30 DoB, Day 21: Favorite Childhood Book

Back to childhood for the next day in the 30 Days of Books list:

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood

It’s probably no surprise at all to anyone that stops by here that I was a big reader as a kid.  Loved to read.  Still do, of course.

As a kid, I read all kinds of books.  As I recall, I started on books my older brother and sister had read, specifically a lot of Hardy Boys. I can remember Chet chortling a lot.

But I think the book that really started my love affair with books and certainly kindles in me a love of science fiction was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.  The story was the first that I recall that didn’t follow a standard “kids book” formula and challenged me as a reader to open my mind to new ideas and new worlds.

A Wrinkle In Time

I hope that every child finds a book that does the same for them.

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19 thoughts on “30 DoB, Day 21: Favorite Childhood Book

  1. I totally agree. I STILL love this book. I remember every time I would come across it on my bookshelf over the years, I would be compelled to read it. Each time, I found new things to love about it. I read the sequels, but I think this one was the best.

    • Thanks for dropping by Tamara — it’s interesting from the comments on this post that there’s a pretty good argument to be made for re-reading this book as an adult!

  2. It’s an excellent book, and you’re right that part of what makes it so good is that the story develops naturally, without being forced into a standard formula. I recently reread it and reviewed it here, if you’re interested in reading my thoughts on it. I also just reviewed the sequel A Wind in the Door and am currently reading the next book in the series, A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I’m struck by the efficiency of L’Engle’s writing: she wastes no words, but only tells you things which are important to the story and characters, and then manages to tell them in a beautiful, sometimes even poetic, way. She has extraordinary control over every sentence, to a spellbinding effect.

    • David — I think the more that I read some modern fantasy, the more I appreciate authors that choose to write stories concisely. UK LeGuin’s original Earthsea was like that for me. So many now seem to feel that it’s not “real” unless a book is 600 pp long or more. There is a beauty in the craft that can convey so much in so little.

  3. Excellent choice, Steve! But after re-reading Wrinkle when my own children started reading L’Engle’s books, I became convinced it’s really adult science fiction disguised as a children’s book. The younger reader recognizes the quality of the storytelling; the older one sees the many ideas playing in the background—the concept of time as a physical entity and the ability to bend it (quantum physics!), the struggle between good and evil, darkness and light (L’Engle’s concept is very Christian in that respect, though ironically her books have been banned from schools for advocating witchcraft!), and since it is about a teenaged girl, conformity and marginality. It also is a frightening book for young children: I still remember waking up at 2 a.m. and hearing my 10-year-old younger daughter hiss in my ear, “I can’t sleep! I keep thinking of IT!”

  4. By FAR my favorite book as a kid! I went through a huge L’Engle phase. I just recently re-read the whole Time trilogy and the two companion books. Her writing is so beautiful without being fluffy.

  5. My Grandma gave me lots of Nancy Drew novels, but this was a favorite of mine too. I was pretty young when I read it and it scared me, but it was brilliant. And yeah, it dared to open new doors for kids. Nowadays it would probably be deemed as “dangerous” and banned or something (how dare some woman expose our kids to wizardry and other worlds? Oops, sounds familiar……).

  6. I’ve just recently reread the whole series. I love L’Engle, and the characters she creates. Charles Wallace, Meg, Sandy, Dennys, Mrs’s Whose, Whatsit and Which. Adore. I remember stories from the series often. It, the giant pulsating brain; deepening inside Charles Wallace’s Mitochondria; a pregnant, kything Meg. Oh yes. Adore. Wasn’t L’Engle a mathematician before becoming a novelist?

    • ginger — you know, i don’t know if L’engle was a mathematician or not. It wouldn’t surprise me — she seemed so comfortable with subjects that would normally be pretty abstract concepts.

  7. I loved “Wrinkle in Time” as a kid! Still do! It was the book that pulled me out of the High Fantasy genre and opened me up to actual Science Fiction, and the cover you posted is the same as the one I grew up reading. I tried to filch it from my mom’s bookshelf when I moved out, but alas, she wouldn’t let me. :( I’m trying to hunt down a decent box set of the whole quartet of books – next paycheck, maybe!

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