommend this one, especially for middle school classrooms. It's definitely going on our read aloud list for the year. It was one of the best books I've read in awhile...(I even added it to my Book List 4 Life!)


  1. I really liked The Wednesday Wars! I even reviewed it in my Austin CNM column: http://www.austincnm.com/index.php/2011/12/presbyterian-lies-and-literary-truths-review-the-wednesday-wars/

  2. Yay! So glad you've read and enjoyed it. I'm trying to tell everyone about it. :)