Madeleine L'Engleby Kyle Zimmer, Tracey Baptiste, Tracey Baptiste
Madeleine L'Engle's long writing career began when she wrote her first story about a "grul" -a girl-at age five. L'Engle spent her early life bouncing between governesses and boarding schools before she found a place for herself at Smith College and then made a permanent home in New York City. Although L'Engle completed her most famous work, A Wrinkle in Time, in… See more details below
Madeleine L'Engle's long writing career began when she wrote her first story about a "grul" -a girl-at age five. L'Engle spent her early life bouncing between governesses and boarding schools before she found a place for herself at Smith College and then made a permanent home in New York City. Although L'Engle completed her most famous work, A Wrinkle in Time, in 1960, more than two dozen publishers rejected it before it finally was published in 1962. L'Engle's picture books, fantastic young-adult novels, and Christian writing made her one of the most popular and recognizable authors in American literature.
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Madeleine L’Engle by Tracey Baptiste chronicles the personal and professional journey of the Newbery-award-winning author of A Wrinkle in Time. Although she wrote fiction, nonfiction and religious books, L’Engle rejected being portrayed as either a children’s writer or a Christian writer, insisting, “I’m a writer period.” L’Engle fans will appreciate the details of her childhood, acting career, marriage and the overview of her published works with special attention to the Time Fantasy series and the Austin Family Series. Through plentiful quotes from L’Engle herself, the biography offers insight into the connection between her life, her stories and the characters she created: “Every single one of my adolescent heroines is based on my own experience.” Baptiste also addresses the religious controversy that has surrounded A Wrinkle in Time as one of the 10 most banned books in the United States and L’Engle’s response that she felt honored to be listed alongside some of her favorite writers such as Mark Twain, John Steinbeck and Anne Frank. Baptiste’s biography is part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Who Wrote That? series on famous children’s and young-adult authors. Packed with information on both L’Engle’s life and work, this relatively thin volume is well-organized and easily accessible. Each chapter contains at least one telling photograph of L’Engle and a “Did You Know?” sidebar. Extensive appendices include a chronology of L’Engle’s life from her birth in 1918 until her death in 2007 as well as comprehensive timelines of her 42 published works and 16 major awards. Baptiste provides numerous endnotes and a lengthy bibliography, however many of these cite internet sources, some of which are no longer available online and others which require registration to view. The biography does provide a valuable list of seven books and two websites for further reading. Overall, her facts seem to be accurate and well-supported, making the work suitable for high school students who simply want to learn more about L’Engle. Baptiste does a nice job of portraying L’Engle’s struggles and foibles as well as her virtues and success at an appropriate level for middle school readers. Laurie A. Gray Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vo. XIV, No. 1, February 2010); used with permission.