My First Sci Fi Love
Madeliene L’Engle (1918-2007) wrote some of the best YA books I read as a child. At the time, I didn’t know enough about genre to know it leaned toward science fiction. I just knew that A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels whisked me away and made me forget the world for awhile. And isn’t that what great books are supposed to do?
A Wrinkle in Time (1962) is about tesseracts and time and space. A tesseract for those who wonder is a wrinkle in time. Meg, the main character, and her brother, Charles, and friend, Calvin must navigate these wrinkles to search for her father who disappeared while working for the government. This book won the 1963 Newbery Medal.
The sequels are equally wonderful! A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) and Many Waters (1986) the characters continue their quest to maintain balance in the universe and protect our planet from many threats.
Ms. L’Engle also wrote a series referred to as the O’Keefe Family Series that takes place more on our planet than in the tesseracts. However, it does includes An Acceptable Time (1989), in which the main character falls through a time portal. This book is often considered a fifth installation in the Time series.
Another series I enjoyed as a child starts with Meet The Austins (1960). Though this set of books did not include time travel, I loved them and wanted to visit the Austins. No time travel, but lots of mystery, magic and danger. 🙂
This prolific American author wrote essays, poetry and Christian fiction as well. She wrote her first story at age five and began journaling at eight. Despite an early start, she was not published until after her 40th birthday. She had made the decision to give up writing on that day, but was unable to do so. (Always nice to know that successful authors sometimes start late!) 🙂 A Wrinkle in Time was rejected more than 30 times!
In a New York Times interview in 1963, she made it a point to differentiate between childish and childlike in her writing for children. She said that children can understand things with imagination which is often denied to adults. “The child will come to it with an open mind, whereas many adults come closed to an open book. This is one reason so many writers turn to fantasy (which children claim as their own) when they have something important and difficult to say.”
In addition to winning many honors and awards throughout her career, Madeleine L’Engle was given the Lifetime Achievement from the World Fantasy Awards in 1997 and was inducted into the New York Writers Hall of Fame in 2011. In 2012, a survey in the School Library Journal listed A Wrinkle in Time as the Number Two children’s novel where it lost only to Charlotte’s Web.
And, in 2013, a crater on Mercury was name after her. How cool is that!? 🙂
If you never jumped a tesseract as a child, you are never too old to try.