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Top 100 Children’s Novels (#2)

#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1)(#1) (#1)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2) (#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2)(#2) (#2)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3) (#3)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3)(#3) (#4)(#4)(#4)(#4)(#4)(#4) (#4)(#4)(#4)(#5)(#5)(#5) (#5)(#5)(#5)(#5)(#6)(#6) (#6)(#6)(#6)(#6)(#6)(#7) (#7)(#7)(#7)(#7)(#7)(#7) (#7)(#7)(#7)(#8)(#8)(#8) (#8)(#8)(#9)(#9)(#9)(#9) (#9)(#10)(#10) – 593 points

First book that gave me nightmares–and I LOVED this fact as a 10-year-old boy. – Ed Spicer

Our heroine is an awkward girl with glasses who saves the world. – Laurie Amster-Burton (Six Boxes of Books)

This book remade the field, and it continues to shine in terms of its characterization, especially the gift of Meg Murry. I’m sure I wasn’t the only gawky, ill-spoken girl to feel that if Meg could be a hero, so could I. Meg saves the world in such a homely way, out of simple love and loyalty. This, too, seems doable to a young reader. You would think that Camazotz, with its evil oppressor, the giant brain, would seem dated by now. But L’Engle’s storytelling holds up. The little boy who bounces the ball wrong, the fact that the brain is named IT, and the marvelous Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Who still stand out in a field where books about saving the world threaten to topple the shelves in bookstores with their combined weight. – Kate Coombs (Book Aunt)

Why do people always call this an undeserving Newbery winner? Slug me in the face, why don’t you, people! Okay, it’s got its awkward bits, but if I hadn’t had "Hey, that’s one of those books They say is supposed to be good" in my head I never would have pulled that repulsive-looking puke-green book off the school library shelf in fourth grade, and then where would I BE? Where would my daughter Madeleine be? Well, named something like, Idaknow, Elizabeth or something instead I guess. The very core of my SOUL was changed by my giving that ugly book a chance. I so immediately and so strongly identified with Meg that the book has been like my own personal emotional counselor since. I was sitting in my university dining hall having a crisis-of-Major when Mrs. Whatsit, unbidden, just popped into my head to give me a pep talk! It’s so AFFIRMING. It says that love makes the universe go ’round and that everyone is inherently valuable warts and all and that even the most awkward unpopular frustrated and hopeless young girl can make a difference in the battle between Good and Evil. And it says all that in a way that makes you BELIEVE it.
– A.M. Weir (Amy’s Library of ROCK)

I read this book nearly every year, whether it’s a library copy I pull off the shelf during one of my breaks or my cherished autographed copy. The plot has everything – a girl who feels out of place, a fierce love of family, a fight against conformity and a budding romance.
– Rosemary Kasten

It demonstrates the power of love, wrapped in a breath-taking adventure. I picked this up 3 or 4 times as a kid before I got into it, and now I have read it so many times and have such clear memories of so many different scenes. Ultimately, this book is on this list because, out of all the myriad influences that blended together to create my personal ethical/moral code, one thing from this book I swallowed whole: When Meg cries out against IT, "Like and equal are not the same thing at all!" – Melissa Depper, Youth Services Librarian, Arapahoe Library District CO

I was so obsessed this book as a child that I freaked out when driving through certain subdivisions in Simi Valley, CA because they reminded me of Camazotz.Gayle Forman

I have a vivid memory of the first time I read Wrinkle, at the age of about eleven. I was getting near the end when I had to leave on some errand with my dad. I tried, but I couldn’t tear myself away, so I took the book with me in the car. I still recall being scrunched in the backseat, supposedly on the way to someplace ordinary like the grocery store, but really trekking with Meg and Calvin through the frightening world of Camazotz, desperately trying to free Charles Wallace. I loved this book, not only for introducing me to Meg Murry (one of my favorite girl heroines of all time) but for introducing me to Madeleine L’Engle, the writer whose work for children and adults included some of the most formative books of my adolescence and young adulthood. – Beth Priest (Endless Books)

Love conquers all, what could be better? – Paige Ysteboe

Yeah.  I loved it too.  This one was dear to me.  Alongside Harriet the Spy and The Girl With the Silver Eyes (note what all three girls have in common) it was one of my favorites.  And yep, I have read it since I became an adult.  I still love it.  Just do.

The plot from my own copy reads, "It is a dark and stormy night.  Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother are in the kitchen for a midnight snack when a most disturbing visitor arrives. ‘Wild nights are my glory,’ the unearthly stranger tells them.  ‘I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course.  Let me sit down for a moment and then I’ll be on my way.  Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.’ Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared.  Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him.  But can they outwit and overpower the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?"

There is serious debate over exactly how many publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time before it was published.  Anita Silvey says twenty-six so for now we’ll go with that one.  What finally got it out there?  In 100 Best Books for Children she writes, "Madeleine L’Engle hosted a tea party for her visiting mother and some friends.  One of those friends knew John Farrar of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, and eventually he accepted L’Engle’s manuscript.  But the publishing firm released only a small first edition, believing that the book would have limited appeal."

Also, according to American Writers for Children Since 1960: Fiction, "This book was written while L’Engle was reading Albert Einstein and Max Planck. It was also written as her rebellion against Christian piety; she was trying to discover a theology by which she could live."

If you haven’t read L’Engle’s Newbery speech it’s well worth perusing.  Someday I hope someone reads all the Newbery acceptance speeches out there and writes an article about them.  L’Engle’s is interesting because she really doesn’t talk much about the book at all.  What she does talk about is Frederic Melcher, the Newbery’s daddy, and the fact that he liked her book.  "I am of the first generation to profit by Mr. Melcher’s excitement, having been born shortly before he established the Newbery award, and growing up with most of these books on my shelves. I learned about mankind from Hendrik Willem van Loon; I traveled with Dr. Dolittle, created by a man I called Hug Lofting; Will James taught me about the West with Smoky; in boarding school I grabbed Invincible Louisa the moment it came into the library because Louisa May Alcott had the same birthday that I have, and the same ambitions. And now to be a very small link in the long chain of those writers, of the men and women who led me into the expanding universe, is both an honor and a responsibility. It is an honor for which I am deeply grateful to Mr. Melcher and to those of you who decided A Wrinkle in Time was worthy of it."  Read the full speech here, if you’ve a chance.

What’s the book trying to say?  In her April 12, 2004 New Yorker profile of L’Engle, Cynthia Zarin said of the book, "Published in 1962, it is—depending on how you look at it—science fiction, a warm tale of family life, a response to the Cold War, a book about a search for a father, a feminist tract, a religious fable, a coming-of-age novel, a work of Satanism, or a prescient meditation on the future of the United States after the Kennedy assassination."  Executive producer Catherine Hand agrees with some of that. “The engine that drives it is Meg’s inner life, and it’s astonishing, because here is a girl who at that moment is stronger than her father. For some of us, it planted the seeds of the women’s movement.”

It also was science fiction, a rare bird in the world of popular children’s literature.  In her 1982 article "Childlike Wonder and the Truths of Science Fiction" in Children’s Literature L’Engle defends the use of such science fiction and fantasy in the’ reading lives of children.  She writes, "Recently I received a letter from a young mother who wrote that a neighbor had announced she was not going to allow her children to make their minds fuzzy by reading fantasy or science fiction; she intended to give them books of facts about the real world. For these children, I feel, the real world will be lost. They will live in a limited world in which ideas are suspect. The monsters which all children encounter will be more monstrous because the child will not be armed with the only weapon effective against the unknown: a creative and supple imagination . . . We do not understand time. We know that time exists only when there is mass in motion. We also know that energy and mass are interchangeable, and that pure energy is freed from the restrictions of time. One of the reasons that A Wrinkle in Time took so long to find a publisher is that it was assumed that children would not be able to understand a sophisticated way of looking at time, would not understand Einstein’s theories. But no theory is too hard for a child so long as it is part of a story; and although parents had not been taught Einstein’s E = mc2 in school, their children had been."  Then she goes on to talk about Chewbacca (this is true).  Good article, that.

It gets banned, and has been right from the start by Christian fundamentalists.  Said L’Engle, “They said it wasn’t a Christian book. I said, ‘Quite right.’ I wasn’t trying to write a Christian book. But, of course, it is. So is ‘Robin Hood.’ The Mrs. Ws witches? They’re guardian angels!” 

A Wrinkle in Time was mentioned quite a lot this year since 2010 Newbery winner When You Reach Me (#39 on the countdown) makes several references to it in the text.  It even points out a time traveling flaw, which is fun.  In an interview with The Guardian, Ms. Stead explained a bit about why she included it. "It started out as a small detail in Miranda’s story, a sort of talisman, and one I thought I would eventually jettison, because you can’t just toss A Wrinkle in Time in there casually.  But as my story went deeper, I saw that I didn’t want to let the book go. I talked about it with my editor, Wendy Lamb, and to others close to the story. And what we decided was that if we were going to bring L’Engle’s story in, we needed to make the book’s relationship to Miranda’s story stronger. So I went back to A Wrinkle in Time and read it again and again, trying to see it as different characters in my own story might (sounds crazy, but it’s possible). And those readings led to new connections."

In Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children’s Book, photo detective Maureen Taylor explains part of the appeal.  "Meg was my hero.  I immediately identified with her – we had poor handwriting, were clumsy, and wore glasses.  I felt I understood her angst because we were both at an awkward age.  I found it refreshing that a female protagonist could be intelligent and engage in scientific inquiry.  It was a very powerful book for me . . . From A Wrinkle in Time I learned to believe in myself and – from Meg I learned that it was important to question everything."

Speaking of Newbery winners, Neil Gaiman dropped quite a bomb for many an American children’s librarian when in his Newbery speech he mentioned the change made to the first sentence of the British edition of the book.  Instead of the simply perfect "It was a dark and stormy night," the British edition for a time read, "It was a dark and stormy night in a small village in the United States."  Oog.

It won the 1963 Newbery Medal.  It beat out Thistle and Thyme: Tales and Legends from Scotland by Sorche Nic Leodhas and Men of Athens by Olivia Coolidge.  

In a kind of fun family tie-in, Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Lena Roy will have a book of her own published soon.  In December of 2010 FSG will put out her YA novel Edges.  And apparently she lives in town.  I’ll have to look her up sometime.

Said the Saturday Review, “It has the general appearance of being science fiction but it is not. . . . There is mystery, mysticism, a feeling of indefinable brooding horror . . . original, different, exciting”

The Horn Book said, "Fascinating… It makes unusual demands on the imagination and consequently gives great rewards."

Here is a cover for the book that I wish did exist, but is simply an exercise from a talented Jeremy Sorese.  Very clever.

You could hardly call this book bereft of covers, but there are far fewer out there than I would have supposed.  The original up top, you will recall, was illustrated by a fellow Newbery winner

Growing up, my best friend was so frightened of this next cover that she gorged out her paperback copy’s glowing red eyes.

Can’t say as it made him any less frightening.

This is still my favorite.  I just like the Meg.

I have not yet had the pleasure of making the true acquaintance of the recent made-for-TV movie adaptation of the book.  Having watched the trailer here, I may just opt out and wait until Jeff Stockwell’s version comes out instead.  Maybe he‘ll have the guts to give Meg glasses.  I’m not holding my breath though.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. People “always call this an undeserving Newbery winner”?

  2. rockinlibrarian says

    NUMBER TWO! Thank you! Thank you, beautiful members of the Academy– er, beautiful 86 other people who voted! You all rock! Seriously, it’s way better than I ever expected, even when I turned in my predictions and acknowledged that there seemed to be more love going around in the comments about this after all so maybe it had a chance to grab the #4 spot!

    It’s funny, reading comments by other folks about other favorite books, my reaction is “Oh, those people have great taste in books, how fun they are!” Whenever I read somebody gushing about this one (even fictional somebodies like Miranda), my thought instead is “I AM NOT ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE.” Gawky out-of-place young girls of the universe, unite!


    Also, I feel I should mention, Maddie’s MIDDLE name IS Elizabeth, so you’re all right there.

  3. Wendy, you’ve never heard that one? Trust me, it happens all the time.

  4. I have loved this book fiercely since I was 8 or 9. I honestly didn’t recognize it as science fiction until I was in college – it was written in such a way as to make believe it as a realistic, plausible story!
    One of my greatest joys from my time as a NYPL children’s librarian was the chance to meet and talk with Madeleine L’Engle.

  5. says

    I, too, love A WRINKLE IN TIME. But Sorche Nic Leodhas’ THISTLE AND THYME is certainly worthy of its Honor, and in a leaner year might well have gained the Newbery Medal. I don’t know if people read Nic Leodhas’ folktales much–I believe they are out of print, and the covers are very sixties-looking. But they are fresh, original, and full of sly humor, with an attention to character that is not often found in folklore. As a storyteller, I have told most of the stories in the collection, and children adore them–so I will not stand by and hear the name of Sorche Nic Leodhas disparaged–or even mispronounced!

  6. Chris in NY says

    I loved, loved this book from 4th grade on. I gave it a #2 in my list because I just could not give up Gone Away Lake. So is Charlotte next? Neither my daughter nor I could love that but that’s what makes horse races I guess. But duaghter did love the animated movie so I guess the story does speak to children not just us old folks.

  7. I know lots of people who don’t LIKE A Wrinkle in Time, but I can’t think that I’ve heard people say it didn’t deserve the Newbery. Huh.

  8. Oh man, the red eye cover! That was the cover I had growing up, and man is it ugly. Though I never felt the need to gouge its eyes out.

  9. Mandaladreamer says

    I think I avoided this book as a kid because of that creepy cover. Someone along the line set me on the right track which led me to devour all of her other books, too. Thank God. Hearing Madeleine L’Engle speak was a memorable experience. She talked about reading Shakespeare out loud with her kids, and the main point of her speech was “Fight against the loss of vocabulary.” I’ll never forget it.

  10. Melissa ZD says

    Betsy, thanks for the quote! To give credit where credit is due, though, I didn’t write the wonderful sentence about love and adventure that’s at the beginning of my quote about like and equal. Wish I did though!

  11. Cheryl K says

    This was the first book I ever remember speed-reading — all 211 pages in two days, when I was in third grade. (I’m still very proud (obviously).) That climax on Camazotz is almost physically overwhelming and wonderful.

    Now it strikes me as a book that explains why editors can never judge a book just from its synopsis — because “Miserable Meg Murry, her genius younger brother, and a hot basketball player from school meet three strange witches, one of whom changes into a giant flying centaur and takes Meg to another planet via a physics concept called the tesseract to save her father,” SOUNDS far more what-the-hell?? than the book reads. It’s all in the characterizations and grace of the writing.

  12. Mandaladreamer says

    LSCHL70573, Sorche Nic Leodhas’ THISTLE AND THYME was a huge favorite of mine when I was growing up. I’m really glad I still have a copy.

  13. I didn’t read A WRINKLE IN TIME until I was a Sophomore in college, when a guy I had a crush on recommended it to me. I will always be thankful to him for that! I think I was put off by the cover, or hearing that it was “science fiction” when I was a kid. Though now I love science fiction, then I saw it as something my brother read.

    I love, love, love Madeleine L’Engle’s wise nonfiction writing, particularly WALKING ON WATER. She inspires me to no end. She has fantastic things to say about censorship and faith and persistence as a writer and all kinds of other good things. Her work really uplifts me.

    PS Did A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT get any votes? I didn’t think of it myself, having recently been reminded of WRINKLE by WHEN YOU REACH ME. But the truth is, it’s my favorite of her fiction books. Though it’s hard to say that because of how much I love WRINKLE.

  14. lisachellman says

    “note what all three girls have in common” — horn-rimmed glasses, right? 🙂 Except weren’t Harriet’s just for show? LOVE this book. This whole list should be required reading for every librarian, teacher, and author for children. I myself have a few gaps I need to fill in.

  15. JMyersbook says

    I remember reading a nonfiction piece by Madeleine L’Engle (maybe in her book, A Circle Of Quiet) where she talked about how nutty it drove the proofreaders that Meg’s parents would have a period after Mr. and Mrs. because they were American, but that there would be no periods in Mrs Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit because they were British. (Love her attention to detail!)

    As to your note beneath the red-eyed cover, you wrote: “Growing up, my best friend was so frightening of this next cover that she gorged out her paperback copy’s glowing red eyes.” Dare I assume you meant “frightened” and “gouged”? (Otherwise, I think I’m afraid of your friend!)

  16. What I remember falling in love with first when I read the book for the very first time was that wonderful first line. I knew enough about writing to recognize that was an almost cliched line but she carried if off so perfectly with the next few sentences! I remember how awed I was at that accomplishment, then I got swept up into the story. Shame on the British! I assume they have had the sense and grace to go back to the original perfect line since then?

  17. Genevieve says

    Oh, how I adored this book growing up, and still do. It is part of my being. #1 on my list, though I predicted it at #2 and am so glad to see it up in the top two.

    The movie is a travesty. I kept calling it an excrescence while we watched it, and my son finally asked me what that meant and then yelled, “Dad! Mom is calling the movie poop!”

    Sondy, I voted for A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which I love with a deep and abiding love, but Ring of Endless Light is also one of my favorites, and I try not to be ‘replete with very me.’ And I have gotten so much from her wise and lovely nonfiction as well.

    In “Two-Part Invention: Story of a Marriage, ” L’Engle said,
    “The thing I love about Bach is the strength and simplicity and shape
    he gives to beauty. For most of us everything in the world seems to
    swirl around in an amorphous mass of confusion — even the lovely
    parts of it. Bach takes its beauty — which is somehow blurred in its
    loose [unreadable on Amazon Reader] subdues it to his own great and
    simple spirit.
    It seems to me that most of us don’t know anything about life but its
    bare facts, and they’re all pointless unless they’re interpreted. I
    like the way Bach does it.”

    “After an hour with the C-minor Toccata and Fugue I wrote about
    ‘Bach’s immense and vital freedom within the tight bound[aries?] of
    strict form. Perhaps that’s why life doesn’t drive one mad; it’s
    interesting to see how alive and free one can remain within the limits
    that are always imposed on one and from which there can be no escape.'”

    That last idea is similar to what she said about life in A Wrinkle in
    Time, but there she used a sonnet as the illustration of a strict form
    that includes freedom to write many beautiful variations.

    In Two-Part Invention, L’Engle said, “Bach is for me the composer of my heart.”
    L’Engle is for me the writer of my heart.

  18. I’ve always liked the name Sorche. I think it would make an excellent character name, don’t you? Haven’t a clue how to pronounce it though.

    And yes, Aunt Judy, I did indeed mean “frightened”. Corrected! Even my grammer check missed that flub.

  19. I always thought this book was weird as a child. I had a little more appreciation for it when I read it in college. However, I do like When You Reach Me much more than Wrinkle (I know, the shock), which actually points out a critical flaw in L’Engle’s time travel plot. But, Wrinkle at #2 is no surprise at all.

  20. I was 11 when this was published, and I read it then as a new book, with no reputation, and adored it. A Wrinkle in Time virgin, sort of. And I remember being in class listening to Stravinksy’s Rite of Spring (those were the days) and my friend Susan and I whispering to each other that the scary thumping rhythm reminded us of the horrible scary controlling thing on the planet where Meg’s father was held.

  21. Connie Rockman says

    A bit of history, Betsy – “Sorche Nic Leodhas” was a pseudonym for Leclaire Alger, one of those intrepid early librarian-pioneers. She started her library career as a page in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in 1915 (!) and actually worked at your own New York Public from 1921-1925 before returning to Pittsburgh to work for the Carnegie Library as a children’s librarian until she retired in 1966. My own professor at the U. of Pittsburgh’s Library School – the venerable Margaret Hodges – always referred to her reverently as “our own Mrs. Alger.” In addition to the Newbery Honor, she wrote two picture books that won Caldecott Honors.

    And the pronunciation can be found in her profile in the Third Book of Junior Authors –
    SORE-kuh Nic Lee-OH-das, which she said meant, in Gaelic, Claire, daughter of Louis. Her storytelling ability was legendary, even in Pittsburgh where the library school had been founded originally to teach children’s librarians to be the best storytellers possible.

    So, yes, that Newbery Honor was richly deserved.

  22. This was the first sci-fi book I ever read, and I have been a fan ever since. Gave myself a headache trying to figure out a tesseract.

  23. I can not overstate how critical this work has been in my life. I am a better person because Madeleine wrote this book, and I thank her so much for doing so.

    Ever since the age of 14 or so I’ve never been without a copy of it in my home. I’m so glad it made it to number 2.

  24. A Wrinkle in Time is the only book I’ve ever finished reading, turned over, and read all over again. I tried recently to get my husband to read it allowed to me, but he gave up when I kept saying the words along with him.

    I came to it when the author was already old. I started to really worry about her health when I saw the tv movie. Disney made one for A Ring of Endless Light too. Something along the lines of “Hannah Montana saves the dolphins.” I watched it out of morbid curiousity. I wish I hadn’t.

    I don’t suppose there’s any hope they’ll do better the second time around…I don’t think I’ll have the heart to find out personally…it hurt too badly that the trailers for the Narnia movies made them look exactly like The Lord of the Rings.

    Hurrah for vocabulary! Hurrah for imagination!

    Her early, early novel that was just published, The Joys of Love, is also worth checking out.

  25. Genevieve says

    Seconding the recommendation for The Joys of Love – I really enjoyed having a new L’Engle book to read, and it was good. (My favorite of her early novels is And Both Were Young, with Philippa (Flip, sometimes called Pill) in a great boarding school story, with a bit of sports story (skiing) and mystery and romance thrown in.

  26. Genevieve says

    I hit ‘submit’ too soon – meant to say that I’m heartened that the new movie is being done by the same screenwriter who adapted Bridge to Terabithia and did a lovely job.

  27. When I was a kid, I got to go hear L’Engle speak. Afterward she signed my copy of “Wrinkle in Time,” and (for those of you familiar with “When You Reach Me”) she did indeed write “Tesser Well” in the inscription. My own kids (also Wrinkle fans) and I were all pretty excited when we got to that part of Reach Me… we had to pull out our signed copy of AWIT again for fun! What a great connection.

  28. rockinlibrarian says

    Oh Sondy, A Ring of Endless Light is another one of my favorite books ever! Except I didn’t vote for it here, since I have too many other favorite books,* so I made it my L’Engle vote on the YA countdown poll instead, since it HAS got more of a YA bent than Wrinkle does.

    I second the recommendation of her nonfiction. Okay, basically I recommend everything she’s ever written, even when I don’t actually LIKE it, because everything she writes makes you THINK, condenses the whole universe into a few words and shoves it into your brain where it expands and makes you Not the Same. And THAT dear friends is why I named my daughter after her, wouldn’t you?

    *so you understand, though I talk about all these favorite books, that the passion I have for THIS book goes WAY BEYOND FAVORITISM which is why I’m a bit of a nut today…

  29. Brooke Shirts says

    Thank you to Connie Rockman and others for the intense praise of THISTLE & THYME! I would even have placed it on my top 10 list, except that it is not a novel. I’m happy to report that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh still keeps copies of all of Sorche’s books and still uses them now and then for library programs.

    Others of you might know Sorche Nic Leodhas better as the author of the Caldecott-winning ALWAYS ROOM FOR ONE MORE. Also, the illustrations of THISTLE & THYME may look very 60s, but they are by Evaline Ness, who would go on to recieve the Caldecott for SAM, BANGS, & MOONSHINE. (Geez, I feel like I’m channelling Peter Sieruta here.) 🙂

    As for A WRINKLE IN TIME — I remember reading it at age ten and being astonished that anybody actually *could* begin a book with “It was a dark and stormy night.” My first time recognizing irony, maybe? Love it.

  30. David Ziegler says

    A deserving number 2.

    I decided to count dates and wasn’t too surpried to discover, assuming CW is #1, that 63 titles of the top 100 were written after I was through 7th grade. Reading these books as an adult rather than as a child is a different situation as you bring different skill sets to the experience.

    After we see the near-misses and books that received votes, I’m going to want to discuss this list regarding reluctant readers and boys. That said, I again compliment Betsy on the fact that I learn something with each post, whether it’s insightful quotes, tidbits or trivia, covers & trailers, and facts.

  31. Well that’s it. We’re bloody well having a Learn About Sorche Nic Leodhas post one of these days. I think I’m learning far more from the comments today than anyone learned from the post itself.

  32. Yep, I’m one of those hopelessly in love with this book. This was the book I pulled off the shelf when I was sad, bored, or upset, and it always took me to a place where I felt better. It had that kind of magic. And because I love Wrinkle so much, it gives me pause to wonder what book will take up the #1 slot.

  33. Els Kushner says

    Oh, Sheela, I don’t think we have to wonder much…

  34. Liz Nealon (Managing Director, Tesseract says

    A WRINKLE IN TIME has multiple layers of meaning for me.

    First, when I read it as a child, it stimulated a passionate argument with my father (an engineer who never read fiction). I never thought it was “science fiction.” It seemed absolutely logical to me that you could travel in the fifth dimension by folding the fabric of space and time. So I argued with my father, boldly and confidently. I don’t think I convinced him, but I fought him, hard.

    More personally, as a young girl, I imagined what I would be like as a professional woman and mother…and I modeled myself on Meg’s mother, Mrs. Murry. Do you remember her, beautiful and intelligent, absent-mindedly cooking dinner on a Bunson Burner? She did her work, but she also loved Meg, Sandy & Dennys (the twins), and Charles Wallace, calmly and bravely supporting them while their father was missing. This is the woman I hoped I could be when I grew up.

    Years later, when my own daughter was born, she had a language processing disorder that made learning to read an enormous challenge. So, her father and I read aloud to her for years. Our goal was to keep her love of character and story alive until she could read on her own. We read poetry every night (thank you, Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky!), read the early Harry Potter novels aloud, and made our way through all seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia.

    Finally, I read her my favorite book, A WRINKLE IN TIME. We got to the end, when Meg realizes she must confront IT in order to save Charles Wallace. I started crying as I was reading it aloud. “Mommy,” Jules asked, “why are you crying?”

    I answered, “I am crying because I am being Meg, and she is very afraid.” And I kept reading, sobbing.

    Moments before we reached Meg’s epiphany, Jules shouted “WAIT. I know. I KNOW. She has LOVE!!!”

    And I cried all the harder.

    I love this book. It will always be my #1.

  35. Karen Gray Ruelle says

    Love A Wrinkle in Time! But #1 has got to be Charlotte’s Web, right? Or did I miss it somewhere along the way?

  36. Els – Well, I have an educated guess. But we can still wonder, can’t we? 🙂

  37. anonymous says

    After finishing the countdown, you can do a ‘countup’ revealing choices 101-150 or so ten at a time

  38. I could, but I think instead I’ll show 101-120 and then, the day after that, post all the votes and their points.

  39. How many people participated in the Top 100 poll?

  40. 300-400. I’ll need to do an official count soon.

  41. My husband thinks that our son was named after a comic strip. Little does he know…

  42. rockinlibrarian says

    Okay I can’t stop commenting on this post.

    Liz Nealon– I absolutely wanted to be Mrs. Murry when I grew up! I only gave up on that idea when I found out world-reknowned biochemists needed to take higher-level math classes, which sounded awfully boring.

    And Kristin, Calvin made it onto our son’s name-possibilities list by the very same logic… he ended up named after some completely different fictional characters instead, but still.


  1. […] any of these books, please click on image of book. Thank you!#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling#4 The Lion, the […]

  2. […] Bird, E. (2010, April 9). Top 100 Children’s Novels (#2). School Library Journal. Retrieved from […]