As part of my reading at Rochester Spoken Word’s Speak Easy Series, I had to answer two questions: What author or series of books really made you love to read as a kid? Why?
It was tough because there were many books I read and loved as a kid, but the point was not to try too hard. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle was a special book for me in the pre-Internet era of disco, shag carpets and mood rings.
I tagged along with Meg Murry, her little brother Charles Wallace and friend Calvin O’Keefe on an adventure through time and space. A message from three quirky time-traveling witches sent Meg on a mission to not only rescue her father from evil forces on another planet, but also learn how to embrace her individuality – her “weirdness.”
Growing up I was a shy overly emotional kid, with frizzy hair, braces and coke-bottle glasses. Getting lost in a book that could transport me to a fantasy world was a wonderful escape for me. As a reader, I could relate to Meg’s self-criticism and low self-image. Her insecurities, outspoken nature and ultimate call to adventure were irresistible.
Although I never had to rescue my Dad from a disembodied, quivering brain that insisted on conformity, Meg’s time-bending, interplanetary journey and belief in family love and moral responsibility cracked open the door to self-respect and learning to believe in herself. I loved how the author made me feel at the end of the book: like I could do the impossible.
Incidentally, 26 publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time. When it finally was picked up in 1962, the publisher didn’t expect anyone to buy it because it was enmeshed with theologian themes, crazy science and complex ideas. However, it became an international best-seller, won the 1963 Newbery Medal, and next Spring – 56 years after publication, a movie adaptation will be released starring Oprah!
Now, my question to you: What book or series of books made you love reading as a kid? Why?
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