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

Becoming Madeleine Details

TitleBecoming Madeleine
Author
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherFarrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
ISBN-139780374307646
Rating
GenreBiography, Nonfiction, Childrens, Middle Grade, Biography Memoir

Becoming Madeleine Review

  • Joan
    January 1, 1970
    Likely more of a 3.5 than a 4 star rating. It is nicely written, with all primary source material, naturally. It seems mostly based on research the granddaughters did through her voluminous journals, and on conversations with their grandmother, many from when the authors were still kids themselves. It pretty much stops after Wrinkle in Time was published, with a very short final chapter summing up the rest of her life. Their rationale was that they thought youth would be more interested in L'Eng Likely more of a 3.5 than a 4 star rating. It is nicely written, with all primary source material, naturally. It seems mostly based on research the granddaughters did through her voluminous journals, and on conversations with their grandmother, many from when the authors were still kids themselves. It pretty much stops after Wrinkle in Time was published, with a very short final chapter summing up the rest of her life. Their rationale was that they thought youth would be more interested in L'Engle's own youth than in her adult life. I suspect that stopping there also kept them from falling into the same trap as L'Engle herself in airing family life that the family would have preferred to be kept private. The authors clearly absolutely loved their grandmother. If you want a dispassionate biography showing the negatives as well as the positives of L'Engle, this is likely the wrong book for you. They did mention one action L'Engle took that she apparently never really understood the harm in doing, a prank in high school. But mostly this is really more of a work of love than a scholarly examination of L'Engle. With the movie "Wrinkle in Time" coming out March 9, this is highly recommended to fill in the time waiting for the movie.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    This middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle, written by her granddaughters, included lots of photos and excerpts from Madeleine's own journals and letters. It ends with the publication of A Wrinkle in Time instead of with her death, which seemed a little premature -- or maybe I just wished it weren't over.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    Filled with pictures and journal entries and correspondence to and from Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE gives readers an intimate peek at this award-winning author’s life. It has just the right amount of depth to make the read substantial and interesting without being weighty, reveals more than enough about Madeleine to learn who she was at various points in her life, and includes a heartfelt and heartrending introduction and conclusion by the authors - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy Filled with pictures and journal entries and correspondence to and from Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE gives readers an intimate peek at this award-winning author’s life. It has just the right amount of depth to make the read substantial and interesting without being weighty, reveals more than enough about Madeleine to learn who she was at various points in her life, and includes a heartfelt and heartrending introduction and conclusion by the authors - Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy, L’Engle’s granddaughters.It is a captivating and delightful and inspirational read that shares pivotal moments in Madeleine’s life up to the moment when A WRINKLE IN TIME was accepted for publication. It tells of a girl who always had a passion for writing, who was determined and tenacious and ambitious, who was often socially awkward but who thrived nevertheless, who was confident yet shy, who was brave yet fearful, who was by no means perfect but who strived to be better, and who understood that who she was encompassed every version of herself.BECOMING MADELEINE’s authors have penned a loving and respectful and incredibly endearing telling of the story of Madeleine’s life. They left in many of the hardships the author faced as a child, young, and not-so-young, adult. They shared her mistakes, her successes, her failures, her disappointments, her setbacks. They showed her journey as a writer - from poet, to novelist, to playwright, to published author - as well as the side trips that took her away from and brought her back to writing. And they allowed a glimpse into some of the more personal aspects of her and her family’s life.Madeleine L’Engle’s biography can be enjoyed by readers of many ages. It is a quick read, that flows beautifully, even interspersed with images and other lovely distractions. It has more of a story-like quality than that of a typical biography, allowing readers to easily connect with and become charmed by Madeleine. It promises a happy ending, just like Madeline L’Engle wanted for her stories - although its epilogue, divulging just how cherished L’Engle was by her granddaughters, will tug on the heartstrings.Whether a new or lifelong fan of author Madeleine L’Engle, BECOMING MADELEINE is a must, must, must.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is one I shall cherish for a very long time. When I was in the fifth grade my mother was privileged enough to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak at a church event. She brought back an autographed copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Last night, after finishing this new biography for youth, I opened my copy and fingered the words now more than 30 years old, "for Sarah - tesser well, Madeleine L'Engle." Sentimental, yes. Sappy? Perhaps. Yet that is the impact this book had on my heart.Just in time for the pr This is one I shall cherish for a very long time. When I was in the fifth grade my mother was privileged enough to hear Madeleine L'Engle speak at a church event. She brought back an autographed copy of A Wrinkle in Time. Last night, after finishing this new biography for youth, I opened my copy and fingered the words now more than 30 years old, "for Sarah - tesser well, Madeleine L'Engle." Sentimental, yes. Sappy? Perhaps. Yet that is the impact this book had on my heart.Just in time for the premiere of the film adaptation of L'Engle's Newberry award-winning novel comes this biography. And who better to write it than two of her granddaughters? The girls' love for their grandmother is clear, though it is not difficult to see why they should love her so. For Madeleine was quite a lady! The book focuses on her early childhood up until the publication of A Wrinkle in Time in 1962. Included are a plethora of journal entires, poems, school progress reports, and photographs. Truly a book to treasure! Lest you think this book is only for children and teens, let me assure you that is most definitely not the case. Anyone who is a fan of L'Engle or her work, anyone who has an interest in the writing process, or anyone who has ever felt alone will likely find a kinship with the author and gain inspiration from her determination and persistence.It has been a number of years since I read any of her books. From what I do remember, my interest the Wrinkle series had far less to do with the science aspect of it and was much more about the lives and feeling of the characters. As I read this biography it was not difficult to see how much of herself is infused into her characters. Although I was aware Madeleine had written several others, I am sorry to confess I had never taken a gander at any of them. I intend to correct that as I am curious to find more of her being amongst the pages of the novels.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very interesting biography of a beloved author, and any fans of L'Engle's work will zip through this. Lots of excellent family photos and stories of her life. I am buying a copy of this for a friend, but think I will pass on buying it for my library. There's a little bit of a resurgence in reading A Wrinkle in Time because of the movie, but my young readers aren't quite as totally into the story as much as those of us who are a little older seem to be. Meg Murray was the only strong, This was a very interesting biography of a beloved author, and any fans of L'Engle's work will zip through this. Lots of excellent family photos and stories of her life. I am buying a copy of this for a friend, but think I will pass on buying it for my library. There's a little bit of a resurgence in reading A Wrinkle in Time because of the movie, but my young readers aren't quite as totally into the story as much as those of us who are a little older seem to be. Meg Murray was the only strong, adventurous female character we have, and luckily there are many more of these for girls to read. It would be great for a school library-- excellent length, good white space on the page, engaging story-- if readers pick up longer biographies. My students don't tend to.
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  • Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
    January 1, 1970
    I was honored to be able to interview Charlotte and Lena at a Book Event to celebrate Becoming Madeleine and their relationship with their grandmother.
  • Mary Kenyon
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful biography for all ages, not just the middle-school category. See my full review here: https://marypotterkenyon.wordpress.co...
  • Gwen
    January 1, 1970
    A perfectly nice middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle. Jones Voiklis and Roy have captured their grandmother's voice through letters and journal entries, with plenty of photos and other documentary evidence. (I particularly enjoyed the report cards from L'Engle's stint at Swiss boarding school. The teachers were so candid!) I would have liked additional information/footnotes about some people and situations, but I can understand why Jones Voiklis and Roy opted to streamline the text for t A perfectly nice middle-grade biography of Madeleine L'Engle. Jones Voiklis and Roy have captured their grandmother's voice through letters and journal entries, with plenty of photos and other documentary evidence. (I particularly enjoyed the report cards from L'Engle's stint at Swiss boarding school. The teachers were so candid!) I would have liked additional information/footnotes about some people and situations, but I can understand why Jones Voiklis and Roy opted to streamline the text for the sake of their younger readers.Some lovely quotes:* "A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming." (from A Circle of Quiet)* "...I would like my books to make their readers want to be more than they are, to reach higher. I want to make them—the readers—aware of the wonderfully exciting and unlimited possibilities of man. Perhaps I am a romantic because I don't want to make them disappointed in their surroundings but with themselves. And not too much of that, really. What I want them to feel is: look! How wonderful I can be if I only will and I will! How wonderful everyone can be!" (122–123)* "Let me realize that I cannot write a valid book without at least as much labour as it takes to produce a child." (131)h/t: Politics and Prose event, which was a delightful evening with L'Engle's granddaughters. (Un?)surprisingly, the audience was primarily adult women, not the tween target demographic for the movie.
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  • RA
    January 1, 1970
    Recommended! Becoming Madeleine is a biography aimed toward middle grade readers, or between the ages of 8-12, written by Madeleine's granddaughters, Charlotte and Léna. The "action" of the book starts with background information on Madeleine's parents and concludes at the publication of A Wrinkle in Time; the authors also include more personal notes at the beginning and end of the book. I thought they did a great job setting the context of the United States at war and how disorienting it was fo Recommended! Becoming Madeleine is a biography aimed toward middle grade readers, or between the ages of 8-12, written by Madeleine's granddaughters, Charlotte and Léna. The "action" of the book starts with background information on Madeleine's parents and concludes at the publication of A Wrinkle in Time; the authors also include more personal notes at the beginning and end of the book. I thought they did a great job setting the context of the United States at war and how disorienting it was for Madeleine to move around so much as a child. The best parts of this book are the many photos, scanned letters, and excerpts from Madeleine's journals. I have read so many of Madeleine's memoirs that none of the events in this book were new to me. I actually found it comforting when the authors quoted her and I saw the familiar turns of phrase. The most delightful parts for me were the snippets from her journals, like when she writes as a child, "I have made a sort of promise to myself saying that I will not read trash books." HA! I really hope young readers read this book, develop deep affection for childhood/adolescent Madeleine, and then go on to read and love her work. 
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  • Margie
    January 1, 1970
    With each decade your reading life flourishes, growing in depth and breadth. Regardless of the number of titles you read, there will be those books finding a permanent place in your reader's heart; some of them read repeatedly. You will remember the wonder felt with the first reading. With each subsequent journey you take within the pages of the book, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, the wonder returns. The books by author Madeleine L'Engle written for middle grade and young adults take your With each decade your reading life flourishes, growing in depth and breadth. Regardless of the number of titles you read, there will be those books finding a permanent place in your reader's heart; some of them read repeatedly. You will remember the wonder felt with the first reading. With each subsequent journey you take within the pages of the book, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, the wonder returns. The books by author Madeleine L'Engle written for middle grade and young adults take your mind into places stretching your imagination and piercing your soul. Two titles leaving a lasting impression on me are Many Waters from her Time Quintet and A Ring of Endless Light from The Austin Family series. Did I enjoy the other titles in these two groups? Yes, I did but these two, after decades, I can still remember reading them the first time. Knowing more about the life of this remarkable woman through Becoming Madeleine: A Biography of the Author of A Wrinkle in Time by her Granddaughters (Farrar Straus Giroux, February 6, 2018) written by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy will captivate and inspire readers. My full recommendation: http://librariansquest.blogspot.com/2...
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  • Marina
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this biography of Madeleine L'Engle, by her granddaughters. What added to my enjoyment were the many journal entries that Madeliene had written over the years that her granddaughters had insdrted throughout the book. She truly had a challenging but very interesting life. It was also very interesting about when she met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, who eventually played "Dr. Charles Tyler" on All My Children, my favorite soap opera. I read "A Wrinkle in Time" man I thoroughly enjoyed reading this biography of Madeleine L'Engle, by her granddaughters. What added to my enjoyment were the many journal entries that Madeliene had written over the years that her granddaughters had insdrted throughout the book. She truly had a challenging but very interesting life. It was also very interesting about when she met her future husband, Hugh Franklin, who eventually played "Dr. Charles Tyler" on All My Children, my favorite soap opera. I read "A Wrinkle in Time" many years ago, as an adult and an educator and have nothing but praise for her writing and imagination, for a science fiction book, far ahead of its time. G-D Bless her for her continued Determination and Belief in her abilities as a writer and to never have given up on her Belief, that the book she eventually won the Newberry Award for, "A Wrinkle in Time" should be published and she was adamant that she would not make any additional changes to it, Because she Believed in it so thoroughly.
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  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure how many young readers would be drawn to this book, but those who were captivated by Madeleine L'Engle's writing in their youth and loved her writing will appreciate the evidence shown here of her lifelong love affair with writing. It could also appeal to young people who love to write, and who will identify with that uncontrollable urge. I love that her granddaughters took on the enormous task of combing through her journals and other writing, discovering who Madeleine was as a chi I'm not sure how many young readers would be drawn to this book, but those who were captivated by Madeleine L'Engle's writing in their youth and loved her writing will appreciate the evidence shown here of her lifelong love affair with writing. It could also appeal to young people who love to write, and who will identify with that uncontrollable urge. I love that her granddaughters took on the enormous task of combing through her journals and other writing, discovering who Madeleine was as a child, as a teenager, and on into adulthood. I hope that adult readers of this book will be drawn to some of her other writing, especially the Crosswicks Trilogy.
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  • Michelle Ule
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book for Madeleine L'Engle fans, I'm not sure anyone else would enjoy it.It's a YA biography, which surprised me, filled with lots of lovely photos, as you would expect in a book written by her granddaughters. Most of this information I knew already from L'Engle's own books. I didn't need the excerpts from her childhood diaries, but reading the biography made for a pleasant hour on a lovely afternoon.
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  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    More of a 4.5. This is beautifully laid out for book report or biography writers in middle grades, the inclusion of the pictures and photos of documents is wonderful. I think it's a touch dry but really lays out Madeleine's early life. What a lovely tribute from these girls, and I thank them for sharing their grandmother with us :)Side note: I nearly couldn't sleep after finding out that her husband was Dr Charles Tyler on All My Children!!
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  • Amber Webb
    January 1, 1970
    Lena Roy and Charlotte Jones Voiklis did a wonderful job of conveying their Grandmother's life to her adoring public. The biography left me wanting to know more and completely privileged to be let into her personal journals from childhood and young adulthood. We all know that Madeleine was a fascinating woman from reading her stories, but to read her journal entries and learn about her as a child is so comforting. I fell even more in love with this author and her ideas.
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic biography about Madeleine L’Engle! I highly recommend having this on hand if you read aloud A Wrinkle in Time in your class or use it in small reading groups or book clubs. She led a pretty fascinating life and her determination is admirable.
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  • Emily Montjoy
    January 1, 1970
    A powerful and insightful biography written by the granddaughters of author, Madeleine L’Engle. Fans of A Wrinkle in Time will enjoy reading and learning how Madeleine grew into the well-known, published author we all remember.
  • Kaci
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting biography. Talks about her childhood, college years, marriage, and the inspiration behind the setting and characters of A Wrinkle in Time. Quick read.
  • wonderwomand
    January 1, 1970
    Cried and laughed while reading this wonderful book.
  • Mfbirkett
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful!
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