• Susan Stoderl

On Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time was almost not published because according to its author, it “dealt overtly with the problem of evil, and it was really difficult for children, and was it a children’s or an adults’ book, anyhow?”

The book was rejected by almost every publisher and ultimately returned to her by her agent and hidden away in a drawer. However, a Christmas tea given for her mother changed all of that. A guest at the tea introduced her to the publisher John C. Farrar. At the time he did not publish children’s books but loved the story. He ended up publishing it in 1962. The next year, the almost-not-published book won the coveted Newbery Medal.

In the 1990s, the book started being banned mostly by conservative Christians because it mixed science, magic, and Christian precepts. One does not mix Jesus up with philosophers, quantum physics, and magical beings! Ms. L’Engle, who was a devout Episcopalian, wrote on spiritual matters, and couldn’t understand how it challenged Christian beliefs.

As a writer of middle-grade books, an Episcopalian, and a sassy senior myself, I fully support one of her thoughts. “You have to write the book that wants to be written … if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

#latebloomers, #childrensbooks, #youngadultbooks, #womenwriters