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‘A Wrinkle in Time’ still groundbreaking, explains NYC librarian

Why it’s important Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 book was adapted to film.

Storm Reid plays Meg Murry in Disney's

Storm Reid plays Meg Murry in Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time." Photo Credit: Disney / Atsushi Nishijima

Before it won literary honors and became part of school reading lists around the country, “A Wrinkle in Time” struggled to find a publisher.

Madeleine L’Engle’s fantastical tale didn’t fit neatly into a category, featured an awkward yet brave female heroine and swirled together physics and religious themes.

And it worked.

The book nabbed the prestigious Newbery Award in 1963 and the admiration of readers young and old.

More than 50 years later, “A Wrinkle in Time” is as relevant as ever.

“It’s about representation,” said librarian Brandon Jeffries, coordinator at the Queens Library for Teens in Far Rockaway. “Women are not just framed to be superheroines but applauded and heralded as genius.”

The main character, Meg, breaks preconceived notions and gender constraints, Jeffries said, and holds her own with adults in the story. She can also do some pretty tough math calculations in her head.

“It’s still groundbreaking,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that it’s translated into a film.”

“A Wrinkle in Time” also has the distinction of being on both required reading and banned books lists over the years. Critics complained it improperly meshed science and religion or that its view of Christianity was too liberal.

But praise has far outweighed negative words over the years.

Meg’s math prowess makes her a perfect modern-day role model for girls, who are more than ever being encouraged to consider careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Paired with Shuri — the tech wiz of Wakanda in the blockbuster “Black Panther” movie — girls are seeing powerful, smart women who succeed by using their intellect.

Acclaimed director Ava DuVernay, who directed the film, told amNewYork she identified with Meg.

“When I read the book, I just fell in love with it and I fell in love with Meg and I wanted to tell a story about a girl who could be the hero of the story,” DuVerney said. “She’s not a Jedi, she’s not a superhero, she’s just a regular girl with glasses, but she’s very special inside, she just doesn’t know it yet — and I could relate to that.”

With Naomi Sacks

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