Module #4: A Wrinkle in Time

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Meg and her young brother charles, together with a new friend, Calvin, embark on an adventure to save their father who had been experimenting with time travel.  As they encounter the most evil forces traveling through space and the most benevolent allies, Meg, Charles, and Calvin must rely on their unique talents and gifts and ties to one another to save Mr. Wallace and find a way back to Earth in time to save it from the darkness.

APA Reference
L’Engle, M. (1962).  A wrinkle in time.  New York, NY:  Random House.

It’s difficult to add to the immense amount of reflections and critiques of this work.  Often hailed as the original science fiction for children, L’Engle’s famous novel has been dissected, discussed, and passed from reader to reader with enthusiasm and joy for years and will be for years to come.  As I was reading it, I felt sad that I did not experience it the first time as a child or even young adult.  As an adult, I found myself relating to the adults and guides in the novel, hoping for the children’s safety and speedy return, rather than empathizing with the children themselves.  I can best describe the novel’s profound impact on the reader by sharing that as I was reading it, I forgot that it was science fiction.  The time travel, technology, creatures, and outer realms became so believable through the eyes of the children that I was able to achieve suspension of disbelief;  this comes difficult for me as sci-fi is not one of my preferred genres.

Professional Review

The decade of the 1960s saw publication of A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1962), first of the Time Quintet. Written by Madeleine L’Engle, this book introduces Meg Murray, whose scientist father has disappeared, and three unusual characters that “tesseract” Meg, her brother, and a friend around space to locate her dad. VOYA Board Member Paula Brehm-Heeger states this work was groundbreaking in its “use of science fiction, with a dash of fantasy,” and a female heroine. Complete with other worlds and unusual creatures, it illustrates the fantasy worlds crumbling due to unproductive traditions, juxtaposed against Meg’s own family struggles. The book is still read today, often referenced in literary and pop culture, and is number twenty-three on ALA’s 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2000-2009 ( challengedbydecade/2000_2009/index.cfm).

HOLLEY, P. (2011). Groundbreakers [Review of the book A wrinkle in time]. Voice Of Youth Advocates34(2), 116-119.

Library Uses
 In addition to a special collection of Newbery and other award winners, A Wrinkle in Time, can be integrated into genre talks and presentations about science fiction.  It’s important to teach readers about genre so that they can better select texts that might interest them.  Science fiction is an often misunderstood genre;  many patrons still think of it as space opera (e.g., Star Wars).  The librarian could use excerpts, trailers, or even film clips to introduce young readers into the basic tenets of science fiction/ fantasy and follow it with a book pass of titles that represent the diversity the genre has to offer.

Book trailer for a recent graphic novel adaptation of the original classic.

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