Cel­e­brat­ing the legacy of au­thor Madeleine L’En­gle

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Local - BY BETHANY STEVENS Bethany Stevens is a staff mem­ber at the Braden River Li­brary. Speak­ing Vol­umes, writ­ten by Mana­tee County Pub­lic Li­brary Sys­tem staff mem­bers, is pub­lished each Sun­day in the Braden­ton Her­ald.

Thurs­day marked what would have been the 100th birth­day of beloved au­thor Madeleine L’En­gle, who died in 2007.

L’En­gle’s writ­ing tran­scends genre. Her writ­ing port­fo­lio boasts po­etry, plays and books on an ar­ray of top­ics, in­clud­ing science, re­li­gion, fan­tasy, phi­los­o­phy and au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. She may be best re­mem­bered by her chil­dren’s fic­tion (“A Wrin­kle in Time” is in its 69th print­ing).

How­ever, young and old alike find mean­ing in her work. Per­va­sive in her work are themes of good ver­sus evil, and the im­per­a­tive to ap­proach the world with cu­rios­ity and love.

L’En­gle dab­bled in writ­ing from an early age, pen­ning her first story at age 5. Dur­ing her ear­li­est years, she of­ten ne­glected her school grades in fa­vor of craft­ing sto­ries. When she won a po­etry con­test in fifth grade, her teacher ac­cused her of pla­gia­rism. To clear the charges, her mother pre­sented the teacher with a stack of L’En­gle’s sto­ries from home.

As L’En­gle grew, so too did her pas­sion for writ­ing. In high school, her grades and per­sonal writ­ing reached equi­lib­rium, and she flour­ished. L’En­gle grad­u­ated with hon­ors from Smith Col­lege in Mas­sachusetts, then moved into a Green­wich Vil­lage apart­ment where she penned plays and acted on the stage. It was dur­ing these years that her first two nov­els were pub­lished.

“A Wrin­kle in Time,” for which she won the pres­ti­gious New­bery Medal, was re­jected 26 times be­fore be­ing pub­lished in 1963. Its pub­li­ca­tion ce­mented her place in lit­er­ary his­tory.

As we honor the 100th birth­day of this lit­er­ary gi­ant, her grand­chil­dren cel­e­brate it with a spe­cial birth­day gift of their own. To­gether, Char­lotte Jones Voik­lis and Léna Roy drew upon L’En­gle’s jour­nals to write “Be­com­ing Madeleine,” a ju­ve­nile bi­og­ra­phy about their grand­mother.

Though writ­ten for chil­dren, adults also will find it in­spi­ra­tional — a fit­ting trib­ute to a woman who once said, “If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for chil­dren.”

All five books in the

Time Quin­tet, start­ing with “A Wrin­kle in Time,” are avail­able at the Mana­tee County li­braries. Our li­braries of­fer au­dio­book ver­sions of the first three books as well.

If you would like to ap­proach the story in a dif­fer­ent for­mat, try “A Wrin­kle in Time: The Graphic Novel.” This adap­tion is also avail­able in Span­ish un­der the ti­tle “Una Ar­ruga en el Tiempo.”

Through our dig­i­tal col­lec­tion, pa­trons can ac­cess “A Study Guide for Madeleine L’En­gle’s A Wrin­kle in Time.” The dig­i­tal col­lec­tion also of­fers the sound­track for the re­cently re­leased “A Wrin­kle in Time” movie. The 2003 TV movie of “A Wrin­kle in Time” and the 2018 big screen adap­tion are both avail­able through the li­brary sys­tem.

Adults may be more in­ter­ested in her novel “Meet the Austins” and its se­quels.

For those pre­fer­ring non­fic­tion, try “Two-part In­ven­tion: The Story of a Mar­riage.” This mem­oir doc­u­ments L’En­gle’s 40year mar­riage to fa­mous stage and tele­vi­sion ac­tor Hugh Franklin.

All these ti­tles can be ac­cessed through the Mana­tee County li­brary sys­tem found at my­mana­tee.org/li­brary.

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