Wednesday Wilson, the heroine of the Wednesday Wilson early chapter book series by Bree Galbraith, is nothing if not resourceful. And she's at her best when her brainy ingenuity is called on by the people she loves.
So when her brother Mister is nervous about presenting in front of people at school in Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems (Kids Can Press, illustrated by Morgan Goble), the series' second and newest title, Wednesday comes up with the brilliant idea of loaning him her marble as a "worry marble" – a talisman to protect him from worries. It's not long until she realizes that she's got lots of marbles and the kids at her school have lots of worries, at which point a business is born, as well as a great story about confidence, friendship, and processing feelings.
Galbraith has crafted Wednesday as everything a young reader could want, with her humour, big-hearted generosity, and endless creativity. And as the child of two women in a mixed raced marriage, with a diverse cast of friends including BIPOC and disabled kids, Wednesday's world welcomes all readers. Galbraith is well-known for her diverse and inclusive storytelling, and we're excited to present a glimpse into the world she's built with an excerpt today, courtesy of Kids Can Press.
Excerpt from Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith:
Let the Magic Begin!
At recess, Charlie, Amina and I find Mister and Dakota at the kindergarten entrance. Emmet is there, too, and explains that he wanted to make sure he didn’t hit me too hard during dodgeball. For the first time, I’m kind of glad to see Emmet because I can show him my worry-stone idea and prove to him how seriously I take my new ventures.
I show everyone the marble, but they aren’t as excited as I expected. Even when I say, “Ta-da!”
“You got your marble back?” asks Mister.
“It’s not just a marble! It’s a Worry Marble! And it can help fix all your problems.” I say that last part loudly.
A few of Mister’s classmates hear me and start to gather around. Now’s my chance to get people excited about my business idea. I hand Mister the marble, and he holds it up in the air, where it catches the light and shines like a magic crystal.
“My nonno taught me everything about marbles,” I tell the crowd. “See the red inside this one? That’s for courage. We have Worry Marbles in all different colors that can help with any problem.”
More kids from different grades have joined us, and they’re all staring at the marble in Mister’s hand.
“Will this Worry Marble help you through the school assembly tomorrow?” I ask my brother, hoping he says the right thing.
“I think so?” says Mister. “I guess I feel a little less worried.”
“You’re looking at a very satisfied customer,” I tell the crowd. “Now all you have to do is tell us your problems, and you can have a Worry Marble by tomorrow. Usually they cost two dollars, but you can order one today for half price.”
Amina and Charlie smile and nod. They’re in! Emmet looks around at all the kids and seems surprised that so many people are interested in my idea.
“I have a spelling test on Friday,” says a second grader. “Do they help with spelling?”
Charlie is so nervous that he blurts out, “The color purple is associated with intelligence!”
“What about violin recitals?” asks another boy. “Mine is this weekend!”
“Orange boosts creativity!” Charlie tells him.
Charlie’s facts are enough to convince the whole crowd. Suddenly, everyone is lining up to tell us their problems. Amina takes down their names and problems on a chart she’s drawn up using my clipboard. There are dance recitals, dentist appointments and swim meets. To top it off, every kindergartner ordered a red Worry Marble for tomorrow’s assembly.
By the time recess is over, we have ninety-six names on our list. I don’t like doing math, but I know that adds up to ninety-six dollars!
“I’m sure we’ll get more orders at lunch,” I tell my friends and Mister. “Then we’ll split the profits between the four of us.”
“Five of us,” says Emmet. “After all, without me, you wouldn’t have come up with the idea in the first place.”
“Fine,” I agree. “But if you want in, you have to help us with the business after school.”
Emmet holds out his hand and we shake on it. “Deal.”
Let’s Get Rolling
I was right about getting more orders. At lunch we got forty-two, and after the final bell we got another twelve. That’s one hundred and fifty!
Charlie, Amina and I find Mister at our usual meeting spot after school. Emmet is late because he needs to give the other Emmas an excuse for why he’s going to hang out with us. I don’t really care what he tells them, but a small part of me wonders what Ruby will think about it.
Eventually, Emmet finds us, and we all walk over to my house. As we’re about to go through the front door, I get a worried feeling in the pit of my stomach. My gut tells me that I might still be in trouble from this morning.
“There they are!” comes a familiar voice from inside. It’s Nonna!
Mister rushes to the kitchen, and we all follow. Nonna is sitting at the table, drinking tea with Mom.
“Look at how big you are, Mister!” Nonna says as he hugs her. “It must be all that breakfast pizza you’ve been eating.”
I feel better knowing Nonna could make a joke about this morning. Mom laughs and gets up to put out snacks. She’s wearing a head-to-toe painting suit that used to be white, and has the hood on tight so that only her face is showing. She looks like an astronaut, and I cringe.
“Let me think here …” she says, surveying all the kids in the kitchen. “I know Charlie will want a slice of three cheese, and Amina likes it spicy with mushrooms.” Then she turns to Emmet. “I don’t think we’ve properly met.”
I want to tell her he’s an Emma and that’s why he’s never been over.
“I’m Emmet,” he says quietly.
“Emmet, of course! I think your mom plays on an ultimate-frisbee team with my wife.” Mom pulls out three Teresaria pizza boxes from the fridge and hands out plates.
“The team with pink shirts that have a pizza slice on the back?” asks Emmet politely.
“The Teresaria is the team sponsor,” explains Mister with his mouth already full of food.
“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Emmet,” says my mom. “Help yourself to whatever slice you’d like.” Mom turns to me and asks, “Pizza, Wednesday?”
“Don’t we have anything else?” I ask. It’s the kind of question that isn’t a question, because I know that’s all we ever have in the fridge.
“There’s still some leftover breakfast pizza,” she says, smiling.
“Three cheese it is!” I grab a slice and say thank you. I hope she knows it’s the type of thank-you that’s also an apology for this morning. She usually gets that kind of stuff.
When we’re done, we clear our plates, and I tell Mom and Nonna that we’re going to play hide-and-seek. Then I lead my friends upstairs to my room, where I explain the plan.
“My nonna can’t know we’re giving away the marbles,” I tell them, “because they belonged to my nonno.” I don’t want to hurt Nonna’s feelings, but a part of me thinks Nonno would have loved that his marbles were going to help people.
We make a game plan. I am “it” so I can run around the house pretending to look for people, but really, I’ll be looking for marbles. Charlie, Amina and Mister each take an upstairs bedroom to search, and Emmet gets the bathroom. He’s already proved himself useful in there earlier today.
Emmet lets us know he has to leave for tap class in an hour, so Amina sets the timer on her phone. I didn’t know Emmet could tap dance. I tell him that’s really cool.
“Everyone ready?” I ask. They all nod, then scatter to their positions. “Ready or not, here I come!” I yell into the hall. Let the games begin!
I grab marbles from absolutely everywhere. Under couch cushions, in the junk drawer and even in the dirty laundry bin. When my pockets are heavy with marbles, I go back to my room to unload them on my bed, where there’s already a growing pile. I’m about to go look for more, when I notice the calendar above my desk. There are big red circles around the words FEED MOLLY’S CAT! every day this week.
I leave a note on my bed for my friends, and just as I’m about to run out the front door, I find one more blue marble and shove it in my pocket.
Excerpt From Wednesday Wilson Fixes All Your Problems by Bree Galbraith. Published by Kids Can Press. Text copyright © 2022 Bree Galbraith. Illustrations copyright © 2022 Morgan Goble. Reprinted with permission.
Bree Galbraith likes writing stories that inspire kids and adults to think critically about the world around them, and the ways in which we can challenge the systems in place and create change. Her books include the Wednesday Wilson series, Usha and the Stolen Sun, Milo and Georgie, Once Upon a Balloon, and Nye, Sand and Stones.
Bree likes to use her books as a way to amplify the voices of her children and those close to her. She gets her inspiration from her two boys, and their constant quest to discover WHY things are the way they are. Her goal is to write stories that inspire conversations in the classroom and at home and that empower young people to think outside of the box.
Bree holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and a master’s degree in communication design from Emily Carr University. She lives in the heart of beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, with her family.