The Tesseract: A Madeleine L'Engle Bibliography in 5 Dimensions

The Tesseract: Madeleine L'Engle FAQ Page


Madeleine L'Engle: A Brief Biography

by Karen Funk Blocher

Madeleine L'Engle, best known for her Newbery Award-winning children's novel A Wrinkle in Time, was born Madeleine L'Engle Camp on November 29, 1918. The future writer was named after her great grandmother, whose name actually was Madeleine L'Engle but who was better known, in the stories young Madeleine's mother told, as Mado. Our Madeleine's mother was also a Madeleine.  

Young Madeleine's father, Charles Wadsworth Camp, was a writer and journalist whose lungs (according to L'Engle) were damaged by mustard gas during World War I, although some family members dispute this claim. In either case, neither of Madeleine's parents seem to have spent nearly as much time with her as they did with each other. As a young girl, Madeleine wrote stories and poems at home while attending a private school in New York, where she was misunderstood and belittled by one of her teachers.  In 1929, Madeleine moved with her parents to a chateau in the French Alps, partly for financial reasons, partly for the sake of her father's health.  Shortly thereafter, Madeleine was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland.  She eventually attended several boarding schools on both side of the Atlantic, as the family moved to Florida in 1933. Camp died in 1935, and Madeleine was unable to get home in time from her Charleston boarding school to say goodbye.  Madeleine later attended and graduated from Smith College, which eventually awarded her the Smith Medal in 1981.

Madeleine was always primarily interested in writing, but, after college, she worked briefly in the theater. Backstage and between rehearsals, she wrote her first, semi-autobiographical novel, The Small Rain. During her brief acting career she also met and married actor Hugh Franklin. Leaving the acting profession to her husband, Madeleine took to writing full time, always working under the name L'Engle, which was originally a surname from her mother's side of the family.

After early success, L'Engle had a ten year dry spell in which very few of the books she was writing found publishers. During this period, the Franklins left New York City to live at Crosswicks, a large and historic farmhouse in rural Goshen, Connecticut. As Hugh temporarily left acting to own and run a country store, Madeleine wrote such books as A Winter's Love and Meet the Austins, only to see them rejected by numerous publishers. After nine years, the family (which by now included Hugh, Madeleine, daughter Josephine, adopted daughter Maria and son Bion) returned to New York City, after a 10 week camping trip across the continent and back. During that trip, Madeleine had the idea for A Wrinkle in Time, and her journal of the trip also led to the writing of the second Austin novel, The Moon By Night. Farrar, Straus & Giroux eventually published A Wrinkle in Time, another book that had been rejected by many publishers. The book won the Newbery Medal in 1963 and quickly became a perennial favorite with children and adults alike.

After the Franklins returned to New York City, they continued to spend summers at Crosswicks. Hugh Franklin returned to acting, and eventually became a soap opera star (he played Dr. Charles Tyler in All My Children). Beginning in about 1970, L'Engle began to publish nonfiction and religious works in addition to her children's and adult novels. On September 26, 1986, Hugh Franklin (whose marriage to Madeleine was reportedly less than ilyllic) died of cancer and its complications.  Despite this loss, L'Engle continued to write and publish a wide variety of books.  I'm sorry to report other bad news as well: her son Bion died on December 17, 1999.

Although several new books by Madeleine L'Engle  have been published in recent years, it has been evident for some time that her writing output was severely diminished due to health considerations. She had two hip surgeries and a difficult convalescence, followed by a cerebral hemorrhage, which forced her to cancel her public appearances and to put her writing projects on hold. She died in a nursing home on September 6th, 2007. Nevertheless, we can be grateful that in the past 60 years this prolific author gave us more books--and a greater variety of books--than just about anyone this side of Isaac Asimov. Her science fiction, coming-of-age novels, suspense and mystery novels, mainstream adult novels, poetry, plays, journals, explorations of what it means to be a Christian--all these and more can be found in her remarkable body of work. Taken together, her novels form a complex tapestry of recurring characters who reappear after months, years or even decades to deal with believable problems in both realistic and fantastic settings.

See also the L'Engle biography on Wikipedia, to which I contributed.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
About Madeleine L'Engle and Her Books

Q. Is Madeleine L'Engle still alive?

A. No.  Madeleine L'Engle died in September, 2007, at the age of 88. Over the past decade she had two hip operations and a cerebral hemmorhage, which forced her to discontinue her speaking schedule and, it seems, severely curtailed her writing output.

Q. I'm saddened to hear that Madeleine's son Bion died. Do you know any details about this loss?

A. I originally learned of the death of Bion Franklin when Carole F Chase mentioned it in passing in an email to me. Not wanting to trouble Ms. Chase further, I didn't ask for details. However, in response to one of the many questions I've received about Bion, I enventually did some online research on the Bonastra web site. He died on 12/17/99 at the age of 47.  (Bion was born on 3/24/52.) None of the messages I read gave a cause of death. I gather that he had been ill for some time, and had suffered liver damage the year before due to an adverse reaction to prescribed medication. However, I also read that his death was unexpected.

In April, 2004, a much more candid and disturbing account was published in The New Yorker in connection with an equally disturbing article about L'Engle herself.  The claim is that Bion's death was the result of alcoholism, and that L'Engle herself does not admit this.  I do not know this to be a fact, but it seems plausible.

Bion was the real person on whom the character Rob Austin was based. After receiving a Master's degree in literature at Syracuse University, Bion taught English at the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford before moving on to the Crosswicks Corporation, which I assume to be Madeleine L'Engle's company formed to handle her business affairs.  It is reported that Bion resented having been the model for not only Rob Austin but also Charles Wallace Murry.

Q. I read in The New Yorker that many biographical details given in L'Engle's books are distortions at best, and some things may not be true at all.  Whom should I believe?

A. L'Engle has always admitted that her Crosswicks Journals and other autobiographical titles are not identical to her private, personal journals.  She also talks in several books about "story as truth." It is becoming evident that L'Engle sometimes excludes facts that don't fit with the story she wants to tell. She also uses assumed names sometimes for real people and places.  For example, Canon Edward Nason West is called "Canon Tallis" in her Crosswicks Journals, a reference to his fictionalized persona. Goshen, Connecticut is called "Clovenford" in A Circle of Quiet, which is the name of the fictional village of Vicky Austin's childhood.

Whether L'Engle's nonfiction contains outright falsehoods about people and events is something I am not qualified to judge, but members of her family and others have recently disputed some of what she says in the nonfiction titles. In Penguins & Golden Calves, L'Engle says,"When I am writing about something that might invade privacy or hurt someone, I translate. I invent another situation which has the same emotional or spiritual impact."  This can be seen in L'Engle's fiction as well.  Many of the things that happen to Katherine, Flip, Camilla, the Murrys and the Austins are dramatic "translations" of incidents in L'Engle's life.

Q. Can the author of this web site help me with my book report for school? What is the exact theme of A Wrinkle in Time? Can you please send me a complete synopsis of the book?

A.  Karen Funk Blocher, who made this web site, is not going to help you with your homework, for several reasons. One, I’m really bad about keeping up with my email, so I’ll probably see your note long after your assignment is due. Two, there is little I can tell you that isn’t already online. Three, some stranger’s email is a poor substitute for doing the work yourself. The only good way to find out about the theme or story or characters in A Wrinkle of Time (or any other book) is to read it yourself!  Even if you're short on time before the assignment is due, you'll do better in class by reading as much of the book as you can than by trying to get the answers online. Once you've read it, think about what the characters did and why, and what they say about the things that are important to them. If you do that, you'll be well your way to knowing what the theme is. I can't tell you anything more specific than that about the theme of a book, so please don't ask. Your teacher wants to know what you think about the book, not what I know about it! I have, however, provided a list of study questions about A Wrinkle in Time on the Murry page to get you started thinking about this stuff.

For what it's worth, I tried to fake my way through some reading assignments when I was in school, and it doesn't work well. My advice is just to read the book. A Wrinkle in Time doesn't take that long to get through, and you may find out that you like it! If you run out of time, you can always read a few pages in the middle and then skip to the end, but you'll miss a lot that way.

This web site can give you a lot of other information about Madeleine L'Engle and her books, though, such as what other books have the same characters in them. Like the books, all you have to do is read the web pages! You can learn a lot about L'Engle and her work from other web sites as well; just follow the links.

Similarly, the best sources of info about L'Engle's life and writings are her books, and also some of the books about her (especially the ones by Carole F Chase and Donald R. Hettinga). More info on the Chase and Hettinga books can be found elsewhere on this page.

Q. Why does A Wrinkle in Time appear on lists of banned and challenged books?  What's the big controversy?  Are there any other titles people object to?

A.  I should really write this up properly, because for years I kept digging up my old email on the subject, and that's no longer accessible to me.  I never really had many details, but the idea seems to be that Wrinkle's references to "witches" and The Happy Medium promoted witchcraft and fortune-telling. The fact that the Mrs Ws were clearly not witches at all in reality, and that the Medium's ball was a science fictional device that showed the present, not the future, was entirely overlooked.  (Besides which, true prophecy was considered a holy gift from God in ancient times, not a forbidden and Satanic act.)

Also, people objected to Jesus being listed with great thinkers, philosophers, artists, etc. who fought evil on Earth.  Apparently, listing the Son of Man with mere humans was somehow an affront to His divine nature. 

More generally, some religious extremists object to any brand of Christianity other than their own.  For such people, L'Engle's tolerant, mystical, loving take on the nature of God is worse than no religious content at all, since it might induce children to believe in a loving and forgiving God, instead of one that's going to send everyone except certain born-agains straight to Hell.  I'm sorry if I sound harsh and bitter about this, but as a church webmaster who's been condemned several times for preaching tolerance in my blogs (and for something truthful I said about Thomas Jefferson; go figure), I guess I am a little bitter.  As far as I'm concerned, you are welcome to believe whatever makes sense to you, even if it means evangelizing about things I disagree about.  But I draw the line at intolerance, whether you're a Christian who hates L'Engle (or Jews, or Muslims, or me), or an atheist who wants to ban religious expressions in non-governmental settings, or to bait people of faith online.

End of rant.

Here's a good resource, which lists a few specific incidents regarding A Wrinkle in Time:

As for other books, I think I've seen at least one reference to people objecting to one of the other Time Trilogy titles, but I've forgotten which one, and lost track of the reference.  The other title sure to raise eyebrows is A House Like a Lotus, which has a lesbian in it.  The book neither promotes or condemns being gay, but the individual character is a troubled one, who betrays the protagonist in a moment of drunken despair.  Still, it's almost always Wrinkle that's the target, largely because that's the high-profile classic that's taught in schools. 

Q. What is a tesseract, anyway?

A. All I can say about a Tesseract is that it's explained about as well as anyone could explain it on pages 75-78 of A Wrinkle in Time. It's a hard concept to understand, but you can sort of get the gist if you read it through a couple of times. Basically it's a way of thinking about time and space in five dimensions instead of three or four. If you have an extra dimension to use, you can take a shortcut through space and time. It's sort of like what warp speed does in Star Trek, or hyperspace in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  The newest paperback edition of A Wrinkle in Time (2005) has a new introduction with more info on the science behind the book.  There's also an article on the subject in Wikipedia, which is frankly beyond my comprehension as a non-mathematician and non-scientist.

An interesting anecdote about the word "tesseract" arrived in my email years ago. In a message dated 5/3/00 2:15:10 PM, (ramona anne dube) writes:

<< i've got a friend, kry, in canada, who's also a dedicated fan of
l'engle...her nine-year old son once used the word "tesseract" in a
school paper he did, and his teacher took off points and said that she
wouldn't tolerate fake words...well, kry got upset (understandably!) and
showed the teacher that it was a real word and there were books written
on it, and the teacher gave kry's son a passing grade. >>

Q. Are there any more books coming up about Meg and her family?

A. At last report a decade ago, L'Engle was over halfway through her manuscript for a new book about Meg Murry O'Keefe at age 50-something. (Earlier reports said that Meg was 40-something in the book.) The working title is The Eye Begins to See. Due to L'Engle's health problems, this book was apparently never completed.

Q. Why haven't we ever seen Charles Wallace as an adult in any of the books? Is he dead?

A. This may be the most frequently asked question of all. Madeleine L'Engle herself has said that "Charles Wallace is alive and well until I hear otherwise." Carole F Chase, the author of Madeleine L'Engle, Suncatcher, asked her some years back for an update on this subject: "I saw Madeleine recently and asked her if her new novel about Meg (as a 50-something-year-old adult) had Charles Wallace in it. 'In other words, Madeleine,' I said, 'do you know yet what is going on with Charles Wallace?' She said, 'No.' And as always, she tells me and anyone who asks, that when Charles Wallace 'shows up,' when she learns about him, she will write about him." As far as I can tell, she never did write more about Charles Wallace than is found in the published books.

There are, however hints in a couple of the books about Polly O’Keefe. In A House Like a Lotus, pg 26 in both hardback and paper, Polly notes that "Mother's youngest brother, the one Charles is named after, is off somewhere on some kind of secret mission, we don't know where." Later, in An Acceptable Time, Polly is given Charles Wallace's old room at her grandparents' house: "Charles Wallace's room had been more than spruced up. It looked to Polly as though her grandparents had known she was coming, though the decision had been made abruptly only three days before she was put on the plane." Although there is little other mention of Charles Wallace in the book, the impression given is that he is neither dead nor expected to visit his parents anytime soon.

Q. Will there be any more books about Vicky and Adam?

A. I would be very surprised if anything new about Vicky and Adam turned up at this point. I think we should be grateful that we already have a number of books about these great characters, and assume, until and unless we learn otherwise, that Vicky and Adam end up together as adults. You may want to make sure you've read all of the books and short stories that they are already in, together or separately, including the two Austin Christmas stories and the book in which Adam was introduced, The Arm of the Starfish.

Q. Barnes & Noble (or Borders, or Amazon) lists a couple of L'Engle books that aren't mentioned listed on your web site.  Shouldn't you add them to your list?

A. There have been several upcoming L'Engle book titles in recent years that appear never to have been published, including one called Moses: Prince of Egypt that was listed about the same time that the Prince of Egypt movie was due out. Such titles may have been delayed, or canceled, or never existed at all. Also, sloppy data entry has given rise to a large number of titles, especially in Barnes & Noble's online and in-store listings, that are just typos. For example, any listing you may see for A Ring of Endless Night is really A Ring of Endless Light, The Other Side of the Son is really The Other Side of the Sun and so on. Other title variations are more subtle. I've tried to cover most of these bogus titles at the bottom of my main "The Books of Madeleine L'Engle" page of The Tesseract. In addition to these, there are lots of books in which L'Engle has an introduction, a foreword, an essay, a poem or a short story.  I have tried compiling a list, but it's a lot of work and I never managed to complete the task.

Q. I've never heard of some of the books listed on this web site.  Why haven't I ever seen them for sale, and how can I find them?

A. Many readers are unaware that Madeleine L'Engle writes many different kinds of books, which can be found in several different sections of large bookstores.  For a more-or-less complete list of places to check in your local stores, see the Where To Find the Books heading on this web page. Even so, there are at least seven books of hers that are completely out of print, including her second novel, Ilsa.

Q. How can I find a copy of L'Engle's second novel, Ilsa ?

A. This may not be the rarest L'Engle book, but it's one of the rarest, and almost certainly the one most sought after. Your best bet, if you just want to read the book, is to ask your local library to find it for you via Inter-Library Loan. I'm sorry to report that in 1999 a nice copy of the book sold on eBay for $825.00! (More recently, another copy, with a L'Engle autograph tipped in, failed to reach a bid half that high.) In contrast, I paid $40.00 for my copy in 1996, after almost 20 years of looking for a copy. Obviously the price is highly variable, depending on who is selling and how much competition you have. Personally, I don't think you should have to pay much over $200.00 for it. You'll be very lucky to get one at a halfway-reasonable price, but you can improve your odds quite a bit by using a book search service such as the ones listed on my page The Fiction of Madeleine L'Engle.

If it makes you feel any better, I can tell you honestly that it's not a terribly good book. Personally, I find Ilsa depressing and annoying. It's beautifully written, with interesting and deeply flawed characters who make an irretrievable mess of their lives. (But no, my copy's not for sale!) I got the impression from Carole F. Chase that L'Engle herself was not entirely satisfied with Ilsa, either, which probably explains why it's never been reprinted.

Q. I seem to recall an LP or cassette and filmstrip of A Wrinkle in Time from school when I was growing up.  Do you know anything about this?

A. I've been told there was something along these lines produced in 1974, and I personally have a vague memory of a series of dramatizations on LP in the 1960s (e.g. Treasure Island), which may have included A Wrinkle in Time.  However, I've never seen a copy of any audio version of this book except the Listening Library book on tape read by L'Engle herself.  I think a small portion of the book may also have been dramatized on an NET educational tv series in the 1960s, with a narrator reading the book while the show's host illustrated the scene.  I can't remember the name of the series or the host, and I'm not quite sure that the book appeared on it.

Q. Why do you spell Zachary's last name Grey? Isn't it supposed to be Gray?

A. That depends on which book you're reading. In my old FSG hardback of The Moon By Night, in which the character was first introduced, it's consistently spelled Grey. In A Ring of Endless Light and later books, it's Gray. Vicky even makes a point about Zachary's eyes being "gray, the way his name is spelled," not grey. One of these days I'll go through the website and change all those Grey references to Gray, but in compiling the pages originally I chose Grey, because that's the way it was spelled in the earliest book he was in.

Q. What is Madeleine L'Engle's personal philosophy?

A. That's a lot like asking the theme of A Wrinkle in Time, so I leave it to you to work out the answer yourself. Here are a few quotations to get you started:

"In a recent article on astrophysics I came across the beautiful and imaginative concept known as 'the butterfly effect.' If a butterfly winging over the fields around Crosswicks should be hurt, the effect would be felt in galaxies thousands of light years away. The interrelationship of all Creation is sensitive in a way we are just beginning to understand. If a butterfly is hurt, we are hurt. If the bell tolls, it tolls for us. We can no longer even think of saying, 'In the name of the Lord will I destroy them.' No wonder Jesus could say that not one sparrow could fall to the ground without the Father's knowledge.

"Dr. Paul Brand points out that every cell in the body has its own specific job, in interdependence with every other cell. The only cells which insist on being independent and autonomous are cancer cells."

--Madeleine L'Engle, A Stone for a Pillow, pg. 42


"A lot has happened in the world since I made Meg Murry the protagonist of a science fiction book (one of the reasons Wrinkle was so slow to find a publisher), and I have been changed by it, as we all have. I gave birth to my first child not long after the United States dropped two atom bombs. Both World Wars changed us. It is still difficult to understand that human beings capable of making music and love and good beef stew could have been part of concentration camps. So any action of love and laughter and compassion strengthens me and gives me hope."
--Madeleine L'Engle
Foreword to Suncatcher: A Study of Madeleine L'Engle
And Her Writing
by Carole F. Chase
Philadelphia: Innisfree Press, , 1998, pg. 14

If you are writing about A Wrinkle in Time, think about what makes Camazotz so evil. Think about the people who are mentioned as being the best at fighting the Black Thing, and what Aunt Beast says about fighting it. Think about how Charles Wallace got trapped, and how Meg saved him. What do these bits tell you about the things that are important to Madeleine L'Engle?

If you're writing about a different book, or more than one book, you can do the same thing with other passages from her work. What kinds of evil do her characters fight, and who fights them? How do her characters feel about family, God, friendship, love, and being themselves? These are all clues to the philosophy of Madeleine L'Engle. Beyond that, it's up to you to think about these things, and put them into words of your own. Just do your best, and don't worry about getting an exact answer.

Q. What awards and honors has Madeleine L'Engle received over the years?

A. Carole F Chase's 1998 book Suncatcher lists the following awards for Madeleine L'Engle:

Literary Awards:

(year award is given is not necessarily the same as year of publication or award eligibility)

  Year Awarded




  A Wrinkle in Time

John Newbery Medal


  A Wrinkle in Time

runner-up, Hans Christian Anderson Award


  A Wrinkle in Time

Sequoyah Award


  A Wrinkle in Time

Lewis Carroll Shelf Award


  The Moon By Night

Austrian State Literary Prize



Austrian State Literary Prize (again)


 (not for a specific book)

New England Round Table of
Children's Literature Honor Certificate


  A Wind in the Door

Learning A-V Award


 The Irrational Season

Seabury Lenten Selection for 1978


 The Weather of the Heart

National Religious Book Award


 A Ring of Endless Light

a Newbery Honor Book


 A Swiftly Tilting Planet

American Book Award


 Ladder of Angels

National Religious Book Award (again)


 A Ring of Endless Light

Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Children's Book Award


 A Ring of Endless Light

nominated for John Newbery Medal


 A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Newbery Honor Award


 A Ring of Endless Light

California Young Reader Medal


 A Ring of Endless Light

Colorado Children's Book Award


 (not for a specific book)

Weisenberg School Book Award


 lifetime achievement, writing for teens

Margaret A Edwards Award

Honorary Doctorates and Other Honors:





Order of St. John of Jerusalem



USM Medallion

University of Southern


Smith College Award for service to
community or college which exemplifies the purposes of liberal arts education.

Smith College


Doctor of Humane Letters

Christian Theological Seminary,


Honorary citizen of

Louisville, KY


Doctor of Letters

Miami University, Oxford, OH


Doctor of Sacred Theology

Berkeley Divinity School


Sophia Award for
distinction in her field

Smith College


Doctor of Literature

Wheaton College


Regina Medal



Guest speaker

Library of Congress


President (two year term)

Author's Guild


Doctor of Letters

Smith College


Doctor of Humane Letters

Virginia Theological Seminary


ALAN Award for outstanding contribution
to adolescent literature

National Council of Teachers
of English


honorary degree

St. Joseph's College, West Hartford, CT


Doctor of Humane Letters

Manhattanville College, Purchase, NY


Kerlan Award



 Doctor of Literature

Linfield College, McMinnville, OR


 Doctor of Humane Letters

Trinity College, Hartford, CT


 Doctor of Humane Letters

University of the South, Sewanee, TN


 Writer in Residence

 Victoria Magazine


 Doctor of Humane Letters

 Elon College, North Carolina


 Doctor of Humane Letters

 University of Rhode Island


 National Humanities Medal

 National Endowment for the Humanities

Books About Madeleine L'Engle
(in order of original year of publication)





Madeline L'Engle: Author of A Wrinkle in Time


ASIN: 0875184855


Doreen Gonzales

People in Focus series. Out of print.

Madeleine L'Engle, Suncatcher: Spiritual Vision of a Storyteller

Paperback - 175 pgs
(LuraMedia, 1995) $15.95

Carole F. Chase, foreword by Luci Shaw

Biography, bibliography and literary study from a spiritual/religious point of view. Out of print.

Suncatcher: A Study of Madeleine L'Engle and Her Writing

Hardcover - 224 pgs rev. edition
(Innisfree Press, Sept 1998) $25.95
ISBN: 1880913313; Dimensions (in inches): 0.66 x 9.01 x 6.01

Carole F. Chase, foreword by Madeleine L'Engle

Revised and updated version of above. Highly recommended.

Suncatcher: A Study of Madeleine L'Engle and Her Writing

Paperback - 224 pgs rev. edition
(Innisfree Press, Sept 1998) $15.95
ISBN: 1880913313; Dimensions (in inches): 0.66 x 9.01 x 6.01

Carole F. Chase, foreword by Madeleine L'Engle

Trade paperback version of above. Highly recommended.

Presenting Madeleine L'Engle

Twayne's United States Authors Series #622
Hardback, 1993 $28.00

Donald R. Hettinga

Literary study. Recommended.

The Swiftly Tilting Worlds of Madeleine L'Engle

Shaw Publishers (Wheaton Literary Series) 1998


Series of essays about L'Engle's writing.

Where to Find the Books

When I started reading Madeleine L'Engle back in fifth grade or so (about 1967), she had relatively few books in print, particularly for younger readers. It was probably several years later that I saw a title other than A Wrinkle in Time, and that was the Manlius Public Library's old copy of Ilsa which I found in the card catalog one day. Back then, if a child wanted to read something by Madeleine L'Engle, the choices were pretty much limited to whatever the school and public libraries had on hand.

That all changed in the 1970s with the publication of A Wind in the Door  and other books. Maybe it was also because I was old enough to start buying my own hardcover books, but during that period, more and more books started appearing in bookstores as well as in libraries. By the 1980s, some of her books were available in paperback as well, making it possible for younger readers to buy many of Madeleine L'Engle's books for themselves.

New Books

Today, all but a handful of Madeleine L'Engle's books are available in one form or another if you know where to look. Most of the currently published titles are available from any large bookstore that sells new books, although some of them have to be special ordered. Barnes & Noble and Borders Books are especially good at stocking the religious books and the books for younger readers, but don't forget to try your local independent bookstore as well, particularly for less recent titles that are still in print. You can even order from online bookstores, although sometimes the books get damaged in shipping.

To find everything a bookstore may have by Madeleine L'Engle, look in the following sections:

  • the Young Adult or Teen section of books, usually found either in or near the children's book department
  • the Intermediate or Middle Readers section of the children's department
  • the religious and picture book sections of the children's department, if any
  • the adult fiction and literature section(s)
  • the adult religious area. Look for a section labeled Christian or Inspirational.
  • the poetry section. It's worth a try, anyway!
  • both the adult and children's books-on-audio-tape sections
  • women's studies, parenting and/or photography sections (for Mothers and Daughters and Mothers and Sons)

Used Books

Probably half of my own collection of L'Engle books was bought used in one place or another. Many used bookstores won't have any of her books for sale on any given day (except maybe A Wrinkle in Time), and it may take twenty or thirty visits to find even one book you need. The one time you do find a book for your collection, though, makes up for all those other visits. (In March 2000 I found a first edition hardback of The Arm of the Starfish for only $6.00, at a bookstore that hardly ever has anything for me.) Even if they don't have a L'Engle book you need, maybe they have something you want by somebody else.

Some used bookstores will also do searches for you, either by advertising for your book or just by calling you if the book comes in on its own. You can even do this online (see the bookstore links section). I spent over 20 years looking for a copy of Ilsa by going into bookstores but, several years ago, a friend of mine found it for me online in a couple of weeks!

Another important place to find L'Engle books is at library and charity book sales. Five or six of my L'Engle hardbacks came from annual Friends of the Library book sales in Columbus, Ohio, only two of them actual library discards. Books that used to belong to libraries aren't worth as much to a book collector because of the damage, rebindings and markings the books pick up along the way, but not all books at a library sale are ex-library books. Besides, even if a book has the remains of a card pocket or the word DISCARD stamped on it, it's still worth getting as a reading copy, especially if it isn't being published in hardcover any more.

The biggest change in the used book market in recent years is the rise of the online auction sites and book sellers. eBay (auctions) and (books section, auctions and Z-shops) are good places to pick up a variety of L'Engle books at a variety of prices. The Z-shops area on Amazon is a set-sale arrangement, where dealers from around the country offer their copies of The Young Unicorns (or whatever) for what they deem a reasonable price. eBay has more L'Engle books for auction (as opposed to set sale) than, although a good third of them are copies of A Wrinkle in Time, usually in paperback. Anything rare or autographed on eBay tends to go for more money than the average reader would pay, but it's still a good source for recent titles and stuff you can't find elsewhere.

Library Books

If all else fails, or if you don't have any money to spend on books or room to store them, you can always do what I did when I was younger: go to the library and read their L'Engle books. Most libraries can even help you borrow titles your local branch doesn't have by getting them through inter-library loan. Happy hunting!

You can help to build this web site! Information on out-of-print editions will be gratefully accepted. I can always be reached at or  It often takes me a month to check my email though, so don't expect an immediate answer. Please do NOT use this email address to write to Madeleine L'Engle! I am NOT Madeleine L'Engle! I don't mind it when children make this mistake, except for the fact that I have to disappoint them by tell them their email didn't reach her. What really bothers me is the email from adults, especially teachers, who don't read enough of the website to know that email to goes to Karen Funk Blocher, not Madeleine L'Engle. I occasionally get email from entire elementary school classes addressed to Madeleine L'Engle, all because a teacher didn't do his or her research!  

The Tesseract home page, with a master list of Madeleine L'Engle's books in order of publication date.

The Novels of Madeleine L'Engle, with a master chronology, links to in-depth bibliographies of each series and links to other L'Engle-related web sites.

Madeleine L'Engle on Wikipedia, to which I contributed lots of bits and pieces.

I don't look like this anymore.

Karen Funk Blocher's Credos and Curios - my personal web page, with my personal philosophy, pictures of my dogs, and a link to my favorite quotes from all over the place. This page also has links to my Favorite Quotes page, my Project Quantum Leap site, my blogs, and my main web site,

Karen's Recommended Authors Page, with still more links.  Can you guess who is on it besides Madeleine L'Engle?


Contents copyright 1997-2007 by Karen Funk Blocher except where otherwise noted. Last updated 1/11/09.