· John F. Kennedy was the president of the United States.
· The manned space program was in its infancy (John Glenn orbited the earth four times); the first commercially sponsored communication satellite, Telstar, was launched; and the unmanned space probe,, Mariner II, flew past Venus.
· James D. Watson, Maurice H. F. Wilkins, and Francis H. Crick won the Nobel Prize for determining the structure of DNA.
· The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the U.S. and Russia to the brink of war.
· James Meredith was escorted by U.S. marshals into the University of Mississippi as he registered for classes.
· To Kill a Mockingbird
and The Manchurian Candidate
were playing in movie theaters. The Yankees won the World Series again, and a first-class postage stamp was $.04.
These are the scientific, political, and social landscapes that existed when A Wrinkle in Time
was first read by young people in America. Many things have changed since then, but the book remains a favorite of students and teachers alike, because, one hand, it is a work of science fiction and fantasy that transcends the everyday to illuminate large themes and concerns, and on the other, it deals with the small and large realities of young people’s lives: relationships among friends and family, courage, conformity, and growing up. On top of that, it’s a great adventure story with characters kids care about. A Wrinkle in Time
is, in short, a classic, a part of young people’s heritage and culture.
In this guide, we’ve provided questions for contemplation and discussion, activities for exploration, and teaching connections to science, social studies, history, and literature.