I have spent the summer reviewing books for children and youth. As the summer ends, I am going to write about my favourite children’s book, thinking about my favourite author – and Madeleine L’Engle is my favourite author of all time. L’Engle wrote books for youth and adults. I think when this is the case, you could say that she writes for everyone.
There was only one bookstore in the little town where I grew up and, since it was a small Quebec town, it was primarily a French bookstore, with no more than a few dozen English books on the shelves. When I was in Grade 2, on a shopping trip with my best friend, we dropped into the bookstore. My friend, who loved to draw, was looking for drawing pencils and I was looking through the books. I came across a book in the “Livres d’Enfants” section. It was very fancy, hardcover and with a modern dust jacket. It was 35 cents – 5 cents more than I was allowed to spend, although I had 2 dollars and I had never wanted a book more in my life. I don’t think I have ever wanted another book more – before or since. The book was A Wrinkle in Time.
I paid the extra 5 cents and took the book home, carefully, so as not to scuff it. My mother and my teachers told me the book was “too old“ for me – but I proved them wrong by reading it right away. That book taught me a lesson before I even opened it: You are never too young or too old for anything! I read A Wrinkle in Time in one day, although even today I have not completely read it. My best birthday gift last year was that my daughter took me to see the movie – it’s so wonderful when one of your children realizes what the best gift for you would be!
My message at the end of a summer of books for children and youth is: Read A Wrinkle in Time. Read all the books I recommended this summer and, if you need to know why, then this quote from my favourite book can tell you the reason:
“A book, too, can be a star, “explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,” a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.”
(Nore: I read the 1962 Farrar, Straus and Giroux edition of this book.)