Movie Review: The Hunger Games

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Directed by: Gary Ross

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Interest Range: 10-adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Plot: Katniss has volunteered for the yearly government-enforced fight to the death, called the Hunger Games, to save her younger sister from certain death. She is now headed for a brief life of luxury in the Capital while training and world-building for the game are happening, before she is let loose with 23 other Tributes who will fight until only one remains. The Hunger Games are an establishment that the government has put in place to remind their people of the uprising the Districts once attempted. They are a way for the establishment to assert itself over its people every year, and make sure they acknowledge the power that is held over the people of the 12 Districts. But Katniss is special, she has a very clear reason to survive and is willing to do almost anything to get home- and the president has noticed her rebellious streak. Her life will never be the same.

Review: Since these books now appeal to such a wide audience, I was curious to see how they handled the movie. With such a violent and dark topic as a fight to the death among teenages treated as a garrish reality television show, this very easily could have been a R-rated movie. But they did a really good job of making it the least violent possible. Rarely do you see blood- and the most that is seen is from wounds like Katniss’s burn and Peeta’s cut. The most violent scenes are distorted, or sound is removed, so the viewer has an extra degree of separation from the action. Katniss and Peeta’s love story is not graphic, and at times isn’t even obvious (I watched this film with someone who had never read the books and often had to fill him in on the motives of each of the characters). I really do believe that children younger than 13 could watch this film and be ok. I think like with much dystopian writing, much of the more disturbing deeper message will go over kids’ heads due to lack of world experience. And if questions are asked, hopefully a parent will not shy away from having that conversation.

Themes: Dystopia, Inner Strength, Overcoming Challenges, Building New Relationships

Additional Info:

First in a film trilogy based on the books by Suzanne Collins. She was also involved in the writing for this film’s screenplay.

Main Characters:

Katniss Everdeen: A 16-year-old girl who is determined to survive the Hunger Games and get back to her family. She has very mixed up feelings regarding her hunting partner, Gale, and now Peeta, who has become her partner in the Hunger Games. Publicly, Peeta and Katniss are pretending to have feelings for each other, but by the end it’s unclear if everyone is still pretending- or if Peeta ever was.

Peeta Melark: The baker’s son, also from District 12. He is Katniss’s male counterpart in the Hunger Games, but obviously not as skilled at survival. He has been in love with Katniss since they were small children, and decides to make that public and play it up for popularity and the help and support of sponsors during the games.

Haymitch: District 12’s only past winner, he is given the task of mentoring all of their Tributes. Since they’ve never had another winner, one could see how this might be a very depressing task. But this year, he sees promise in Katniss and the possibility of a star-crossed lovers storyline. He manages to come out of his drunken haze to help win sponsors for the two Tributes and keep them alive.

Gale: Katniss’s hunting partner back home. Although they’ve never spoken of feelings for each other, it becomes clear that Katniss’s heart seems to lie with him. He’s promised to take care of her sister and mother while she is away.

Bibliographic Info:

Ross, G. (Director), Jacobson, N. (Producer), & Kilik, J. (Producer). (2012). The Hunger Games [Motion picture]. United States: Lionsgate, Color Force.

Tagline:

“The World Will Be Watching”

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Discussion: Light vs. Dark Trend in Fantasy Literature

It seems to me that a common trend throughout Science Fiction and Fantasy literature is the war between the Light and the Dark, or  Good vs. Evil. No matter what world the story takes place in, or what species or race the characters are, the discussion of good and bad is something that is constantly stressed in stories in our society. It has been for as long as we’ve had stories: religious parables and myths, fairy tales, today’s science fiction all share this theme. It comes as no surprise to me that it would also be prevalent in fiction for middle grade readers. The idea of there being good in the world as well as evil is a lesson we’ve been trying to teach to our youth throughout history. A warning, almost, to try and make sure that we instill morals in our children so that they can be positive contributors to our societies.

The Tale of Despereaux delivers this same message, this time using mice and rats and the physical difference of light and darkness. In the world that DiCamillo has created, mice are creatures of the world of the light and are only sent to the dungeon (a world of complete darkness) when they are being exiled from their own society. They are sent there to die a terrible death by the hand of the rats, who are creatures of that darkness and despised by humans as creatures of disease and ugliness and death. It was, in fact, a rat who had unintentionally caused the death of the humans’ queen, who was frightened to death by the accidental appearance of a rat in her soup- a rat who had left the darkness of the dungeon for the light of the world above only to be shunned and sent back to the dark world from which he came. He had wanted to witness beauty and goodness, and leave the evil that the other rats held in their hearts behind, but because of the prejudice of the humans in the castle was forced to go back. While in that darkness, his plan for revenge was conceived and developed and put into action. A plan to steal away the Princess Pea from the world of light and make her remain in the darkness of the dungeon forever as punishment for sending that rat, Chiaroscuro, back to his home and showing him that humans would never accept rats in the world of beauty and light.

But then DiCamillo takes a turn. In the end, she allows the rats to partake of the world of the light. Princess Pea, moved by Despereaux’s devotion and gift of forgiveness, extends a sort of olive branch to the rats inviting them out of the darkness to partake in the beauty and enjoyment of the world of light for a taste of soup. Princess Pea’s invitation serves to showcase the idea that even when people are born in or come from that world of darkness we should still give them the chance to experience light and beauty and good, not shun them from it and ban them to their darkness and sadness and potentially evil ways. This reminds me of countless parables from new testament Christian texts (as well as many other religions’ writings and teachings): ideas of “love your neighbor” and forgiveness and being good to your fellow man. It’s no secret that humans do have an aversion to rats. Throughout history they’ve carried diseases that have been very detrimental to our societies (the plague in medieval times, etc.), and the word itself has quite the negative connotation. But mice can be cute. Especially very tiny ones with giant ears who can read and fall in love with princesses. I think that DiCamillo’s use of mice and rats, two very closely related animals that are thought of very differently, to show prejudice and good vs. evil was interesting and something on a level that children in this age group could latch onto and learn from.

Movie Review: Despicable Me

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Directors: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin

MPAA Rating: PG

Interest Range: 8-14

Genre: Humor, Science Fiction

Plot: Gru has a plan to become the most renowned super-villain of all time: he wants to steal the moon. But he just can’t seem to get funding from the bank for his project. They’ve told him he needs to prove his abilities by acquiring an existing shrink ray, currently held by another villain, Vector, who was made famous by his successful theft of the Great Pyramid of Giza. But Vector’s fortress is impenetrable- or is it? Vector seems to have a weakness for cookies sold by the local orphanage, and Gru begins to hatch a new plan. He will adopt some orphans of his own to help him acquire the shrink ray. Little does he know that the orphans have plans of their own. They want a family, and they’re going to do their best to get Gru to let them stick around. But can a super villain really be won over by three young girls? Especially girls who like unicorns, the color pink, and take ballet?

Review: This movie was hilarious and heartwarming, all at once. I found myself tearing up multiple times, only to be laughing again moments later. Gru certainly has only evil intentions at the beginning of the film, and one can’t help but feel bad for the girls he has chosen to involve in his plan. But despite his desire to be unlikeable and villainous, the girls seem to see through his tough exterior almost instantly and set about trying to make a real dad out of him. The few flashbacks we see of Gru throughout his life, constantly being turned down and passed over by those from whom he would seek approval makes you really feel bad for the man and his memory of these times is ultimately what breaks him down and makes him human again. Filled with lots of humor to keep kids laughing along the way, this movie is not only fun but moving too. Great for all ages.

Themes: Changes at Home, Homelessness, Light vs. Dark/Good vs. Evil,

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Gru: A man who wants nothing more than to pull off the biggest heist in history, bringing him super-villain level fame. Gru wants to steal a shrink ray so that he can then shrink and steal the moon. We learn throughout the course of the movie that even as a child Gru wanted to visit the moon, but no one thought he was capable. It was this constant lack of respect that drove him to desire to steal the moon for himself.

Vector: A younger, up-and-coming super-villain, made famous by his successful theft of the Great Pyramid of Giza. He is the current holder of a working shrink ray, which Gru needs to make his plan a reality.

Agnes, Edith, and Margo: The three young orphan girls that Gru decides to adopt as part of his plan to steal the shrink ray. Vector once let them into his fortress to buy the cookies they were selling, and Gru hopes to use the girls to get into the fortress himself. Once that part of the plan is complete, Gru plans to send the girls back to the orphanage- or leave them at an amusement park.

Bibliographic Info:

Coffin, P. (Director), Renaud, C. (Director), Cohen, J. (Producer), Healy, J. (Producer), & Meledandri, C. (Producer). (2010). Despicable Me [Motion picture]. United States: Illumination Entertainment.

Tagline:

Can a super-villain ever be a super dad?

The Hunger Games

 

Author: Suzanne Collins

Age Range: 11-18 (Kirkus Reviews)

Interest Range: 10-Adult (based on popularity)

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy, Dystopian Fiction

Plot: Once, the Districts rebelled against the Capitol. As punishment, all 12 now have to compete in the yearly Hunger Games. Each District must send two Tributes, one boy and one girl, to compete to the death in the Capitol. The winner will be rich beyond their wildest dreams, but at what cost? To make things worse, the rest of the citizens are required to watch the televised coverage (think Reality TV-style) as their loved ones battle it out and eventually die. This year, Katniss Everdeen has done something unique: against better judgment, she has volunteered to participate in the games to save another citizen from being slaughtered. But will her hunting and survival skills be enough to keep her alive against 22 bloodthirsty strangers and one boy to whom she owes her own life?

Review: A face-paced dystopian novel, this book is simply addictive. I can completely understand why so many people have wanted to read it. Katniss is a strong character, with plenty of flaws, placed in a very precarious situation and the reader will sympathize with her immediately. The story itself is violent (young people being forced to fight to the death is going to be violent no matter how you describe it), and the feelings and emotions that Katniss experiences and describes are things that tweens may only have an inkling of, but I do not think that it is 100% inappropriate for tween readers. Tweens want to read up when the books are popular, and I genuinely think that this book would raise questions for an inquisitive 10-year-old, while flying over the heads of those who are not yet ready to “get it”. Those individuals probably will not enjoy the book as much as their peers anyway and wonder to themselves what all the fuss was about while on the outside they gush about how amazing it was. Would I choose this book for a middle grade reader? No. But would I try to prevent them from having access to it and reading it if they were interested? Also, no.

Themes: Dystopian society, Death, Socioeconomic Issues, Freedom, Relationships

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Katniss Everdeen: 16-years-old, a hunter who provides for her mother and sister on a daily basis. It is her (illegal) hunting skills that have kept the family alive and well since the death of her father. Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games when her younger sister is picked at the Reaping.

Gabe: Katniss’s hunting partner, an 18-year-old boy. It is his last year for eligibility for the Reaping. Just before the ceremony, he suggests that he and Katniss could run away together into the wild and survive together with their combined skills.

Peeta Mellark: The Baker’s son, and the other tribute from District 12 for this year’s Hunger Games. He has secretly been in love with Katniss since they were small children. He and Katniss align as “Star-crossed lovers” to gain favor with sponsors and earn help in the competition- but for him it’s more than a ruse.

Bibliographic Info:

Collins, S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, Inc.

Tagline:

Katniss is a survivor. She has to be.

The Wikkeling

 

Author: Steven Arntson

Age Range: 10-14 (from Kirkus)

Interest Range: 10-14

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Plot: In today’s world, every child has a cellphone attached to them at all times. Their schoolwork is typed directly into a computer and analyzed instantaneously. Results are compiled for each class and ranked across the city within minutes, and parents are immediately sent text messages with your results. Everything you do is recorded. You are never truly alone. This is the world that Henrietta has grown up in, and she isn’t looking for anything else- except maybe a cure to the headaches that single her and a handful of other children out from the rest. But one day, she discovers an attic in her house, and an injured Wild Housecat- thought by everyone to be extinct. From that point on, Henrietta’s life begins to change. She befriends a few other students who also suffer from the headaches and they eventually discover the cause: it is not, as the adults think, House Sickness (from living in a non-plastic home, or a house like those in the Old Town) but a disturbing – and invisible to most – creature called The Wikkeling. Will they find a way to stop it before it gives them more to worry about than a headache?

Review: I think adults would be more deeply affected by this book than children. Arntson has done a fantastic job of describing a future that is probably not too far from the truth. The level at which technology has invaded the lives of his readers is daunting, but not unbelievable, and the consumerism isn’t too far of a stretch from today’s standards. We could very truly see a world like that of The Wikkeling in our own lifetimes if we continue on our current course of advancement. Henrietta and her friends are very much like most children. They trust their teachers and don’t do much to question society. Or at least they didn’t, until they were introduced to the world of the Wild Housecat and the attic and a bunch of books from the past. Once they begin to figure things out for themselves, the three characters become even more inquisitive and imaginitive and they start to wonder who decides what they learn in school and if they really agree with what they are being taught. I think this is a very good mini-dystopia novel to use to introduce children to the idea of that kind of society, or to really let perceptive readers see how close a dystopia could be to our own real-life situations.

Themes: Coming of age, Making new friends

Additional Info:

Main Character:

Henrietta: The worst student in her class, Henrietta suffers from horrible headaches. Society has taught her that this is from House Sickness- caused because her family lives in an older home, made of materials other than plastic. She is not generally inquisitive, but ends up finding great joy in the feeling of being all alone in her attic, reading old books and mulling over her thoughts.

Gary: The best student in Henrietta’s class, the two become friends when Henrietta suffers from a headache and Gary admits that he used to get them too. Gary’s secret: he actually cannot read, and only gets good grades because he cheats (made easier to accomplish because his mother is their teacher). Gary’s other secret: he wants to fail school so that he can move to Old Town and become a garbarge collector.

Rose: A younger student that Henrietta and Gary befriend when she is suffering from a headache. Rose lives illegally with her parents in a secret library housed in an old school. She is very intelligent, having read many of the books that she lives with, and very aware of the state of their society for such a young girl. She is much more used to moving “off the grid” than our other characters, and it is her knowledge of this that helps to save the three children from the Wikkeling.

Bibliographic Info:

Arntson, S. (2011). The Wikkeling. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers.

Tagline:

I Kill Giants

Author: Joe Kelly

Illustrator: Jm Ken Niimura

Age Range: the only sites that would give me something here quoted 9-12 (from Target.com) and 13-18 (Barnes & Noble.com). I was unable to find a non-retail website that would quote an age range for this title. This is discussed below.

Interest Range: 10-18, depending on maturity level and life events (my take on it)

Genre: Magical Realism, Coming of Age, Sci-fi/Fantasy

Format: Graphic Novel

Plot: Barbara kills giants. It is her sole purpose in life. She also happens to be in the 5th grade, be a very talented Dungeon Master (for D&D games), and have very few friends. Until Sophia arrives, that is, and the two start a rather rocky friendship. Barbara is quite the outsider in her school, constantly talking back to teachers and bullies alike, and getting in trouble for both. Finally, Barbara is angry. Things are not ok at home. Her older sister has been placed in charge of taking care of the house due to their mother’s current state and their father running out on them. Because of her constant problems in school, Barbara begins regular sessions with the school therapist. It is in these sessions that we realize that Barbara’s giants are her way of dealing with the troubles at home. Through a unique artistic style, the story of Barbara is brought to life- her imagination and reality melded into one.

Review: This was a hard one. I loved it, and want to share the book with everyone, but it is INTENSE. Despite the fact that the main character is in the 5th grade, I don’t know that I would ever hand this book to someone in the tween age group unless I knew them well and knew that they could really handle it. I picked it up because it had been on some state-wide reading lists of notable books a few years ago here in Vermont. The list it was a part of had titles that were geared toward both tweens and teens, and reading about the main character made me assume that it would be appropriate for the 9-12 age group. This book involves a very angry and scared young lady, who is a severe social outsider and dealing (not very well) with some very serious happenings at home. I don’t like the idea of sheltering kids from serious topics, and given the right circumstance I would encourage a younger reader to look at this book without any hesitation, but depending on their age it would have to be someone in a similar situation who would understand where Barbara is coming from. Seeing how she deals with her fear and anger could really help someone out, because in the end she makes it through just fine. I also don’t know if this book would appeal to many teens once they knew Barbara’s age. If they stuck with the story, I think they would really appreciate her narrative. But knowing that youth don’t normally like to read about individuals younger than themselves makes me question what age range this really does fit into.

*Side note: I found it interesting how different retailers placed this book in different reading age ranges. It made me realize that at least between Barnes & Noble and Target, B&N seems to have more of a grasp of content. Target probably looked at the age of the main character (like I initially did) and just assumed it would be best for tweens. Another reason not to trust retailer websites for information of this variety.

Themes: Growing up, Facing fears, Illness, Making new friends, Changes at home

Additional Info:

Featured Lists:

YALSA’s 2010 Top Ten great graphic novels for teens

Main Character:

Barbara Thorson: A very smart 5th grader dealing with things that are way beyond her maturity level. She copes the best she can by exercising her imagination to the extreme- to the point where she sincerely believes that giants roam the earth and that she exists to stop them from destroying everything.

Bibliographic Info:

Kelly, J.; Niimura, J. K. (2010). I Kill Giants. Berkeley, California: Image Comics, Inc.

Tagline:

“We’re a lot stronger than we think we are.”

Friends With Boys

Author: Faith Erin Hicks

Age Range: 11-13 (from Kirkus)

Interest Range:

Genre: Magical Realism

Format: Graphic Novel

Plot: Maggie, like all three of her older brothers, has been homeschooled by her mother through the junior high years. Her whole life as she knows it has revolved around her home. But now, two things have changed. This year, Maggie is entering high school. Also, her mother is gone. Maggie enters high school expecting to be taken care of by all of those older brothers, but quickly realizes that they all have lives of their own. Eventually, she befriends a young outsider, Lucy, and her older brother. Amidst a ghost story and some rule breaking, Maggie learns about the complicated relationships that develop and change in high school, and sets about trying to make some things right for herself and her family.

Review: Maggie is believable and wonderful. Hicks does an amazing job telling her story through words and easy to follow but interesting artwork. Maggie’s first year of high school is spent learning how to fit in, and who she wants to fit in with, while observing the changes happening for all three of her older brothers and even her father at home. With no mother to guide her, Maggie falls to talking with a ghost from the local graveyard, and even gets in some serious trouble trying to help the spirit out. The fantastic elements in this story are just another way of looking at the kinds of relationships we can have with others, and manage to add a bit of a spooky sci-fi element to the story which goes along great with Maggie’s character: a sci-fi movie loving, unique, intelligent young woman.

Themes: New School, Making New Friends

Additional Info:

Main Character:

Maggie: Growing up with 3 older brothers, Maggie is finally being forced to really fend for herself when she enters high school. She befriends Lucy and Alistair and goes on many small-town adventures with this brother-sister duo. Maggie is very intelligent, but still manages to find herself in some sticky situations

Lucy: Another new freshman and younger sister of Alistair. She has never really fit in, and seems proud of that fact. Another young girl who hasn’t had the friendship of many other young girls, she is happy and thankful to become Maggie’s friend.

Alistair: Lucy’s older brother. Used to be part of the volleyball team, and therefore the popular crowd, but he has given that up and become an outsider, all for the sake of his sister. Of course she doesn’t know that.

Daniel: Maggie’s oldest brother. He’s a drama club kid, and surprisingly popular for the non-sporting crowd. He is the same age as Alistair, but does not get along with him due to past events of high school. He is concerned about Maggie hanging around him and Lucy so much.

Bibliographic Info:

Hicks, F. E. (2012). Friends With Boys. New York: First Second.

Tagline:

As if dealing with the first year of high school wasn’t enough, Maggie’s being haunted by a ghost from the local graveyard.

What-the-Dickens

Author: Gregory Maguire

Age Range: 8-12 (from Kirkus)

Interest Range: 8-? Fans of Maguire of all ages might enjoy. Also anyone who enjoys fairy tales and their adaptations.

Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism

Plot: Dinah and her brother, Zeke, lead a pretty secluded life. Their parents are very stern and don’t put stock in much other than their trusty Bible. When a terrible storm breaks out, they are left in the care of their cousin, Gabe, who is a storyteller by nature. As they struggle through the worst night of the storm, Gabe spins a tale about tooth fairies to keep their fears at bay. What-the Dickens is an orphaned tooth fairy who knows nothing about his own kind. Through his adventures we learn about being an outsider, proving yourself, and the importance of having an imagination.

Review: For being a fan of all of Maguire’s stories for adults, this one did not impress me. The story is fine, and it makes some important points about friendship and imagination that I feel are great for any child to hear, but I don’t think this is one I will be recommending any time soon. The story of the family in the storm did not feel complete, and actually seemed rather unnecessary. It would have done better as a story simply about the tooth fairies. I admired and enjoyed the characters of What-the-Dickens and Pepper, and appreciated the complexity of the ideas that their society contained: division among classes, the struggle to make a name for yourself rather than blending into the background (to the point of literally being stripped of your name and made to do menial servant-work), and the emphasis on the importance of thinking outside-the-box and using your imagination.

Themes: Coming-of-age, Importance of Imagination/Dreams/Wishes

Additional Info:

Main Characters:

Humans:

Dinah: A 10-year-old girl who is stuck on a hilltop, in a storm, with her brother, sister, and older cousin. She is intrigued by the world around her, but has been kept away from most of it for all of her life by over-protective and reclusive parents. Over the course of the book, she discovers a love for stories.

Zeke: Older brother to Dinah, not really into stories. He listens begrudgingly to Gabe’s tale, all the while trying to act above it. But he is loyal to his family and wants to do what is right to keep them all safe in the storm, even if he makes a few mistakes in his earnestness.

Gabe: Older cousin who has been left in charge. He is a teacher of literature and has experienced much more of the world than anyone in Dinah and Zeke’s family, even though he is only in his early twenties. He has not been so sheltered. The story he tells also stars himself as a young boy of 10, when he found the skibbereens taking his tooth one night.

Tooth Fairies:

What-the-Dickens: A skibbereen (tooth fairy) who is orphaned at birth and left to find his way in the world. He comes across as quick slow and dim-witted to those he meets, but manages to find his own strengths along the way. What-the-Dickens questions everyone and every thing and feels very strongly about the bond of friendship.

Pepper: The first skibbereen that What-the-Dickens meets. She is annoyed by his presence, but reluctantly brings him along to her colony where he learns what being a tooth fairy is all about. By the end, she comes full circle and truly appreciates What-the-Dickens, even with all of his oddities.

Bibliographic Info:

Maguire, G. (2007). What-the-Dickens The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy. Somerville, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.

Great Quote: “‘Dear boy,’ he said. ‘It really is very simple. We plant the possibility of wishes coming true only in the paths of human children. Children still trust that when they wish on something bright – a birthday candle, a penny in a fountain – [a shooting star] – that their wish will come true. Wishing is the beginning of imagination. They practice wishing when they are young things, and then – when they have grown – they have a developed imagination. Which can do some harm – greed, that kind of thing – but more often does them some good. They can imagine that things might be different. Might be other than they seem. Could be better.'” (p.278-9)

Tagline:

A Wrinkle In Time

Author: Madeline L’Engle

Age Range: 11-13 (from Scholastic)

Interest Range:

Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: Meg’s father is missing. Everyone in town suspects the worst, and while Meg knows that what they think cannot possibly be true, it’s hard for her to hear it day in and day out. Especially when she already doesn’t fit in. With the arrival of a storm and three mysterious ladies, Meg is taken on a journey across the universe with her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, who is one of the popular boys from school. Their mission: to save her father from the Dark Thing that is taking over other worlds. Will this unlikely trio be able to save her father from the Darkness he has been fighting all this time? Will any of them make it out alive?

Review: As a child, this was one of my favorite books. Reading it again as an adult, I was shocked at the amount of religious undertones. The mix of religion and science (time travel, new planets, physicist parents and a main character who is gifted at math) gives the reader a lot to think about, if they want to. Even without delving into the deeper questions of belief, the story itself still grabs me. And the plot raises other big questions too. Is it worth giving up individuality to give everyone an equal share of “happiness”? Or do we need to celebrate everyone’s differences and embrace them for who they are and what they are capable of? An awesome book for kids to read on their own and also to have discussions over.

Themes: Being different, building new relationships, self-appreciation

Additional Info:

Awards: Newbery, Sequoya Book Award, Lewis Carrol Shelf Award, runner up for Hans Christian Andersen Award

Main Characters:

Meg Murray: Braces, mousy/awkward hair, and coke-bottle glasses. Assumed to be unintelligent, but actually quite gifted in Math. Her anger helps her focus, and she is persistent and loyal.

Calvin O’Keefe: One of the popular kids at school, although only because he is good at sports and does okay in class. He immediately feels at home with the slightly awkward Murray family and professes often how nice it is not to have to pretend to be something he isn’t when he is with his new friends. His greatest strength is his ability to communicate.

Charles Wallace Murray: Younger brother to Meg, and a very gifted young boy. His confidence in his own abilities (pride) is ultimately his downfall.

Series Info: This is the first of 5 installments L’Engle wrote about the Murray and O’Keefe families. The stories are linked by characters and the world they take place in, but can be read individually. The other books are: A Wind In The Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), Many Waters (1986), and An Acceptable Time (1989)

Bibliographic Info:

L’Engle, M. (1962). A Wrinkle In Time. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

Tagline: