A Wrinkle in Timeby Madeleine L’Engle Stacy M Darwin LSIS 5525 - Dr. Cogdell Assignment 6 – Challenges and Censorship Booktalk
"Life, with it's rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. - Mrs. Whatsit" — Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time)
Book Information • A Wrinkle in Time • Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy • Interest Level: Older children and younger teens; light reading for adults. • "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." — Madeleine L'Engle L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962.
Critical AssessmentBrief Summary A unique family composed of brilliant scientist parents, gifted young child, socially successful twin boys and awkward, but smart, teenage daughter take part in a wild sci-fi adventure to retrieve their missing father and fight universal evil along the way. Lead by three bizarre and spiritual like guides, three children travel through time and space to visit distant galaxies and become actively involved with fighting The Darkness that is waging war both in these unfamiliar places and on Earth.
Critical AssessmentPersonal Evaluation I found A Wrinkle in Time to be a successful example of blended sci-fi, fantasy and adventure genres. Almost fifty years since it was first published, very little of the novel feels dated. Perhaps the only evidence that it was not written in this decade is the absence of cell phones and the lack of Internet research to explore the theories of quantum physics and tesseracts.
Critical AssessmentPersonal Evaluation (cont.) A Wrinkle in Time is one of those novels that are like the many layers of an onion. A ten year old will enjoy the storyline and imagery, and will be challenged by the vocabulary. A teenager will understand more of the theological and philosophical references found in the text. As a first-time adult reader of the novel, I felt as if I were watching a full length child’s movie or cartoon in which subtle innuendos and references are intended for the pleasure and entertainment of the adults in the audience. Merely starting the first page with “It was a dark and stormy night” will probably not denote anything for the elementary school reader, but the more experienced reader will “get” the stylistic play intended by the author.
Critical AssessmentPersonal Evaluation (cont.) In addition, when one reads this book with the historical background knowledge of 1950s (when the book was written) social norms and current events, it is incredible that the gawky teenage girl (that is good at math and science) is the protagonist and her two sidekicks are male. Also, the real threat Americans felt concerning cold war and fear or communism brings a whole new dimension to Camazotz and the pulsing IT brain.
Challenge Details • 1985- Polk City, Florida Elementary School Parent challenged book due to feelings that storyline promoted witchcraft, crystal balls and demons. • 1990- Anniston, Alabama Schools Challenged due to the listing of Jesus Christ with other names of great artists, philosophers, intellectuals and religious leaders in reference to those that have fought evil on the planet Earth. • 1996- Newton, North Carolina’s Catawba County School Board Parent complains that book undermines religious beliefs. (Banned Books Project)
Collection Inclusion I would not hesitate to have this book in my elementary, middle school or high school collection. I feel it is completely appropriate for older elementary students (4th and 5th grade) and offers even deeper examination for older students. I also found the theological messages of this book refreshing and completely non-threatening. That being said, my social circle is extremely wide-ranging (from outspoken liberals to die-hard conservatives) and I am certain there could be issues of fault found from both sides. Some would feel it had too much religious messages and others would feel it was lacking. At the end of the day, it is a book that can stir something in the mind, expand one’s thinking, and spark discussion. That is MY definition of a great book that would deserve a spot on the shelf of the media center I work in!
Book Challenge Procedures • Prior to a challenge, there should be several components in place in the media center. • A policy manual clearly stating the procedures should be in the media center. • A media advisory committee should be in place. • Upon receiving the complaint, it should be requested in writing and presented to the building principal. (Media specialist should be pleasant and responsive without making promises.) • The administration will explain the school selection procedure. • The principal will then provide a copy of the official complaint form. • Formal complaint will be presented to Reconsideration Committee which contains media specialist, teacher representatives, parents and the principal. • Committee will examine, read professional reviews, make informed decisions, create a report responding to complainant. • Material will be retained or withdrawn based on decisions of committee. (Wake County Public School Systems, wcpss.net)
Library Bill of Rights • Library Bill of Rights • The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services. • I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. • II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. • III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. • IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas. • V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views. • VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use. • Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996. (ala.org)
Book Talk Link Click here for book talk!
References American Library Association. "Library Bill of Rights." 23 January 1996. ala.org. 6 February 2010 <http://ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/oif/statementspols/statementsif/librarybillrights.cfm>. Banned Books Project. 23 September 2003. 10 February 2010 <http://solonor.com/bannedbooks/archives/001742.html>. L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1962 L'Engle, Madeleine. Religion and Ethics. with Bob Abernethy. pbs.org. 17 November 2000. Mattson, Jennifer. "Another Look at a Wrinkle in Time." Booklist (2007): 58-59. Scales, Pat. "When Weeding is Wrong." School Library Journal November 2009: 18. Thomas, Sally. "Fantasy and Faith." First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life (2007): 15-16. Wake County Public School System. "Selection and Procurement of Media: Collection Development and Management." 20 November 2008. Wake County Public School Systems. 6 February 2010 <http://www.wcpss.net/policy-files/series/policies/5410-rp.html>.