Posted by: Burlington Public Library (WA) | April 2, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.  I remember it as the first book that blew my socks off, that engaged me on several different levels.  It felt like an important book, a book about the ways things really were, wrapped in a great story.  I carry a fierce affection for it, and a reverence for the woman who created that world, to this day.  L’Engle became one of my favorite authors, and I found books by her to accompany every stage of life, from kid’s books through theology and poetry.

What makes a book beloved?  There are some terrific books that come out, get enjoyed, and sort of fade, whereas other books become part of the canon that ‘everyone’ reads as they grow up. 

As this NPR story relates, it just about didn’t get published at all, because it was uncomfortably different for a children’s book at the time.  It’s a complex, philosophical (some people say religious) science fiction novel with a female protagonist.  People just didn’t know what to make of it… except for children, who read it and loved it. 

Today there are over 10,000,000 copies in print (I still have mine, the cover on the lower left, which I always thought was kind of ugly).  L’Engle continued the story over four other books, called “The Time Quintet.”  It won the Newberry Award and many others.  Rebecca Stead wrote an homage to it called When You Reach Me, which also won a 2010 Newberry award.

What books hold that magical attraction for you?

—Mary Beth

 

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