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A Wrinkle in Time

by

A Wrinkle in Time  Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This special edition of A Wrinkle in Time includes a new essay that explores the science behind the fantasy.

Rediscover one of the most beloved children's books of all time: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle:

Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time.

Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

Review:

"Fascinating....It makes unusual demands on the imagination and consequently gives great rewards." The Horn Book Magazine

About the Author

Madeleine L'Engle is the author of more than forty-five books for all ages, among them the beloved A Wrinkle in Time, awarded the Newbery Medal; A Ring of Endless Light, a Newbery Honor Book; A Swiftly Tilting Planet, winner of the American Book Award; and the Austin family series of which Troubling a Star is the fifth book. L'Engle was named the 1998 recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards award, honoring her lifetime contribution in writing for teens.

Ms. L'Engle was born in 1918 in New York City, late in her parents' lives,an only child growing up in an adult world. Her father was a journalist who had been a foreign correspondent, and although he suffered from mustard gas poisoning in World War I, his work still took him abroad a great deal. Her mother was a musician; the house was filled with her parents' friends: artists, writers, and musicians. "Their lives were very full and they didn't really have time for a child," she says. "So I turned to writing to amuse myself."

When she was 12, Ms. L'Engle moved with her family to the French Alps in search of purer air for her father's lungs. She was sent to an English boarding school --"dreadful," she says. When she was 14, her family returned to America and she went to boarding school once again, Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina--which she loved. When she was 17, her father died.

Ms. L'Engle spent the next four years at Smith College. After graduating cum laude, she and an assortment of friends moved to an apartment in Greenwich Village. "I still wanted to be a writer; I always wanted to be a writer, but I had to pay the bills, so I went to work in the theater," she says.

Touring as an actress seems to have been a catalyst for her. She wrote her first book, The Small Rain, while touring with Eva Le Gallienne in Uncle Harry. She met Hugh Franklin, to whom she was married until his death in 1986, while they were rehearsing The Cherry Orchard, and they were married on tour during a run of The Joyous Season, starring Ethel Barrymore.

Ms. L'Engle retired from the stage after her marriage, and the Franklins moved to northwest Connecticut and opened a general store. "The surrounding area was real dairy farmland then, and very rural. Some of the children had never seen books when they began their first year of school," she remembers. The Franklins raised three children--Josephine, Maria, and Bion. Ms. L'Engle's first book in the Austin quintet, Meet the Austins, an ALA Notable Children's Book, has strong parallels with her life in the country. But she says, "I identify with Vicky rather than with Mrs. Austin, since I share all of Vicky's insecurities, enthusiasms, and times of sadness and growth."

When, after a decade in Connecticut, the family returned to New York, Ms. L'Engle rejoiced. "In some ways, I was back in the real world." Mr. Franklin resumed acting, and became well known as Dr. Charles Tyler in the television series All My Children. Two-Part Invention is Ms. L'Engle's touching and critically acclaimed story of their long and loving marriage.

The Time quintet--A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time--are among her most famous books, but it took years to get a publisher to accept A Wrinkle in Time. "Every major publisher turned it down. No one knew what to do with it," she says. When Farrar, Straus & Giroux finally accepted the manuscript, she insisted that they publish it as a children's book. It was the beginning of their children's list."

Today, Ms. L'Engle lives in New York City and Connecticut, writing at home and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where she is variously the librarian and the writer-in-residence. "It depends from day-to-day on what they want to call me. I do keep the library collection--largely theology, philosophy, a lot of good reference books--open on a volunteer basis."

Author Fun Facts

Born

November 29 in New York City

Education

Smith College, The New School, Columbia University

Currently lives

New York City and Connecticut

Fun Jobs

Librarian, actress

Favorite…

…hobbies: traveling, reading, playing the piano, and cooking

A Special Message from Madeleine L'Engle

"I wrote my first story when I was 5. It was about a little G-R-U-L, because thats how I spelled “girl” when I was 5. I wrote because I wanted to know what everything was about. My father, before I was born, had been gassed in the first World War, and I wanted to know why there wer wars, why people hurt each other, why we couldnt get along together, and what made people tick. Thats why I started to write stories.

The books I read most as a child were by Lucy Maud Montgomery, whos best known for her Anne of Green Gables stories, but I also liked Emily of New Moon. Emily was an only child, as I was. Emily lived on an island, as did I. Although Manhattan Island and Prince Edward Island are not very much alike, they are still islands. Emilys father was dying of bad lungs, and so was mine. Emily had some dreadful relative, and so did I. She had a hard time in school, and she also understood that theres more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate. I love Emily. I also read E. Nesbit, who was a nineteenth-century writer of fantasies and family stories, and I read fairy tales and the myths of all countries. And anything I could get my hands on.

As an adult, I like to read fiction. I really enjoy good murder mystery writers, usually women, frequently English, because they have a sense of what the human soul is about and why people do dark and terrible things. I also read quite a lot in the area of particle physics and quantum mechanics, because this is theology. This is about the nature of being. This is what life is all about. I try to read as widely as I possibly can.

I wrote A Wrinkle in Time when we were living in a small dairy farm village in New England. I had three small children to raise, and life was not easy. We lost four of our closest friends within two years by death--thats a lot of death statistically. And I really wasnt finding the answers to my big questions in the logical places. So, at the time I discovered the world of particle physics. I discovered Einstein and relativity. I read a book of Einsteins, in which he said that anyone whos not lost in rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe is as good as a burnt-out candle. And I thought, “Oh, Ive found my theologian, what a wonderful thing.” I began to read more in that area. A Wrinkle in Time came out of these questions, and out of my discovery of the post-utopian sciences, which knocked everything we knew about science for a loop.

A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You cant name a major publisher who didnt reject it. And there were many reasons. One was that it was supposedly too hard for children. Well, my children were 7, 10, and 12 while I was writing it. Id read to them at night what Id written during the day, and theyd say, “Ooh, mother, go back to the typewriter!” A Wrinkle in Time” had a female protagonist in a science fiction book, and that wasnt done. And it dealt with evil and things that you dont find, or didnt at that time, in childrens books. When wed run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up. Then my mother was visiting for Christmas, and I gave her a tea party for some of her old friends. One of them happened to belong to a small writing group run by John Farrar, of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which at that time did not have a juvenile list. She insisted that I meet John any how, and I went down with my battered manuscript. John had read my first novel and liked it, and read this book and loved it. Thats how it happened.

The most asked question that I generally receive is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Thats very easily answered. I tell a story about Johann Sebastian Bach when he was an old man. A student asked him, “Papa Bach, where do you get the ideas for all of these melodies?” And the old man said, “Why, when I get up in the morning, its all I can do not to trip over them.” And thats how ideas are; theyre just everywhere. I think the least asked question is one that I got in Japan. This little girl held up her hand and said, “How tall are you?” In Japan, I am very tall.

I get over one hundred letters a week. There are always letters that stand out. There was one from a 12-year-old girl in North Carolina who wrote me many years ago, saying “Im Jewish and most of my friends are Christian. My Christian friends told me only Christians can be saved. What do you think? Your books have made me trust you.” Well, we corresponded for about twenty years. I suggested that she go back to read some of the great Jewish writers to find out about her own tradition. Another letter asked, “Were studying the crusades in school. Can there be such a thing as a Holy War? Is war ever right?” I mean, kids dont hesitate to ask questions. And its a great honor to have the kids say, “Your books have made me trust you.”

The questions are not always about the books. Theyre sometimes about the deepest issues of life. “Why did my parents put my grandmother in a nursing home?” Thats one that has come up several times. The letters are enlightening, particularly when they are written because the child wants to write them, and not just as a school assignment. Although one of the best batches of letters I ever had was from a high school biology class. The teacher had them read A Wind in the Door, which is about cellular biology, as part of their assignment. I thought, “What an innovative teacher. That was a lot of fun.”

I have advice for people who want to write. I dont care whether theyre 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You cant be a writer if youre not a reader. Its the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if its for only half an hour write, write, write."

From the Paperback edition.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

eq_colorado2, October 1, 2008 (view all comments by eq_colorado2)
this book is mainly banned or challenged because it refers to withcraft and uses Jesus's name
No that it really matters...
I am reading it right now and I thinks its amazing
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(17 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
great flood, September 8, 2007 (view all comments by great flood)
The book a wrinkle in time is quite the book to read. i myself write stories and i once in a while remember parts from the book a wrinkle in time when i read it. i don't remember so much about the book because i am old of age and this is what happens to my memory, but i do remember that it was a creative book. (i need to re-read that book sometime soon.) after reading that this book is on the banned book list, i was fascinated in how some can be so blind about things. i am pretty sure that not all authors want to add religous subjects to their books! books are not all about that. when people began speaking of C.S. Lewis's chronicles of Narnia books, and how they were religion related, i got very angry. this is not the point of all books. if an author meant to speak of this subject in their books, they would speak of it. a book can't be simply enjoyed without thinking of religion of political matters? this is what novels are for. these are simple ficton stories that are about unknown worlds and learning to face fears! not about those matters! i believe that these books are written to take one to another world and a new time, not concentrate on one that already exists!
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(17 of 33 readers found this comment helpful)
Mary J., December 12, 2006 (view all comments by Mary J.)
I am 49 years old. I read "A Wrinkle in Time" when I was eleven, and it was a life-changing experience. In 1968 a little girl with strength, courage and brains was still a rather new idea, even "inside the Beltway," which is where I grew up. This book helped me find my way at a time when I really had no idea where I was going. It helped me to understand that intelligence, success, and the love of humanity were not just within my grasp, but absolutely vital. It also fueled in me the breathtaking notion that reality itself holds limitless surprises and possibilities just waiting for us to discover.
As an adult, I began to realize that most of my favorite friends had also read this book as children. I find myself drawn to people of all ages who are bright, idealistic, creative, loving, and have a strong sense of justice--much like Meg, the heroine of "A Wrinkle in Time." Did we read the book because it suited our personalilities, or did the book help us to crystallize those traits in ourselves? Probably a bit of both.
Several years ago, I re-read this book and some of the others in the series, and I was still enthralled. Madeleine L'engle has written some wonderful books that have withstood the test of time. I can't wait until my five-year-old son is old enough to read "A Wrinkle in Time." I think he will love it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780440498056
Author:
L'Engle, Madeleine
Publisher:
Yearling
Author:
L'Engle, Madeleine
Location:
New York
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Fantastic fiction
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Literature - Classics / Contemporary
Subject:
Reading
Subject:
Language arts
Subject:
Juveniles
Subject:
Space and time
Subject:
Newbery medal books
Subject:
Newbery Medal.
Subject:
Newbery medal books -- Juvenile software.
Subject:
Chiildren s literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Copy protected. Includes back-up disk.
Series:
The Time Quartet
Series Volume:
71 (02)
Publication Date:
19730315
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
RL:5.8.
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.64x5.20x.68 in. .38 lbs.
Age Level:
09-12

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Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Featured Titles » Banned Books » Children's
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners

A Wrinkle in Time Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Yearling Books - English 9780440498056 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Fascinating....It makes unusual demands on the imagination and consequently gives great rewards."
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