Banned Books Week Spotlight – A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Original publication date: 1962

This week is banned books week in the United States.  All week I will be highlighting banned, challenged, and censored books I own and have read.

Publisher description:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

Status: Challenged in the United States (citation: #23).

Reason for challenge in the U.S.: Although Madeleine L’Engle is a Christian and writes books with religious themes (one could say they are similar to C.S. Lewis’ “Narnia” series, but more science fiction than fantasy), her books – particularly “A Wrinkle in Time” – have been challenged for essentially being too liberal a brand of Christianity.  Reasons given for challenges include characters who are witches (they are not, actually, although one is named Mrs Which), crystal balls (not actually a crystal ball), and for challenging religious beliefs because Jesus is included in a list along with artists, philosophers and scientists (this is a list of people who are trying to bring light to Earth, not of ‘gods’ or some such thing) (citation).

My thoughts: When I first read this book in grade school, I really didn’t get it and wasn’t all the crazy about it, perhaps because of the science fiction elements.  I reread it in middle school, though, and have loved it ever since.  It certainly never challenged my religious beliefs.  I actually also just reread this book in honor of banned books week, and you can see my review here.

Your Turn: Have you read “A Wrinkle in Time” or any of L’Engle’s other books?  What did you think?  If you are a Christian, does it challenge your religious beliefs for Jesus to be listed with philosophers and scientists as ‘one who brings light to the earth’?

Buy this book on Amazon.

Check out my Banned Books Week Spotlights all week, every day at 2 pm Central through Saturday, Octobter 4th.

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South AfricaThe Grapes of WrathThe Handmaid’s TaleNative SonTo Kill a MockingbirdLord of the Flies

Rebecca of The Book Lady’s Blog is doing Banned Books Week Spotlights as well, every morning at 9 am.  Check her out as well!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower — And Tango Makes Three — Catch-22 — The Giver — The Things They Carried — The Bluest Eye — It’s Perfectly Normal — Fahrenheit 451

19 comments to Banned Books Week Spotlight – A Wrinkle in Time

  • So funny that you should spotlight this book today. I am about 10 pages away from the end of it and hope to have my review up before the end of the day. So far, I’m just not seeing what the big deal is.

  • Oh I love that book! My parents used to read it to me in the evening (I grew up with family time before bed, when we took turns reading chapters from favorite books). This book, along with L’Engle’s others were some of our favorite books! I am Christian (and my parents are very conservative Christians), and I have never had a problem with any of her books or characters!

    If you haven’t read any of her books, take a look at them. I remember them as being very enjoyable, easy reads!

    :) Wendi

  • fyrefly

    I was raised only sort of vaguely Christian, and I loved these books, but never really noticed the Christian themes until I had someone point them out – unlike the Narnia books, where it’s slap-you-in-the-face unavoidable.

  • I remember trying to read this when I was in 5th or 6th grade and just not getting it. I gave up and haven’t picked it up again since, but I’m thinking that I’m going to try again because of this post. Thanks!

  • Wrinkle in Time is one of the first books I remember reading and being really crazy about – after I took it out from the library, I made my parents buy me my own copy. I agree that the religious themes are not in-your-face and I couldn’t imagine why someone would challenge this book. Of course, that might be exactly why some people would challenge it. Now I’m itching to find a new copy of this one!

  • When I read this book as a kid I was a pretty strong Christian follower. I didn’t find it challenging or insulting at all. In fact, I thought it was cool that Jesus would be included in the list of great people who enlightened the world, because I thought it showed some people would appreciate Jesus’ teachings, even if they didn’t believe in him.

  • I read it a long time ago. I can’t even really remember much about it! I recently read A Ring of Endless Light and Troubling a Star by her though.

  • I haven’t read this book yet and also read a few books from the banned book week. I’ll be adding this one to my list. I found this blog very interesting especially the information about why it was banned. Lately I’ve reread quite a few books that I read when I was younger and I realize that I pick up certain themes now that I never caught when I was in middle school or high school. I can see why adults would get upset about these issues but to many kids they never realize the bigger issues. They are sucked more into the story itself and don’t always realize the hidden meanings.

  • ok, when i was in 6th grade we read this book as a class and we had to create a scene from the book…like a life-size diorama thing. it. was. awesome. i loved this book, i should read it again. i read the phantom tollbooth again as an adult and that was a fantastic experience, so perhaps i should try this one again..

  • Elizabeth M.

    I think I bought this for my kids but I don’t think they ever read it. I need to go into their rooms and find it again to read it myself.

  • I was kind of shocked when I saw the title for this post. “Banned? Really?”

    Like you, I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was about 12 and didn’t really get into it. I’m not even sure if I finished it. I am not a Christian so it doesn’t really challenge my beliefs. If anything I’d have to say it reinforces them. I re-read A Wrinkle in Time earlier this year and I really got into it this time. I have 3 of the other 4 in the quintet and plan to read all 5 of them eventually. =)

  • This is one of my favorite books. I was raised in a Christian home although, admittedly, we were always more on the liberal side of Christianity) but I never even noticed the Christian themes. The fact that Jesus is mentioned with all those other great thinkers, artists, etc., never seemed objectionable to me, or to my parents apparently. Madeleine L’Engle is one of my mom’s favorite authors also.

    One of my favorite stories about people objecting to this book comes from L’Engle’s journal A Circle of Quiet She said that she got a concerned letter from a teacher saying that students were passing around Wrinkle reading the “sex scenes”, and she included page numbers. L’Engle said she ran to the book in great excitement “to read my sex scenes” which she didn’t realize she’d written, and discovered that they were the descriptions of tessering.

  • This was one of my favorite books – I can’t tell you how many times I reread it. I was always searching the library in hopes of finding books similar to it. It has never occurred to me that it had anything to do with religion at all. And I simply don’t see how it can be seen as offensive that Jesus is named on a list of philosophers and others who bring light to the world.

  • E.

    I received this book as a gift and I read it wondering if I had read it as a teen.
    I loved recognising the Bible verses that are in it! BUT I am very offended to have Jesus listed with many artists and others who were lights to see by. The verse used is : and the light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehended it not”. Jesus is THE light, He is THE way, THE TRUTH and THE LIGHT, no one can get to the Father except by HIM. To list Him with mere men and the god, Buddha, is impossible if you KNOW Him and who He is.
    It goes to show that God’s Word is true as what the is verse is saying is exactly what has happened in this book.

  • eva

    i also read this book when i was little, like around seven. i didn’t reALLY GET IT BUT I LIKED IT. when i went to 6th grade i reread it and got it and its still one of my favorite books alongside harry potter and the giver (also banned) I dont get why people ban such good books, Most kids don’t like to read but in my banned books class at high school i noticed some kids actually got into the books and kept on reading.

  • steve jonas

    I have just now discovered that ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ was banned in some schools. I knew about the difficulties getting it published and so on, due to a female lead protagonist and the pseudo science contained in the novel, etc. I read ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and the Narnia series around roughly the same age. 12 or 13. Someone stated that Narnia was in your face, Christian themed, well I for one not being introduced to Christianity until around 16 years old, was not slapped in the face by it. Needless to say, on my own without outside influence, took very little from any biblical reference in either book. Back to ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. I enjoyed it as a child, and re read it about 3 years ago and still enjoyed it. What I was faced with the second time, was as an adult, it became utterly clear that there was an over tone of “New Age” philosophy contained in the story and frankly, I was baffled by the multiple influences contained within. What I was left with, was much like back when I was 12 or 13. It was a fantasy story about children teaming up with outer worldly beings, concurring an evil force. Science fiction. Any religious overture of ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ was mishandled and very irresponsible and this is why I have this opinion. What the story shows, is that every person, even the offbeat, somewhat eccentric person, like the protagonist has the “inner light” as well as famous historical figures to concur this outside evil force. The evil being an outside of our own persona and the good being an inside source only to be tapped if properly sought out by love. Inside we contain good and only by an outside force is there evil. This is a product of the human ego, to lay blame and create this outside evil force, to deny the very fact that the evil is also contained within. We all have the potential to do good and evil.

  • Margot

    I struggle very much when people say “ban this book!”. There are many books that I do not like; I will not even finish reading, but I do not agree with banning/burning books. Books give light and knowledge to people. There is much knowledge that I had preferred my children not have – but in order to understand the world in which we live and the world other people live in — we read and find understanding.
    Concerning ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ –what a farce to consider that that book could do anything but encourage young readers to look at truth and light and desire it in their lives. Banning and burning books comes from FEAR. The scriptures in the New Testament states that fear is not of the Lord. Grow up, read some books. L’Engle, Hawthorne, Twain and Grisham and find understanding in our fellow beings!

  • Carlie Roberts

    this book sucks!!!

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