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“You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.” – Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
Today would be Madeleine L’Engle’s 94th birthday. And it has been 50 years since A Wrinkle in Time was published. To celebrate, we asked coworkers to share their thoughts on Madeleine L’Engle. It shouldn’t surprise you that many of the responses were just fervent: “I love A Wrinkle in Time!” (note the present tense). To this day kids still pick up the story and fall in love with Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin along with Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and even Fortinbras! It’s a story for everyone.
My favorite part is that it teaches you to think. A Wrinkle in Time is not necessarily an easy book. L’Engle does such a great job of making kids feel like they are understanding something important! Like when Mrs. Whatsit explains to the children what a tesseract is—the illustration of the ant walking across a strand of her dress, and then the hands coming together, shortening the distance. I felt so smart that I got it. Of course, this doesn’t trump the story itself. The adventure and fear (oh, the idea of Charles Wallace turning into that terrifying child still gives me goosebumps)…there was nothing like it. I loved all the characters, and I stuck with them, moving on to A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I’ll admit that Many Waters isn’t my favorite. I missed ole Charles Wallace too much to really enjoy that one.
But don’t just take it from me. Check out what some of our Book Club staffers had to say about this amazing read:
There are dozens of books I’ve read and reread since childhood. Picture books, novels, nonfiction: I’m an equal-opportunity revisitor. But the book I have most consistently reread for myself is A Wrinkle in Time.
Every year since I was 11, I’ve picked up the book and again recognized myself in Meg, protected a quirky younger brother, rekindled a crush on Calvin (who has surely become an exemplary adult), wondered at the Mrs. W’s, been loved and protected by Aunt Beast, stood up to the It, and saved my father.
And I’ve laughed and cried and dreamed and imagined and been challenged every single time.
There is no possible way to thank Ms. L’Engle enough for this book.
The first time I “read” A Wrinkle in Time, I was actually listening to it on a Walkman (remember those?) on my bedroom floor. The author was such a wonderful reader that I could let her tone and inflections tell the story without even listening to the words. When I finally read the actual book a few years later, I found myself remembering the passages she read particularly well. A Wrinkle in Time is still one of my favorite books, and each time I reread it, I hear Madeleine L’Engle’s gravelly voice rolling around all the fantastic words she wrote, like Fortinbras and tesseract.
A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first chapter books my mother read out loud to me, probably when I was actually a little young to be exposed to it (young enough that my little brother had to go to bed earlier than me, and so the whole reading experience felt like this very grown-up club to be invited into, just the two of us). I read it again later, on my own, but something about encountering the weird utopian planet, the magic of traveling through dimensions and time, and meeting a misfit heroine like Meg when I was so young shaped a lot of who I became, as a reader and as a girl. My general impression was that I was being asked to understand Big Things. And from this I learned it was okay to be a girl who was a little stubborn, that mind control was the scariest kind of violence in the universe, and above all that big sisters have to watch out for their little brothers when no one else can….Maybe that was the real reason my mom chose to read it to me when she did.
For those of you who need to refresh your minds of this Newbery Award winning story, check out a 90 second snap shot A Wrinkle in time here!
November 29, 2012
n. A cardboard receptacle, typically rectangular in shape
with lid, containing words, pictures, ideas and dreams, often
accompanied by excitement, anticipation and the love of reading.
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