A Wrinkle in Time: The First of the classic Time Quintet.

Madeleine L'Engle. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Square Fish, 2007.

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A Wrinkle In Time is the first and most famous novel in Madeline L’Engle’s time quintet series. It tells the story of Meg, a teenage girl who is struggling to fit in at school, and in her home life. She belongs to a school system that sees her as a troublemaker, and a family that is plagued with the mystery of their father’s whereabouts. Before the novel begins, Meg’s father has left on a secret government mission and hasn’t communicated with his family for two years. His absence has led to ridicule at school and emptiness at home.Her amazing and beautiful scientist mother may make Meg feel insecure, but she is also a binding force of familial love. Her brother, Charles Wallace seems to be the only person in the world who “gets” her, and not just in the traditional sense "How did Charles Wallace always know about her? How could he always tell?" Throughout the story, Meg begins to realize that her brother is truly special, in the beginning, he seems to know what Meg needs before she does, and toward the end, he is using his gifts to save the world. Meg seems trapped in her struggles until a fateful “dark and stormy night” brings the mystical Mrs. Whatsit into her life.

Through Mrs. Whatsit and her friends, Meg, Charles Wallace, and a fatefully present popular boy from school, Calvin O’ Keefe, embark on an outer space journey that transcends the limits of planet Earth. In space, Meg’s posse sees that true danger not only encompasses her father, but their entire home planet itself. On their journey, they come face-to-face with mystical concepts such as: time travel, utopia, free will, compassion, and most importantly love. As Meg races to save the things she loves the most, she begins to realize she must also grow in order to save herself.

Meg isn’t the only person who grows; the magical world that L’Engle creates enables her readers to grow as well. The story is written in accessible language that allows readers to comfortably imagine the universe in their own unique way. Meg is in the typical “ugly duckling” stage of puberty that all adolescents encounter at some point. This instantly makes her character relatable and appealing. Consistent Themes such as utopia, free will, and love are always in the spotlight; promoting the higher thinking that can possibly make readers consider, question, and see the world around them differently.

Recommendations for Teachers
This book would be a good book to teach from in a classroom. It deals with many issues that kids face in school like: self-confidence, scrutiny of family life, bullying, and acceptance. There is an undertone of biblical nuances throughout the book but these are not considered the main idea of the book. It is a fast read and could be used in class to get students interested in reading different genres of books. The middle school level would be great for this book because it deals with children within this age range. Much of the book is left open ended, which gives students, middle school age and younger, an opportunity to engage the text with their own ideas and imagination. However, students in grade levels much higher will be significantly less engaged for that same reason. The ideas are complex, but the writing style is somewhat simple, losing older students' attention.

About Madeleine L'Engle
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Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918. Growing up, she spent time in New York, Switzerland, and South Carolina before finally settling back in New York. At a very young age she developed an interest for writing which very quickly became her primary passion. She attended Smith College and studied English. Meanwhile, she also dabbled in theatre for a time and during this period she met her husband, Hugh Franklin and wrote her first two books. They moved to Connecticut to raise their children, but eventually returned to New York where he continued to act and she continued to write poetry and fiction for both children and adults. Her most famous work is A Wrinkle in Time, which won the Newberry Medal in 1963. After her husband’s death in 1986, Madeleine devoted her time to writing and lecturing. She passed away in 2007 after writing over sixty books. From

Multimedia (Video or Audio)

In this video, physicist David Morgan explains what a tesseract is.

NPR interview with Madeleine L'Engel about A Wrinkle in Time

Additional Resources:
  • Trailer A link to IMDB for the trailer of the Wrinkle in Time movie.
  • Lesson Plans Ideas for teachers using A Wrinkle in Time in a variety of subject areas.
  • About The Author A website with information about Madeleine L'Engle.
  • Learning Through Play A gameboard based on A Wrinkle in Time to help students learn and think about the book.
  • Unit Plan A teaching unit for A Wrinkle in Time.
  • Website A site for students to learn about the book, the author, ideas, related science and historical figures mentioned in the story.
  • Incorporating Math A website dedication to using A Wrinkle in Time to teach math lessons.

Reviewed by Maureen Barnaby, Nicole Baniukaitis, Alicia Smith, Kristen Rakowicz, and Nick Assaf.