Weighty Reading

A 8-year-old boy appears in my library and asks for a copy of the wrinkle book. He’s looking for Madeline L’Engle. When I place the book in his hands, he holds it, staring at the cover. It’s an old hardback copy, the dust jacket long since disappeared, so the cover is a plain turquoise, the corners worn down.

This book’s too hard for him to read. I know it, and he knows it, too. I ask if his parents ever read to him at night, and he says, No.

I was a little younger than this boy when my father read this book to my sister and me, and even now, I have to think a little about a tesseract: what is this odd, strange wrinkle in time?

This child isn’t shy, but he stands there, holding this book in two hands. Gently, I suggest he take a second book, too, one I know he can read and will likely love, but he takes the L’Engle, too, pushing the books deep into his backpack without a word.

Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.

— Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle In Time