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This Newbery Honor tale is now in paperback! Holling Hoodhood is really in for it. He's just started seventh grade with Mrs. Baker, a teacher he knows is out to get him. Why else would she make him read Shakespeare . . . outside of class? The year is 1967, and everyone has bigger things than homework to worry about. There's Vietnam for one thing, and then there's the family business. As far as Holling's father is concerned, nothing is more important than the family business. In fact, all of the Hoodhoods must be on their best behavior at all times. The success of Hoodhood and Associates depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has Mrs. Baker to contend with?
Gary D. Schmidt is the author of the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor book Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy. His most recent novel is The Wednesday Wars. He is a professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
SeptemberOf 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. And let me tell you, it wasn't for anything Id done. If it had been Doug Swieteck that Mrs. Baker hated, it would have made sense. Doug Swieteck once made up a list of 410 ways to get a teacher to hate you. It began with "Spray deodorant in all her desk drawers" and got worse as it went along. A whole lot worse. I think that things became illegal around Number 167. You don't want to know what Number 400 was, and you really don't want to know what Number 410 was. But Ill tell you this much: They were the kinds of things that sent kids to juvenile detention homes in upstate New York, so far away that you never saw them again. Doug Swieteck tried Number 6 on Mrs. Sidman last year. It was something about Wrigley gum and the teachers water fountain (which was just outside the teachers lounge) and the Polynesian Fruit Blend hair coloring that Mrs. Sidman used. It worked, and streams of juice the color of mangoes stained her face for the rest of the day, and the next day, and the next day-until, I suppose, those skin cells wore off. Doug Swieteck was suspended for two whole weeks. Just before he left, he said that next year he was going to try Number 166 to see how much time that would get him. The day before Doug Swieteck came back, our principal reported during Morning Announcements that Mrs. Sidman had accepted "voluntary reassignment to the Main Administrative Office." We were all supposed to congratulate her on the new post. But it was hard to congratulate her because she almost never peeked out of the Main Administrative Office. Even when she had to be the playground monitor during recess, she mostly kept away from us. If you did get close, shed whip out a plastic rain hat and pull it on. Its hard to congratulate someone who's holding a plastic rain hat over her Polynesian Fruit Blend-colored hair. See? That's the kind of stuff that gets teachers to hate you. But the thing was, I never did any of that stuff. Never. I even stayed as far away from Doug Swieteck as I could, so if he did decide to try Number 166 on anyone, I wouldn't get blamed for standing nearby. But it didn't matter. Mrs. Baker hated me. She hated me a whole lot worse than Mrs. Sidman hated Doug Swieteck. I knew it on Monday, the first day of seventh grade, when she called the class roll-which told you not only who was in the class but also where everyone lived. If your last name ended in "berg" or "zog" or "stein," you lived on the north side. If your last name ended in "elli" or "ini" or "o," you lived on the south side. Lee Avenue cut right between them, and if you walked out of Camillo Junior High and followed Lee Avenue across Main Street, past MacCleans Drug Store, Goldmans Best Bakery, and the Five d come to my house-which my father had figured out was right smack in the middle of town
Excerpted from The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
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