Yesterday’s Wrinkle in Time’s 50th Anniversary Event was excellent. Symphony Space, Macmillan, Betsy Bird, Bank Street Bookstore, and everyone involved did a fantastic job. The place was packed with a lovely range of kids, parents, and adult admirers of the book (now out in a gorgeous 50th anniversary commemorative edition) and its author, Madeleine L’Engle. The event was part of Symphony Space’s author series, the Thalia Kids’ Book Club. Next up — Carl Hiassen.
The program was a lovely mix that, I think, appealed to this wide audience range. It began with James Kennedy‘s video “A Wrinkle in Time in 90 Seconds.” After an introduction by one of Madeleine L’Engle’s grandchildren Betsy Bird moderated a wonderful conversation with Lois Lowry (wow), Katherine Paterson (wow,wow), Rebecca Stead (wow, wow, wow), and R.L. Stine (wow, wow, wow, wow). I hope someone else blogs about this as I didn’t take notes. (There are some tweets though.) I do remember Betsy saying she didn’t think a Newbery Committee today would select the book because of its religious content. Having been on a recent Committee I beg to differ.
Next was one of the absolute highlights of the afternoon — Jane Curtin reading from the book. She was amazing, amazing, amazing. After her was another excellent performance by a group of high school students. Children’s literature expert Leonard S. Marcus (who has an adult biography of L’Engle coming out this fall) provided closing remarks, featuring a wonderful story about one of L’Engle’s performances. Between the different presentations were lovely videos and images including the new book trailer and others of L’Engle and her book.
Personal tidbit: for many years I lived a block away from L’Engle and often went with my elderly father to Henry’s, a restaurant in the ground floor of her building. Because my mother had been in a wheel chair for several years before her death I was always aware of elderly women in wheelchairs and often noticed one when we dined there. Years later someone told me it was Madeleine L’Engle. Last night, hearing this story, one of her granddaughters told me she loved the place and would go often.
It is hard to do an event about a beloved iconic author and book that speaks to a range of ages, but yesterday it happened. Bravo, Symphony Space, Macmillan, Betsy Bird, and everyone else involved.
(N.B. Among my handful of tweets yesterday during the event I mentioned that I’d loved the book so much as a kid that I’d done some illustrations for it. @bankstreet replied, “
@medinger Oh, please show them to us!” So I am — the above being my teen take on Meg Murry.)
A truncated version of this post is also up at Huffington Post.