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Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters

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This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay. This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy. Using never-before-seen archival mat This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay. This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles--a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing--and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon's work, but also to anyone interested in writing.


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This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay. This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy. Using never-before-seen archival mat This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay. This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles--a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing--and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon's work, but also to anyone interested in writing.

30 review for Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of a Wrinkle in Time by Her Granddaughters

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    Highly recommended to all fans of Madeleine L'Engle's books, to young people who have specific goals, especially if they want to be writers or artists or have aspirations to succeed in a particular field or endeavor. This book is a gift to fans of her books. Children and teens who have passion for writing will be particularly interested in this biography. I also recommend this to readers who’ve had an important grandchildren-grandparent bond because that part of the story clearly comes through t Highly recommended to all fans of Madeleine L'Engle's books, to young people who have specific goals, especially if they want to be writers or artists or have aspirations to succeed in a particular field or endeavor. This book is a gift to fans of her books. Children and teens who have passion for writing will be particularly interested in this biography. I also recommend this to readers who’ve had an important grandchildren-grandparent bond because that part of the story clearly comes through too. I inhaled this book in less than 2 days. It’s a book I wish I could own. I have loved this author since I was 9 years old and read Meet the Austins/Meet the Austins published two years earlier, and A Wrinkle in Time newly published that year. Those two books helped me get through my childhood and have never been off my top 10 list and that is saying a great deal. Despite being a huge fan of many of her books, and researching many people throughout my lifetime, for some reason I’d never made a point to learn much about her life. Readers can glean a lot about her early years without reading a biography. It’s obvious just from reading her books that she must have commonalities with Meg, with Vicky, with Camilla, with Flip, but this book gives details and they were so much fun to learn. She also wrote autobiographical works of her later years, but I’ve read just one or two. Now I’d like to read even more about her, but this book was extremely satisfying. The authors, her two granddaughters, deliberately chose to cover her life only up to the point of the publication of A Wrinkle in Time, and given that the book is written for middle grade readers, I think it was a sound decision, but now as an older adult I’d enjoy an account of her entire life, more than what she revealed in her writings. The photos and journal entries and letters, all the materials were wonderful to see. Marvelous for fans to have access to these things! I was impressed with what an accomplished person she was! I will say that some of the images of her early poems, letters, and journal entries were so tiny on the pages that I needed a magnifying glass to read some of their text. It was well worth the effort to do that. Bonus points from me: Not too far into this book I realized something about my own parents, similar to Madeleine’s in one way, and so I learned a bit about my life too. The book is well written and very well organized, and I appreciate that this account shows Madeleine as a well-rounded person, with many positive attributes and with flaws too, and shows happy and difficult events in her life. I appreciated the Epilogue and Author’s Note at the end of the book. Though some tragedies are mentioned along with her triumphs, I do think the book is suitable for middle grade kids and adolescents and adults can enjoy it too. I certainly did, maybe even more than I would have as a young person. I was completely engrossed while reading this. It was incredibly hard for me to write a review for this book because I knew I couldn’t do it justice. I’ve never been able to write proper reviews for any of this author’s books; as usual, it’s hardest for me to write reviews for books I’ve loved the most. And now I want to reread her books all over again and read ones I haven’t yet read. L’Engle was a prolific author. Since this is a biography these aren’t spoilers in the traditional sense but I think it would be most satisfying for readers to read this information in the book proper, so I’m putting the rest of the review in spoiler tags: (view spoiler)[ I LOVE this quote (on page 79) from a journal entry she wrote while in college: “I made a discovery yesterday. I don’t suppose it’s an original sort of discovery at all, but at any rate, I found it for myself. When you write anything – a poem or a story – it’s yours only as long as only you know anything about it. As soon as anybody reads it, it becomes partly theirs, too. They put things into it that you never thought of, and they don’t see many things that you thought plain.” (If only every author understood this.) Wow! Now I know from where she gets the store from in the Meet the Austins book. It’s so funny re the recent AWIT movie which I’m unlikely to see despite a great choice of actress for Meg – I’ve been saying it should have been unknowns for the Mrs Whatsit & Co (and not Oprah, Reese, Mindy) because the book is about Meg, and Charles Wallace, and Calvin, not about the Mrss and too much attention is being paid to them in the movie trailers, so it was fascinating to see her working title for A Wrinkle in Time. I actually was going to add a lot more parts of the book that particularly struck me, but I’m hoping that readers will read the book for themselves. (hide spoiler)] 5 full stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    A lovely biography of Madeleine L'Engle written by her granddaughters. The style is neat and simple (the book is intended to be appropriate for child readers as well as adults), and tracks Madeleine's life into her forties, when she finally sold A Wrinkle in Time to a publisher (it was rejected by many because it was considered too hard to categorize). It's striking how certain Madeleine was from an early age that she wanted to be a writer, and how much she struggled and doubted herself but kept A lovely biography of Madeleine L'Engle written by her granddaughters. The style is neat and simple (the book is intended to be appropriate for child readers as well as adults), and tracks Madeleine's life into her forties, when she finally sold A Wrinkle in Time to a publisher (it was rejected by many because it was considered too hard to categorize). It's striking how certain Madeleine was from an early age that she wanted to be a writer, and how much she struggled and doubted herself but kept working towards her dream. Unpleasant aspects of her life are mentioned (falling outs with friends, tensions with extended family, issues with her children), but they're not dwelt on, partly because the book moves quickly in general, and partly because the authors felt uncomfortable encroaching on certain aspects of their grandmother's life. Essentially, this book doesn't treat Madeleine's life like it was perfect or easy by any means, but it's not a tell-all biography, and glosses over a lot of details that I would've loved to have seen expanded. However, the real gem in here is the wealth of primary resources included: letters, journal entries, photographs, even old report cards. They make this book truly special, and I think it's a perfect gift for children (or adults) who love A Wrinkle in Time and wonder what kind of path can lead someone to write an iconic book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Insightful biography of author Madeleine L'Engle that explores her early life leading up to the publication of A Wrinkle in Time. I really enjoyed "meeting" Madeleine and reading through her life. This was written for an upper middle grade audience, and told the story well, using excerpts from journals, report cards, postcards, and other memorabilia as primary resources. My star rating is based on that. I feel like a lot of us sometimes rate memoirs, auto/biographies based on how much we liked t Insightful biography of author Madeleine L'Engle that explores her early life leading up to the publication of A Wrinkle in Time. I really enjoyed "meeting" Madeleine and reading through her life. This was written for an upper middle grade audience, and told the story well, using excerpts from journals, report cards, postcards, and other memorabilia as primary resources. My star rating is based on that. I feel like a lot of us sometimes rate memoirs, auto/biographies based on how much we liked the person, so I'm trying to make a conscious effort not to do that. Madeleine's personality was...well. I have to say, she was definitely an interesting individual. She had quite the paradoxical personality. I can understand why some people had a hard time getting along with her, but also how that helped her as a writer, and endeared her to others. For sure she is a wonderful writer, with a legacy in literature. I for, one, am a fan of her work. I need to go hunt up some of her poetry. I really liked the pieces that were in this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is one I shall cherish for a very long time. When I was in the fifth grade my mother was privileged enough to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak at a church event. She brought back an autographed copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Last night, after finishing this new biography for youth, I opened my copy and fingered the words now more than 30 years old, "for Sarah - tesser well, Madeleine L'Engle." Sentimental, yes. Sappy? Perhaps. Yet that is the impact this book had on my heart. Just in time for the pr This is one I shall cherish for a very long time. When I was in the fifth grade my mother was privileged enough to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak at a church event. She brought back an autographed copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Last night, after finishing this new biography for youth, I opened my copy and fingered the words now more than 30 years old, "for Sarah - tesser well, Madeleine L'Engle." Sentimental, yes. Sappy? Perhaps. Yet that is the impact this book had on my heart. Just in time for the premiere of the film adaptation of L'Engle's Newberry award-winning novel comes this biography. And who better to write it than two of her granddaughters? The girls' love for their grandmother is clear, though it is not difficult to see why they should love her so. For Madeleine was quite a lady! The book focuses on her early childhood up until the publication of A Wrinkle in Time in 1962. Included are a plethora of journal entires, poems, school progress reports, and photographs. Truly a book to treasure! Lest you think this book is only for children and teens, let me assure you that is most definitely not the case. Anyone who is a fan of L'Engle or her work, anyone who has an interest in the writing process, or anyone who has ever felt alone will likely find a kinship with the author and gain inspiration from her determination and persistence. It has been a number of years since I read any of her books. From what I do remember, my interest the Wrinkle series had far less to do with the science aspect of it and was much more about the lives and feeling of the characters. As I read this biography it was not difficult to see how much of herself is infused into her characters. Although I was aware Madeleine had written several others, I am sorry to confess I had never taken a gander at any of them. I intend to correct that as I am curious to find more of her being amongst the pages of the novels.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tirzah Eleora

    I may have enjoyed this more if I had some familiarity with Madeleine L’Engle’s books, but I do hope that when I get around to trying her works they are more engagingly penned than this biography is. A good biography ought to make the reader feel as though she’s received a personal introduction to the subject, but the Madeleine in these pages is lifeless. The flat narrative style reads like one of those mediocre children’s biographies of famous people I had to read in the elementary grades, the I may have enjoyed this more if I had some familiarity with Madeleine L’Engle’s books, but I do hope that when I get around to trying her works they are more engagingly penned than this biography is. A good biography ought to make the reader feel as though she’s received a personal introduction to the subject, but the Madeleine in these pages is lifeless. The flat narrative style reads like one of those mediocre children’s biographies of famous people I had to read in the elementary grades, the purpose of which was merely to convey facts and not the person. This book was clearly geared for that same elementary-aged audience, so perhaps the authors felt a more descriptive and lively text wouldn’t hold the attention of the young? In addition to the poor quality of writing, the manner in which they chose to end the story of their grandmother was abrupt and startling. As soon as ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ has been accepted for publication, the book ends, with just a short epilogue to complete it. The authors explain that they did this mostly because they felt that young readers would be primarily interested in the young Madeleine, which is all fine and well, but I would have made it a bit more clear in the title or description that this in not, in fact, a biography of her entire life. Another con: the unaesthetic layout of the book. Pros would include the photographs and the many entries from Madeleine’s journals that pepper the book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Likely more of a 3.5 than a 4 star rating. It is nicely written, with all primary source material, naturally. It seems mostly based on research the granddaughters did through her voluminous journals, and on conversations with their grandmother, many from when the authors were still kids themselves. It pretty much stops after Wrinkle in Time was published, with a very short final chapter summing up the rest of her life. Their rationale was that they thought youth would be more interested in L'Eng Likely more of a 3.5 than a 4 star rating. It is nicely written, with all primary source material, naturally. It seems mostly based on research the granddaughters did through her voluminous journals, and on conversations with their grandmother, many from when the authors were still kids themselves. It pretty much stops after Wrinkle in Time was published, with a very short final chapter summing up the rest of her life. Their rationale was that they thought youth would be more interested in L'Engle's own youth than in her adult life. I suspect that stopping there also kept them from falling into the same trap as L'Engle herself in airing family life that the family would have preferred to be kept private. The authors clearly absolutely loved their grandmother. If you want a dispassionate biography showing the negatives as well as the positives of L'Engle, this is likely the wrong book for you. They did mention one action L'Engle took that she apparently never really understood the harm in doing, a prank in high school. But mostly this is really more of a work of love than a scholarly examination of L'Engle. With the movie "Wrinkle in Time" coming out March 9, this is highly recommended to fill in the time waiting for the movie.

  7. 4 out of 5

    LibraryLaur

    This middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle, written by her granddaughters, included lots of photos and excerpts from Madeleine's own journals and letters. It ends with the publication of A Wrinkle in Time instead of with her death, which seemed a little premature -- or maybe I just wished it weren't over. This middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle, written by her granddaughters, included lots of photos and excerpts from Madeleine's own journals and letters. It ends with the publication of A Wrinkle in Time instead of with her death, which seemed a little premature -- or maybe I just wished it weren't over.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Having lunch with Madeleine L'Engle when I was 21 was the highlight of my literary experience. I've heard her speak and read many of her books. Because of the many connections I had with Madeleine through college and beyond, I thoroughly enjoyed this simple biography. It gave me insights into who Madeleine was as a youth and young adult, through her years in the theater, blossoming and struggling as a writer, and her marriage and eventual family. What an honor--to have your granddaughters write Having lunch with Madeleine L'Engle when I was 21 was the highlight of my literary experience. I've heard her speak and read many of her books. Because of the many connections I had with Madeleine through college and beyond, I thoroughly enjoyed this simple biography. It gave me insights into who Madeleine was as a youth and young adult, through her years in the theater, blossoming and struggling as a writer, and her marriage and eventual family. What an honor--to have your granddaughters write a biography! Thank you for sharing your beloved 'Gran' with the rest of us!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Excellent! I have been a Madeleine L'Engle fan from the age of ten; I've read most, if not all, of her books, including her autobiographical ones, and I've heard her speak several times. Yet I learned many things from this biography. Her granddaughters, aside from their own personal connection with Madeleine, provide letters, journal snippets, photos, postcards, and more. It's fascinating to see Madeleine's journey through adolescence--one of the things that surprised me was that she seemed in s Excellent! I have been a Madeleine L'Engle fan from the age of ten; I've read most, if not all, of her books, including her autobiographical ones, and I've heard her speak several times. Yet I learned many things from this biography. Her granddaughters, aside from their own personal connection with Madeleine, provide letters, journal snippets, photos, postcards, and more. It's fascinating to see Madeleine's journey through adolescence--one of the things that surprised me was that she seemed in some ways a very typical teen, concerned with belonging. I didn't expect that! But she was also passionate about writing at an early age. One of the illustrations is the prize-winning poem she wrote in fifth grade. It's charming! And, in college, she entered this in her journal: "When you write anything...it's yours only as long as only you know anything about it. As soon as anyone else reads it, it becomes partly theirs, too. They put things into it that you never thought of, and they don't see many things that you thought plain." (Page 79, Becoming Madeleine, U.S. hardcover c2018). This is a book I will want to return to. It's one I will want to own. All Madeleine L'Engle fans will surely enjoy it, and I'd also recommend it to aspiring writers. One small quibble: It's a Middle Grade book. I'm not sure kids of 9 or 10 to 14 or so would "get" some of the later sections about Madeleine's early career, her marriage, and her struggles to get A Wrinkle in Time published. But if, like me, they continue to read L'Engle's adult novels (especially The Small Rain), they will love seeing how she used her life in her work. Warmly recommended.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rondi Olson

    Excellent biography of Madeleine L'Engle written by her granddaughters. For the middle-grade audience and a quick read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Begins with information about her parents and ends with A Wrinkle in Time being accepted for publication. A must-read for lovers of A Wrinkle in Time and a wonderful source of inspiration for writers. Excellent biography of Madeleine L'Engle written by her granddaughters. For the middle-grade audience and a quick read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Begins with information about her parents and ends with A Wrinkle in Time being accepted for publication. A must-read for lovers of A Wrinkle in Time and a wonderful source of inspiration for writers.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Since Madeleine L’Engle is my favorite author, I was excited to read this biography, even though it is designed for a younger audience. I was very glad to see new pictures I had not seen before and especially of significant places which served as the backdrop for her writing. Even though she did not write it herself, the excerpts from her journals inspired me, like her writing always does.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)

    I was honored to be able to interview Charlotte and Lena at a Book Event to celebrate Becoming Madeleine and their relationship with their grandmother.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Filled with pictures and journal entries and correspondence to and from Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE gives readers an intimate peek at this award-winning author’s life. It has just the right amount of depth to make the read substantial and interesting without being weighty, reveals more than enough about Madeleine to learn who she was at various points in her life, and includes a heartfelt and heartrending introduction and conclusion by the authors - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy Filled with pictures and journal entries and correspondence to and from Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE gives readers an intimate peek at this award-winning author’s life. It has just the right amount of depth to make the read substantial and interesting without being weighty, reveals more than enough about Madeleine to learn who she was at various points in her life, and includes a heartfelt and heartrending introduction and conclusion by the authors - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, L’Engle’s granddaughters. It is a captivating and delightful and inspirational read that shares pivotal moments in Madeleine’s life up to the moment when A WRINKLE IN TIME was accepted for publication. It tells of a girl who always had a passion for writing, who was determined and tenacious and ambitious, who was often socially awkward but who thrived nevertheless, who was confident yet shy, who was brave yet fearful, who was by no means perfect but who strived to be better, and who understood that who she was encompassed every version of herself. BECOMING MADELEINE’s authors have penned a loving and respectful and incredibly endearing telling of the story of Madeleine’s life. They left in many of the hardships the author faced as a child, young, and not-so-young, adult. They shared her mistakes, her successes, her failures, her disappointments, her setbacks. They showed her journey as a writer - from poet, to novelist, to playwright, to published author - as well as the side trips that took her away from and brought her back to writing. And they allowed a glimpse into some of the more personal aspects of her and her family’s life. Madeleine L’Engle’s biography can be enjoyed by readers of many ages. It is a quick read, that flows beautifully, even interspersed with images and other lovely distractions. It has more of a story-like quality than that of a typical biography, allowing readers to easily connect with and become charmed by Madeleine. It promises a happy ending, just like Madeline L’Engle wanted for her stories - although its epilogue, divulging just how cherished L’Engle was by her granddaughters, will tug on the heartstrings. Whether a new or lifelong fan of author Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE is a must, must, must.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    I read some of Madeleine L'Engle's early books (Meet the Austins, The Moon by Night, A Wrinkle in Time) when I was young and the books were fairly new. Later, I revisited her work in more depth while I was in library school. Her books always intrigued me. So, it was with great pleasure that I read this biography created by two of her granddaughters. Because it is meant for younger readers, it mainly deals with the early years of her life, stopping with the breakthrough success of A Wrinkle in Ti I read some of Madeleine L'Engle's early books (Meet the Austins, The Moon by Night, A Wrinkle in Time) when I was young and the books were fairly new. Later, I revisited her work in more depth while I was in library school. Her books always intrigued me. So, it was with great pleasure that I read this biography created by two of her granddaughters. Because it is meant for younger readers, it mainly deals with the early years of her life, stopping with the breakthrough success of A Wrinkle in Time. The book is filled with old photos, diary entries, sketches, and early book jackets. Ms. L'Engle had a somewhat unconventional upbringing, including early years in New York City, a boarding school in Switzerland (in the 1930s), time with her grandmother in Jacksonville, Florida, and another boarding school in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating from Smith College, she returned to New York City to pursue an interest in theater. All of this is told in a warm, accessible style by her granddaughters, who obviously adored their Gran.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gwen

    A perfectly nice middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle. Jones Voiklis and Roy have captured their grandmother's voice through letters and journal entries, with plenty of photos and other documentary evidence. (I particularly enjoyed the report cards from L'Engle's stint at Swiss boarding school. The teachers were so candid!) I would have liked additional information/footnotes about some people and situations, but I can understand why Jones Voiklis and Roy opted to streamline the text for t A perfectly nice middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle. Jones Voiklis and Roy have captured their grandmother's voice through letters and journal entries, with plenty of photos and other documentary evidence. (I particularly enjoyed the report cards from L'Engle's stint at Swiss boarding school. The teachers were so candid!) I would have liked additional information/footnotes about some people and situations, but I can understand why Jones Voiklis and Roy opted to streamline the text for the sake of their younger readers. Some lovely quotes: * "A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming." (from A Circle of Quiet) * "...I would like my books to make their readers want to be more than they are, to reach higher. I want to make them—the readers—aware of the wonderfully exciting and unlimited possibilities of man. Perhaps I am a romantic because I don't want to make them disappointed in their surroundings but with themselves. And not too much of that, really. What I want them to feel is: look! How wonderful I can be if I only will and I will! How wonderful everyone can be!" (122–123) * "Let me realize that I cannot write a valid book without at least as much labour as it takes to produce a child." (131) h/t: Politics and Prose event, which was a delightful evening with L'Engle's granddaughters. (Un?)surprisingly, the audience was primarily adult women, not the tween target demographic for the movie.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    I saw this on a display at my library and had to grab it! As a teen I went through a big Madeleine L'Engle phase and, with the release of the Wrinkle in Time film, I was really curious to know more about her life. This is a short biography written by her grand-daughters and the target audience is definitely on the younger side. I flew through it in a few hours and really enjoyed my time getting to know this iconic author better. Full of photos and documents, Becoming Madeleine documents her life I saw this on a display at my library and had to grab it! As a teen I went through a big Madeleine L'Engle phase and, with the release of the Wrinkle in Time film, I was really curious to know more about her life. This is a short biography written by her grand-daughters and the target audience is definitely on the younger side. I flew through it in a few hours and really enjoyed my time getting to know this iconic author better. Full of photos and documents, Becoming Madeleine documents her life up through Wrinkle in Time being published. She had teenage children at that point. Her background is interesting and at times tragic (particularly in the early years), but it's amazing to see her path to becoming the fantastic writer that many of us have known and loved. I definitely recommend this for anyone who is a fan of her books or who dreams of writing. She was unconventional and ahead of her time, but also forgetful, a middling students, and sometimes oblivious to the feelings of others. This was a very thoughtful, human portrayal.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    This was a very interesting biography of a beloved author, and any fans of L'Engle's work will zip through this. Lots of excellent family photos and stories of her life. I am buying a copy of this for a friend, but think I will pass on buying it for my library. There's a little bit of a resurgence in reading A Wrinkle in Time because of the movie, but my young readers aren't quite as totally into the story as much as those of us who are a little older seem to be. Meg Murray was the only strong, This was a very interesting biography of a beloved author, and any fans of L'Engle's work will zip through this. Lots of excellent family photos and stories of her life. I am buying a copy of this for a friend, but think I will pass on buying it for my library. There's a little bit of a resurgence in reading A Wrinkle in Time because of the movie, but my young readers aren't quite as totally into the story as much as those of us who are a little older seem to be. Meg Murray was the only strong, adventurous female character we have, and luckily there are many more of these for girls to read. It would be great for a school library-- excellent length, good white space on the page, engaging story-- if readers pick up longer biographies. My students don't tend to.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marti

    I am so glad I found out about this book. Madeleine L'Engle is one of the two authors who have had the most positive effect on my life - the other being Barbara Kingsolver. Two very different writers but both deeply thoughtful. This book filled me in on many of the fact of the history of her life. Of course much of that was already gleaned from the books she wrote and I believe I have read them all. This biography written by her granddaughters was full of pictures and quotes from her journals an I am so glad I found out about this book. Madeleine L'Engle is one of the two authors who have had the most positive effect on my life - the other being Barbara Kingsolver. Two very different writers but both deeply thoughtful. This book filled me in on many of the fact of the history of her life. Of course much of that was already gleaned from the books she wrote and I believe I have read them all. This biography written by her granddaughters was full of pictures and quotes from her journals and diaries. It was wonderful to once again feel a part of her amazing mind and share the story of her life. I would recommend this book to anyone who has been captivated by her books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fitzgerald

    Disappointingly shallow. Not the typical juvenile bio. I suspect I will find Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices and A Light So Lovely much more appealing. Disappointingly shallow. Not the typical juvenile bio. I suspect I will find Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices and A Light So Lovely much more appealing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin Magness

    This is a lovely little book. I wish the authors had written more about their grandmother's faith, as it clearly played a major role in her life and writing, and that they had touched on her later works. Overall, a great glimpse into the life and mind of a great writer. This is a lovely little book. I wish the authors had written more about their grandmother's faith, as it clearly played a major role in her life and writing, and that they had touched on her later works. Overall, a great glimpse into the life and mind of a great writer.

  21. 5 out of 5

    elizabeth roberts-zibbel

    I’m surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did, since it was written for young adults by the deceased author’s granddaughters. Madeline L’Engle wrote A Wrinkle In Time as well as many, many other books about the Murry-O’Keefes (science fiction/ fantasy) and the Austins (regular life) and the two even, rarely, intersect. I have always adored these books and as an adult learned the warm, perfect-seeming families were sort of based on her lack of one both growing up and married. I also lea I’m surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did, since it was written for young adults by the deceased author’s granddaughters. Madeline L’Engle wrote A Wrinkle In Time as well as many, many other books about the Murry-O’Keefes (science fiction/ fantasy) and the Austins (regular life) and the two even, rarely, intersect. I have always adored these books and as an adult learned the warm, perfect-seeming families were sort of based on her lack of one both growing up and married. I also learned her life was juicy and interesting and I knew that her descendants were not likely to write about affairs and damaged children and relationships. However, there was more detail than I expected, though I will keep looking for that more in-depth biography that shares all the more “problematic” and interesting information.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    I am coming off a biography spree, so it's possibly that I'm judging this more harshly than I would have if I hadn't recently read some really exceptional biographies for kids. This was good enough, but I didn't find it engaging. Not sure why... I am coming off a biography spree, so it's possibly that I'm judging this more harshly than I would have if I hadn't recently read some really exceptional biographies for kids. This was good enough, but I didn't find it engaging. Not sure why...

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mary Kenyon

    Wonderful biography for all ages, not just the middle-school category. See my full review here: https://marypotterkenyon.wordpress.co... Wonderful biography for all ages, not just the middle-school category. See my full review here: https://marypotterkenyon.wordpress.co...

  24. 4 out of 5

    H

    This biography follows L'Engle's life from her childhood through to the acceptance of A Wrinkle in Time for publication. Relying heavily on pages from her journal, which are reproduced, the book follows Madeleine as she develops from an awkward, shy outsider of a child, to an actress, writer, wife, and mother. Aimed at grades 5 and up, I don't know that this will be compelling except to those who really have loved one or more of her books. Best for grades 5-8. This biography follows L'Engle's life from her childhood through to the acceptance of A Wrinkle in Time for publication. Relying heavily on pages from her journal, which are reproduced, the book follows Madeleine as she develops from an awkward, shy outsider of a child, to an actress, writer, wife, and mother. Aimed at grades 5 and up, I don't know that this will be compelling except to those who really have loved one or more of her books. Best for grades 5-8.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dotty

    I loved reading about Madeleine as a writer. You can tell the writers knew her well and adored her, but at the same time they shared the struggles, the strengths, the joys and the warts of L'Engle. Anyone who is a writer, has an interest in writing would enjoy this book as well as anyone who has enjoyed ML's books. I'm looking forward to book talking this, especially next week to follow up on the release of the movie, "A Wrinkle in Time." I loved reading about Madeleine as a writer. You can tell the writers knew her well and adored her, but at the same time they shared the struggles, the strengths, the joys and the warts of L'Engle. Anyone who is a writer, has an interest in writing would enjoy this book as well as anyone who has enjoyed ML's books. I'm looking forward to book talking this, especially next week to follow up on the release of the movie, "A Wrinkle in Time."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Absolutely loved this gentle biography of Madeleine L'Engle. I only wish it had followed more of her life, but I understand the authors' view in respecting her privacy, and that of the extended family. Nonetheless, fascinating to read about one of my favorite authors as a little girl and to see the events "up close" that inspired her stories. Absolutely loved this gentle biography of Madeleine L'Engle. I only wish it had followed more of her life, but I understand the authors' view in respecting her privacy, and that of the extended family. Nonetheless, fascinating to read about one of my favorite authors as a little girl and to see the events "up close" that inspired her stories.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    A valentine of a book to the authors’ grandmother. It is not the book I thought it would be, which is a recollection of their life with the famous writer, but instead is a straightforward biography culled from her letters and journals. This would be an excellent resource for a young reader looking to learn more about a writer they admire, and it is very well done. I personally will always have a fondness for the authors after seeing them interview Luci Shaw, one of L’Engle’s best friends. That’s A valentine of a book to the authors’ grandmother. It is not the book I thought it would be, which is a recollection of their life with the famous writer, but instead is a straightforward biography culled from her letters and journals. This would be an excellent resource for a young reader looking to learn more about a writer they admire, and it is very well done. I personally will always have a fondness for the authors after seeing them interview Luci Shaw, one of L’Engle’s best friends. That’s a collaboration I’d like to see on the page!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    More of a 4.5. This is beautifully laid out for book report or biography writers in middle grades, the inclusion of the pictures and photos of documents is wonderful. I think it's a touch dry but really lays out Madeleine's early life. What a lovely tribute from these girls, and I thank them for sharing their grandmother with us :) Side note: I nearly couldn't sleep after finding out that her husband was Dr Charles Tyler on All My Children!! More of a 4.5. This is beautifully laid out for book report or biography writers in middle grades, the inclusion of the pictures and photos of documents is wonderful. I think it's a touch dry but really lays out Madeleine's early life. What a lovely tribute from these girls, and I thank them for sharing their grandmother with us :) Side note: I nearly couldn't sleep after finding out that her husband was Dr Charles Tyler on All My Children!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    I’m grateful for this glimpse into the early years that formed my favorite writer. Her journal excerpts are especially delightful. My favorite: “I know italics are midvictorian, and everything else, but when you are as tremendously in earnest as I am, you have to have them.” RIGHT?! I love that it’s intended for middle grade readers. I plan to pass it on to an especially thoughtful 12-year-old that I know.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Steven R. McEvoy

    I was introduced to the works of Madeleine L'Engle in the fall of 1995, as the age of 25 I was a little older to be discovering the woman and her works. But within three years I would have read 33 of her books. Reading all the local library had, and any I could get through interlibrary loans. And then I got to spend a weekend with L'Engle at a conference / retreat where she was the keynote speaker. I have been fascinated with the woman and her works since I first encountered them and have been a I was introduced to the works of Madeleine L'Engle in the fall of 1995, as the age of 25 I was a little older to be discovering the woman and her works. But within three years I would have read 33 of her books. Reading all the local library had, and any I could get through interlibrary loans. And then I got to spend a weekend with L'Engle at a conference / retreat where she was the keynote speaker. I have been fascinated with the woman and her works since I first encountered them and have been a fan for nearly 25 years now. So, when I found out that there was a new biography coming out to celebrate the centenary of her birth and that it was written by two of her granddaughters I was extremely excited. This book did not disappoint. The book is written with insight that only close family members would have. It celebrates the life and the works of Madeleine L'Engle 1918-2007. It is written with a middle grade audience in mind, but to be honest is so well written any fan of L'Engle or her works will appreciate the history. L'Engle herself wrote many non-fiction books and a number of those were autobiographical in nature. But this book looks at her life from a very different angle. The book begins with a quote from Circle of Quiet, one of L'Engle's autobiographical works: "A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming." And the prologue begins with these words: "We were young when our grandmother, Madeleine L'Engle, started sharing with us the patchwork of events, relationships, and emotions that shaped her into the person she was always becoming. She described her childhood as solitary, and we thought it must have been lonely-after all, even we, who had each other, had periods of loneliness. But her stories about growing up and becoming the writer and grandmother we knew gave us the assurance that, just like her, we could survive the hurts and joys of childhood and adolescence." The chapters in this volume are: Prologue Before Madeleine A New York City Childhood Trouble at School Switzerland From Child to Teen The Eustace Affair Senior Year The College Years The Best School for a Writer Making a Living Work and Love Marriage and Children Making the Leap Epilogue Authors' Note The authors note at the end of the book begins with this: "Writing this book has been quite a journey. We were reluctant at first to try to tackle our grandmother's biography. After all, she herself spoke and wrote about her life a good deal, and we were aware of the fact that the lines between fiction, nonfiction, and memoir can be blurry, for our grandmother no less than for everyone else. How could we write about her in a way that would bring her to life in all her contradictory richness? That would do her justice and honor? That would be honest and fair?" But their fears were unwarranted. They have written a wonderful book. It is open and honest. It shares L'Engle's troubles, sorrows, triumphs and maintains a balance I believe many would find hard to achieve. The only regret I have about this book is for the most part it ends with the publishing of A Wrinkle in Time. The rest of her life is summed up very briefly. I only home that there will be a second volume that continues in more details like the majority of this book but begins with the publishing of A Wrinkle in Time and goes unto her passing. Madeleine did write about life, and for her that line between faith, fiction and autobiography were often blurred. Maybe for that reason Canon Tallisis one of my favorite characters, like Madeleine put parts of her self and her story in many of her characters and stories, Tallis crosses all the lines in the stories, he appears in the Kairos books, the Chronos books and in the autobiographical works. The authors of this work state: "As we read more and more of her books, and heard more and more of her own personal stories, we began to see how connected they were. Many of her own experiences were given to Camilla in Camilla Dickinson, Katherine in A Small Rain, and Flip in And Both Were Young. Many of her own characteristics were given to Meg in A Wrinkle in Time and Vicky in Meet the Austins." I throughout my university career, which spanned 20 years, I often quoted L'Engle, form my notes of her speaking at a conference and from many of her works. This is a book I would have drawn from to write about life, about faith and about art. I will likely circle back in a few years after reading some of L'Engle's works with my children and reread this book with them. This is a wonderful book about an amazing woman. If you are a fan in any way shape or form, you owe it to yourself to read this book! Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More and reviews of other articles about Madeleine L'Engle.

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