Daily Archives: November 18, 2007

The Wednesday Wars


I read a lot on the subway. I also read walking down the street. Geeky, I know. There are some books, however, that are too fine to be read while in transit. These books deserve quiet time, me in a sunny spot, with a cup of tea and plenty of time for musing and rereading. Gary D. Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars deserves this treatment. It also deserves prizes. Lots of prizes.

I started reading this book on the subway, and although I recognized almost immediately that it was wrong, wrong to be reading this when I could not devote 100% of my attention to savoring its perfection, I couldn’t make myself stop. I was laughing and laughing in front of my fellow commuters, and I didn’t care. There are few books that actually make me run down my street to my house so that I can read my guy the funniest parts without even taking off my coat first, and only being about 40 pages into the story.

I don’t think I want to describe much of what this story is about, because there are plenty of plot summaries out there. So in a few sentences: It is towards the end of the Vietnam War, as Holling Hoodhood enters 7th grade. He is the only Presbyterian kid in his class, which means that on Wednesday afternoons, when his Jewish and Catholic classmates are at synagogue and catechism, he is alone with his English teacher, Mrs. Baker, who seems to hate his guts. After much verbal sparring and power tripping, Mrs. Baker settles on making Holling read Shakespeare’s plays, which effect subtle, yet profound changes in his world. All you really need to know is that The Wednesday Wars is a book that will stay with you, that becomes a part of you. The voice feels so true, with characters drawn perfectly and consistently from beginning to end. Not to mention the fact that it is hilarious and touching. I love that it conveys that over time, we are transformed by the seemingly ordinary, often bizarre events of day to day existence, and that the possibility of connecting with family and other people in our lives is what we’re all really striving for, even when we don’t realize it.

In kids lit land, the phrase “destined to become a classic,” gets tossed around so frequently that most of the time, it hardly warrants a raised eyebrow. The Wednesday Wars has already earned a place on my “special shelf, ” where I keep books that I go to when I need to remember what I believe in, and what I find inspiring and reaffirming.

So I guess you could say, it’s already achieved classic status in my humble library. Prizes or not, I imagine that’s what every author hopes for.

The Wednesday Wars is published by Clarion books.


Blogging for a Cure: The final 2 days

Bidding starts tomorrow for the first round of glorious snowflakes created in support of Robert’s Snow. All proceeds will go to cancer research at the Dana Farber institute. For details about how the auction will work, please visit Robert’s Snow for Cancer’s Cure.

This morning I watched the Robert’s Snow video for the first time, and if you haven’t already done so, now is the moment. It is awe-inspiring and moving, not to mention the perfect way to review all of the flakes in preparation for tomorrow’s bidding.

Gorgeous, no?

Below are the last sets of links to illustrator features for Robert’s Snow. Also, at the bottom of this post you will find a link to a page created by the tireless, fantabulous Jules of 7-imp where she has compiled links to all of the features created for this blogging event. Important to remember that not all of the snowflakes were featured on blogs over the past month. Some had not been created until the initiative had begun. So there are even more great snowflakes out there to bid on.

A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cosy – Paul Brewer
Jo’s Journal – Aaron Zenz
What Adrienne Thinks About That – Wendy Edelson
Chicken Spaghetti – Joan Waites
Book, book, book – Giles Laroche
Check it Out – Annie Patterson
The Miss Rumphius Effect – Teri Sloat
Lisa’s Little Corner of the Internet – Anette Heiberg
Wild Rose Reader – Wade Zahares

7-imp’s Master List of Features

Kinda sad that all of this fun is wrapping up, but it’s exciting to see how much money will be raised as these little babies start finding their way to happy homes over the next month.