The Wednesday Wars

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The Wednesday Wars
The wednesday wars.jpg
Paperback cover of the book
Author Gary D. Schmidt
Language English
Genre Historical Fiction,
Children's Literature
Publisher Clarion Miller
Publication date
May 21, 2007
Media type Print
(Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 0-618-72483-4
OCLC 71044136
LC Class PZ7.S3527 We 2007
Followed by Good book

"The Wednesday Wars" is a 2007 young adult historical fiction novel written by Gary D. Schmidt

]], the author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. The novel is set in suburban Long Island during the 1967–68 school year. The Vietnam War is an important backdrop for the novel. This novel was given a Newbery Honor medal in 2008.[1] It was also nominated for the 2010 Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Book Award.


Holling Hoodhood is a seventh grader in 1967. In his school, the student body is largely divided between Catholics and Jews, and every Wednesday both groups go to their separate churches for religious classes. Holling, a Presbyterian has no religious class to attend therefore he is forced to remain at class with his teacher, Mrs. Baker.

Initially, Holling is convinced that Mrs. Baker resents him for this. This suspicion is compounded when she begins having him read Shakespeare. As he begins to enjoy the plays, though, he also begins to understand Mrs. Baker—whose husband, he learns, is stationed in Vietnam.

The story's main focus is Holling's struggle to get out from his overbearing father's shadow of whom he is intimidat ed. Mr. Hoodhood is an ambitious, social climbing, and at times, cutthroat architect who is determined that Holling take over the business when he retires. In fact, Mr. Hoodhood believes that nothing is more important than their family business and ensuring that it flourishes. Because of this, all of the Hoodhoods must be on their best behavior at all times. Whenever Holling brings up a particular person, his father breaks down who the person is, as well as their status; if they're someone who owns a business, Mr. Hoodhood demands Holling to be respectful at all times. This causes a strained relationship between Holling and his father. Holling ultimately finds an ally in his older sister, Heather, and eventually comes to understand that Mrs. Baker is also trying to help him learn to be his own person.

Other subplots in the story include Holling entering track, him going on his first date with classmate Meryl Lee Kowalski, her father of the other architecture firm in town, Kowalski and Associates, his sister Heather running away to California with her boyfriend, and the ever-present shadow of the Vietnam War—as well as other historical events, such as the shootings of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. In addition, television news anchorman Walter Cronkite is mentioned throughout the novel, as an important presence while delivering the news. Cronkite was considered[by whom?] to be the voice of the people, with the ability to sway Americans to a particular side.[citation needed]

The plot follows a steady, progression-focused format, lacking any clear climax. Instead, it simply follows Holling as he struggles through school, forms friends out of supposed enemies, and tries to grow up.



Secondary characters[edit]

  • Danny Hupfer
  • Mai Thi Huong
  • Meryl Lee Kowalski
  • Doug Swieteck and his brother
  • Sycorax and Caliban (rats)
  • Heather the Feather (feather)
  • Mickey Mantle
  • Mr. and Mrs. Hoodhood
  • Mr. Goldman
  • Mrs. Sidman
  • Mr. Vendleri
  • Mr. Guareschi
  • Mrs. Bigio
  • Mr. Petrelli
  • Coach Quatrini
  • Mrs. Baker


  1. ^ "2008 Newbery Medal and Honour Books". Association for Library Services to Children. Retrieved 20 January 2011.