L’Engle, who made the words “mitochondria” and “tesseract” household words for millions of children, died September 6, 2007 at the age of 88. The New York Times obituary observed that L’Engle, “who in writing more than 60 books, including childhood fables, religious meditations, and science fiction, weaved emotional tapestries transcending genre and generation.”
Wikipedia’s entry on L’Engle provides an interesting explanation of how her “best-known works are divided between ‘chronos‘ and ‘kairos‘; The former is the framework in which the stories of the Austin family take place, and is presented in a primarily realistic setting, though occasionally with elements that might be regarded as science fiction. The latter is the framework in which the stories of the Murry and O’Keefe families take place, and is presented sometimes in a realistic setting and sometimes in a more fantastic or magical milieu.”
L’Engle is best-known for her children’s books, some of which include the best known A Wrinkle in Time (1962; Newbery Award Winner), and other adventures featuring the engaging and lively Murry, O’Keefe, and Austin characters: Meet the Austins (1960), The Arm of the Starfish (1965), the Young Unicorns (1968), A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), and A Ring of Endless Light (1980; Newbery Honor Book).
The Educational Resources Center (ERC), 366 Tate Page Hall, has many of L’Engle’s most popular children’s titles including the recent DVD release of A Wrinkle in Time. Madeleine L’Engle will be missed by generations of children and adults who loved her work.
(Photo of Madeleine L’Engle from Random House; book covers from Wikipedia.)