I recently went on a week-long vacation with a suitcase full of novels. Blissfully unplugged, I spent my time doing what I love: having adventures with my family and reading.
Here’s the best book I read on the trip:
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
7 word review: Holling’s afternoon Shakespeare lessons with Mrs. Baker.
Historical fiction. Awarded the Newbery Honor. Companion novel is Okay for Now. Share with ages 9+.
I loved this book. I didn’t think I would, but I did.
Set in the ‘burbs of NYC during the Vietnam War, Holling Hoodhood spends Wednesday afternoons studying Shakespeare with his teacher, Mrs. Baker – the one who he swears hates him – while his classmates head off to religion classes. It’s through Shakespeare that this story evolves: each of Holling’s readings circle back to events happening in his own life. Mrs. Baker is beautifully written: tough but kind, and willing to go the extra mile for students who need it. She is an inspiration to be a better educator and human for all who teach. I was moved to tears a handful of times in this story, usually when sports played into the storyline. (Fact: I am a sports nut.) Highly recommended.
“That’s the way it is in the real world. It’s not always smiles. Sometimes the real world is like Hamlet. A little scared. Unsure. A little angry. Wishing that you could fix something that you can’t fix. Hoping that maybe the something would fix itself, but thinking that hoping that way is stupid.”
“Spring break! Were there any two words ever put together that make a more beautiful sound?”