Thursday, February 16, 2012
Happy Anniversary to My Favorite Book!
I enjoyed this article in Publisher's Weekly about a big anniversary celebration event held last week at Manhattan's Symphony Space. I wish I had been there - it sounds like so much fun! There were various performances of bits of the book, by both children and celebrities (I would have loved to hear Jane Curtin's reading), as well as recordings and photos of L'Engle herself talking about the novel, and a panel discussion of current children's authors. Among the authors in the panel was Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me, a recent Newberry Honor winner that paid homage to A Wrinkle in Time. Each of the panelists was asked about their first encounter with L'Engle's most famous novel, so I thought it would be fun to share with you my own early experiences with what was my all-time favorite childhood book.
I actually read A Wrinkle in Time (for the first time) for school. My class was reading it. I thought it was my 3rd grade class, but I recently reunited with some old elementary school classmates on Facebook who said it was a later year...I guess my memory is faulty! So, anyway, sometime in elementary school, our class read A Wrinkle in Time, and it was love at first read for me. I loved Meg and Charles Wallace right from page 1 and was entranced by the other-worldly plot. After reading the book, my class performed a play based on the book, and I was thrilled to be cast as Meg! I remember being on stage with the kids playing Charles Wallace and Calvin, while someone back stage flashed strobe lights during our tesseracts (yes, awesome special effects).
I was so entranced by the book that I immediately went to the library and read through the rest of the series. Did you know that A Wrinkle in Time is only book one in a 5-book series? I read and loved them all! I probably read the first book several more times during my youth.
Fast-forward 20 years or so, and I'm a mom to two sons. I couldn't wait until they were old enough to share my favorite book with them! But I was too impatient. I tried reading it to them when they were maybe about 5 and 8, and they made me stop - told me it was too scary. So, I bided my time. Before long, my oldest read it on his own and enjoyed it. One down, one to go. Once my youngest son was old enough, I kept recommending it to him...but he has a fierce independent streak and hates when anyone in the family recommends anything to him! So, he avoided it. Finally, his 6th grade teacher assigned A Wrinkle in Time as required reading for the whole class, and he had to read it. He finished it - and loved it! - and then, my reluctant reader said those words every book-loving mother wants to hear, "This was so good! There's a sequel? I have to read it!" So, he read A Wind in the Door and loved that one, too. Music to this mother's ears.
So, what's your story? When and how did you first experience A Wrinkle in Time?