A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
Enter slowly into the world of the whimsical Mrs Whatsit, the prodigious Mrs Who, and the shimmering Mrs Which (punctuations deliberately eliminated by L’Engle in original manuscript), because once you tesseract, you may never be able to get back. In this classic tale of good versus evil set on the fantastical planets of Uriel, Camazozt, and Ixchel, we follow the adolescent Meg, her child prodigy brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin, as they fight to free their father, and then Charles Wallace, from the confines of CENTRAL Central Intelligence Agency and the terrifying IT. L’Engle’s near-prophetic depictions of the culture on Camazozt gave us ample opportunities to discuss independence and conformity, conscientious objection, Prudence and Fidelity. From the quirky and fantastical encounters with Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, to the frightening discovery of The Black Thing, Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin must learn to believe in what is right and true, to find the Courage to stand up against evil, and to be willing to fight the evil on their own.
The decisions and actions of Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace provide many examples of Fortitude and Faith; and ultimately, it is Agape, the unconditional, selfless, sacrificial kind of love, that proves to be the only thing that saves Charles Wallace from his fateful plight and eventually free them all to return home safely.This group of older light readers had never encountered the worlds of Madeline L’Engle; and the mentors’ depiction of the children’s amazing flight on the back of Mrs Whatsit on the lush and stunning planet Uriel convinced them that they should tesseract in Time themselves. Group discussions revealed that students had rarely or never encountered unadulterated nature, so we enjoyed a day cleaning up the campgrounds of Camp Tannadoonah as community service project, and ended the experience roasting hot dogs and corn over a campfire. This was a magical moment, as one student had never roasted anything over a campfire, and he fairly inhaled a half-dozen hot dogs and corn with a wide grin permanently pasted on his face. We capped the day with some delicious s’mores, and gave the students their own small piece of Uriel to take home with them.