As a stop on the blog tour, I am writing today about...
Remembering My First Experience with A Wrinkle in Time...
Like many lucky readers, I read A Wrinkle in Time for the first time when I was probably 9 or 10 years old. Here are the few things I remember myself reacting to upon that first read-through:
- The space-and-time travel. Of course I didn't completely understand how it worked, and I remember staring at that page where Mrs. Whatsit is explaining to the children about space and time's different dimensions using stick figures for hours, trying to puzzle it out. But from this book probably developed the first inklings of my now-avid interest in astrophysics, relativity, string- and m-theory, and all that good stuff.
- OH MY GOD, CHARLES WALLACE AND IT. THAT BRAIN. AHHHHHHH. That scene gave me NIGHTMARES. I'm serious. NIGHTMARES. I had NIGHTMARES about Charles Wallace's, blank, pale blue, pupil-less eyes, and IT's evil red glow. I think that scene became the setup for every nightmare I had when I got sick and could feel my blood pulsing through my veins in that shivery, extra-sensitive way that sensations get when you're sick. Eeeeeep.
- That I read the book with this cover:
lol. Back in the day when books had these sorts of covers. I'm not sure what I found more laughable/sad at 10 years old: Meg's glasses and mousy brown hair (I apologize: an ignorant fourth grader, and would have rather that Meg had straight hair, like me), the centaur-like creature, or the lilies that they are all holding.
...And Revisiting It Now
Rereading A Wrinkle in Time a few days ago, in a way, pulled away the mystical shroud that always seemed to surround this title. This wasn't a favorite of mine when I was younger, though I was definitely glad I read it. But, in rereading A Wrinkle in Time, I rediscovered just how much a work of children's literature can accomplish. Doubtless I absorbed half of what this book contained in terms of themes and motifs when I was 9. Now, however, I understood more of what Madeleine L'Engle wove into this iconic story: the need for humanity to be aware of and to resist the easy ways of evil, how heroes and heroines can be made of the most unexpected people, and the power of love to defeat the bad.
I always love rereading my favorite childhood books, but this time, I realized even more what children's literature can do: to plant the seeds of important thoughts and morals into the minds of children without them being aware of it, to be explored and nourished as the child grows and lives and learns and experiences more. Anyone who says that children's and young adult literature is not important because of their audience should reread some children's lit classics. We were all children once, which is why it is so crucial for the formative years to be filled with rich, exciting, imaginative, adventurous, emotional, and thought-provoking literature.
To anyone who belittles those who work in the fields of children's and young adult literature, I pity you. Really. There's a magical and beautiful formation of the truest and most essential human spirit that can develop in childhood and adolescence. Far from needing less children's literature, less education, less professionals in these fields, we need much, much more. It is the people who grew up reading great works of children's literature that can add to the goodness of the world.
The 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition features:
- Frontispiece photo*†
- Photo scrapbook with approximately 10 photos*†
- Manuscript pages*†
- Letter from 1963 Caldecott winner, Ezra Jack Keats*†
- New introduction by Katherine Paterson, US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature †
- New afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Voiklis including six never-before-seen photos †
- Murry-O’Keefe family tree with new artwork †
- Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery acceptance speech
† never previously published
Check out A Wrinkle in Time's Facebook page, and see the list of other blogs participating in this blog tour here.
A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition will be available in hardcover from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on January 31, 2012.