Parents' Guide to

The Wednesday Wars

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Funny, breathtakingly poignant '60s coming-of-age tale.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 10+

Wonderfully written with ample opportunities for discussion

I read this to my 8 year old, highly sensitive, altruistic, questing child over the past few weeks. It was my favorite read aloud to date. We both loved it! Pros: * Use of imagery * History (Vietnam, Bobby Kennedy, MLK, 1960s counterculture) * Shakespearean references * Great thematic elements - Coming-of-age - Familial dysfunction - Religion - Politics - Death (inferenced, not depicted) - Social issues - Bullying * Ample opportunities for discussion Cons: * It could be confusing for a child to read on their own - 13+ should be okay - 11+ depends on the child - 10 and under should be read with an adult (I wouldn't go younger than 8)
age 10+

Clever Book

I read this aloud to my 9 year old and we loved it. In fact, we binge read it over 5 days. It made us laugh, cry and think. It's a very clever and funny book with references to Shakespeare, American History and 1960's pop culture running through a story a normal kid growing up in 1960s America. It led to a multitude of discussions and questions - we are not American so probably a few more unfamiliar references for my son than others. We've been discussing characters' points of view, religion, important history events, politics and quoting Shakespeare ever since. I love it when a book expands his world, makes him think and makes him feel something. I'd say my son relates to the main character too, being just a normal kid growing up and navigating life. He also found it really exciting and enjoyed how so many events had build ups and climaxes, rather than just one toward the end. I do wonder if some of the poor reviews from others are because the readers haven't had an opportunity to discuss the complex themes and backdrop to the story? I guess not everyone would get the dry sense of humour and subtle jokes throughout. I highly recommend it but understand how it may not appeal to all.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (33 ):

It's a wonderful thing when an author can bring the reader to tears without anything sad happening. It's even better when it's done in the course of what would normally be described as "hilarious misadventures." Author Gary D. Schmidt accomplishes this by getting inside the head of a bright but fairly typical goofball seventh-grader who's doing the opposite of what so many kids at that age do -- opening his heart to the world.

With the prim prodding of his dry, no-nonsense teacher, and a big dollop of help from the Bard, Holling learns to see into the hearts of others, which causes him to stand up to his overbearing father, to care for his floundering older sister when she needs him, to recognize the depth of his friendships, to see the humanity in his teachers, and ... to begin to really understand Shakespeare. This is a funny and breathtakingly moving book, because in the end there's little that's as funny and moving as growing up -- except perhaps growing into a wise and loving person.

Book Details

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