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I don’t often post twice in a day, but today on Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Children’s Novels countdown, Wrinkle in Time came in #2.
Just about everything she says and everyone she quotes rings true for me then and now with Wrinkle. It was such a pivotal book for me (it’s cliched but true–it was life changing) that it is almost a visceral feeling to remember it. And until the last few years, it never occurred to me that it was significant for other people as well. But it was and remains so (and it’s why it’s on my Top 5 YA books list).
All that said, this paragraph really stood out for me and I wanted to share it. Betsy writes:
“It also was science fiction, a rare bird in the world of popular children’s literature. In her 1982 article “Childlike Wonder and the Truths of Science Fiction” in Children’s Literature L’Engle defends the use of such science fiction and fantasy in the’ reading lives of children. She writes, ‘Recently I received a letter from a young mother who wrote that a neighbor had announced she was not going to allow her children to make their minds fuzzy by reading fantasy or science fiction; she intended to give them books of facts about the real world. For these children, I feel, the real world will be lost. They will live in a limited world in which ideas are suspect. The monsters which all children encounter will be more monstrous because the child will not be armed with the only weapon effective against the unknown: a creative and supple imagination . . . We do not understand time. We know that time exists only when there is mass in motion. We also know that energy and mass are interchangeable, and that pure energy is freed from the restrictions of time. One of the reasons that A Wrinkle in Time took so long to find a publisher is that it was assumed that children would not be able to understand a sophisticated way of looking at time, would not understand Einstein’s theories. But no theory is too hard for a child so long as it is part of a story; and although parents had not been taught Einstein’s E = mc2 in school, their children had been.’ Then she goes on to talk about Chewbacca (this is true).”
Did you read Wrinkle in Time when you were a child? Or as an adult? What were your reactions? I’d love to hear.
“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that child is someone today.” – Stacia Tauscher
So well said. This should inform everything we do with children. They are not miniature adults. They are not incomplete humans. They just are, exactly as they are, with no comparisons between the child and an adult necessary, needed, or helpful.
So go pay attention to a child in your life!
“Children lead us back to the fountainhead
We are blase; We have seen too many strange things.
They call, inviting us to look at, and admire, pictures
That owe their strength to simplicity.”
Paul Hazard (by way of the blog, Seven Impossible Things)
No matter which holiday you might celebrate at this time of the year, this quote captures the meaning and intent of so many of them:
If our lives demonstrate that we are peaceful, humble and trusted, this is recognized by others. If our lives demonstrate something else, that will be noticed too.
– Rosa Parks, civil rights activist (1913-2005)
There’s just not more I can say:
Reading aloud to children is “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”
From Becoming a nation of readers: The report of the Commission on Reading by R.C. Anderson, E.H. Hiebert, J.A. Scott, and I.A.G. Wilkinson, 1985.
The beauty of storybook reading is that young children can learn a multitude of concepts through this one activity.
from Shared Storybook Reading by Helen K. Ezell and Laura M. Justice, 2005.
Quick, what quote do you remember Mr. Miyagi for in the movie Karate Kid?
You got it! “Wax on, wax off.”
Here are fifteen more. See how many you agree with. (I disagree with Yoda’s. Can you guess what I’d pick?)
“The book, despite its humble and ancient beginnings, is still the most
compact and efficient entertainment system available today. It requires no
batteries, no peripherals, no software, no upgrades. It is compact and can
easily fit in a pocket or handbag. It provides more entertainment, hour for
hour, than ten video games, fifty movies, or a thousand cellphone
ring-tones. It’s study and durable: Kept away from water, a book can last
centuries. Keeping a book with you is excellent insurance against those
empty moments on the bus, subway, in the waiting room or between activities.”
Charlene Swansen, Youth Services, Mancos Public Library District, CO
And I’ve posted this comic before but it goes along soooooo well that here it is again from Penny Arcade.
Go read a book!
I know it seems inconceivable but I’m going to put chickens before Abraham Lincoln. (But it is really tough, honest.)
Best Book I got in on the new book order:
Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson.
It’s got pictures of real chickens, 50’s memorabilia, eggs to count and even multiply, a Where’s Waldo factor, and a funny, funny ending.
Children and all other chicken lovers will have a delightful time with Tilly!
Abe’s Honest Words by Doreen Rappaport is a combination bio and quotations including one of my favorites about trying to please people (I’ll put it on the quote page soon).
How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham quotes Bob as saying, “In troubled time, when many of us are losing contact with the natural world, I wanted to show that there is still hope in a coming generation of children who have curiosity and empathy with the world around them, and that care and attention can sometimes fix broken wings.” He does a fine job.
Check out the latest addition to my quote page. Click on the link at the top of the page or scroll to the bottom of the left hand column.