Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Wrinkle in Time (Naomi Kinsman)

Though I struggled through A Wrinkle in Time when I first read it as a girl, now, it tops my list as the book that has most affected my writing. I love the plot and the characters and the adventure of the story, but what I love most is that Madeleine L'Engle wrote A Wrinkle in Time for herself first, to struggle to understand her own questions about the world.

It is easy to think that writing for children involves traveling back in time, remembering how it felt to be in fourth or fifth grade. For me, though, writing for children is really writing for me. Madeleine L'Engle often wrote about children being more able or more willing to understand the most difficult topics, and I agree with her. Children are more able to tap into the world of the imagination, the world of the subconscious, and they are more able to suspend their disbelief.

When I'm wrestling to understand conflicts between groups of people that seem unsolvable, or to understand destructive acts, writing from a child's point of view helps me see more clearly, understand more. In the end of the story, my young characters help me hope more for the future. Writing from a child's point of view allows me to push aside all the yes, buts and believe, for a short time, that anything is possible.

When I reread A Wrinkle in Time as an adult, I rediscovered the power of children's books. These books have the power to change me, right now, in my adult life. These books have the power to make me hope in a brighter future.

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