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Madeleine L'Engle

"Perhaps what we are called to do may not seem like much, but the butterfly is a small creature to affect galaxies thousands of light years away." Madeleine L'Engle, A Stone for a Pillow.

The world has lost a beautiful butterfly.

Madeleine L'Engle died in her sleep last night at her home in Connecticut. She was 89 years old. She'd written more than 60 books for adults and children, including the Newbery Award-winning A Wrinkle in Time, which won the award in 1963. A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in the Time Quintet, which includes A Wind In The Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), Many Waters (1986), and An Acceptable Time (1989).

L'Engle won the Newbery for a book that she almost didn't sell. A Wrinkle in Time had been rejected 26 times before it sold to Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, because it was "too different." L'Engle's fantasy books tended to include scientific principles, including space travel and mitochondrial DNA (and that's just in the first two books of the Time Quintet, without getting into any of her other books (including the rest of the "kairos" books about the O'Keefe and Murry families and the "chronos" books, including Newbery honor winner, A Ring of Endless Light. L'Engle wrote other fiction as well, including series and stand-alone titles. In addition, she wrote poetry, plays, short stories and books about writing, including one called Trailing Clouds of Glory: Spiritual Values in Children's Literature.

You can read some of L'Engle's poems here on this Poetry Friday.

Publisher's Weekly has an extremely brief obituary up today, and will be doing a much better job of it next week: they got the news just as they went to press.

L'Engle once said "We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts." She used her talents well.





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( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
robinellen
Sep. 7th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
I think it's safe to say that she was my favorite author...a beautiful butterfly, indeed!
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
She led a full life, and one full of faith, as it turns out.
robinellen
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
To me, LIVE COAL IN THE SEA really discussed many of the philosophies behind her faith -- even though it's 'fiction'...I love that book!
amanda_marrone
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
Awe--I remember being blown away by A Wrinkle in Time in my sixth grade reading group.
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
It was pretty marvelous -- and IT is still one of the scariest bad guys ever written.
lizannewrites
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:41 pm (UTC)
I just got back from the library - looked at her PB there and thought about re-reading Wrinkle In Time [ last time I read it was in a Kiddie Lit class in college]
Then I read your message here about her. Hhhhmm :o(
Now I want to read all of her books - especially her Crosswick's Journals
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Yeah -- I'd never heard of those before (Crosswick, that is). I still have to finish the Time Quintet, but I love-love-love A Wrinkle in Time and The Wind in the Door.
de_scribes
Sep. 7th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
I love the way you described her.

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know about her book on writing. I'll look for it.

Thanks, Kelly.
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words.
seaheidi
Sep. 8th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
i've read about a dozen of these today, and this one has touched me the most--that opening quote was fantastic. what a lovely tribute, kelly. thanks.
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC)
You're welcome. And thanks for your kind words.
seaheidi
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:35 am (UTC)
=)
tem2
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC)
There's a short list of books that really changed my life, and A Wrinkle in Time is at the top of that list. So sad.
kellyrfineman
Sep. 8th, 2007 01:18 am (UTC)
It is sad, and yet she led a long life, and she's had some serious health issues in the past five years or so.

I like to think she's among the stars now, and maybe being coddled by a wonderful creature like the one that held Meg once upon a time on a planet far away.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 8th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)
This is a lovely tribute, Kelly. Thanks.

~eisha (7-Imp)
kellyrfineman
Sep. 9th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
You are welcome. Although the beautiful words were hers.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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