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A Wrinkle in Memory

92nd St. Y celebrates L’Engle.

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Charlotte Jones Voiklis  

All too often these days, children—if they’re reading at all—have their noses in books pegged to television shows. It makes one long for the classics, and the 92nd Street Y is launching a reading series aimed at bringing old-school favorites into the “hearts and minds of today’s kids,” says Hanna Arie Gaifman, director of the Y’s Tisch Center for the Arts. The series kicks off December 15 with Charlotte Jones Voiklis, Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter, reading from L’Engle’s best-known book, A Wrinkle in Time. She’ll also discuss her grandmother’s life and answer questions. L’Engle passed away in September, and “in a way it does feel like a memorial,” says Voiklis, a native New Yorker. She claims having a famous writer as a grandmother was “absolutely normal,” until L’Engle visited her school, when “there was a great stir.” One thing they liked to do together was read aloud. “Shakespeare. I have very strong memories of As You Like It and Twelfth Night.” Voiklis says her favorite of L’Engle’s 62 books happens to be The Small Rain. “The full scope of coming to adulthood is told in it, and I read it at the right age. She never liked to hear me say it was my favorite, because it was her first! She always wanted to get better.” Why L’Engle’s work continues to resonate (at least among kids who get away from the TV) is a only a bit harder to tease out. “She would say she got out of the way of the story, that her characters and stories took surprising turns that she had no control over. She had to write the stories the way they happened. She wasn’t concerned with fads.” The perfect antidote to boob-tube marketing.

12/15, 1 p.m. 92nd St. Y, 1395 Lexington Ave. (212-415-5500 or 92y.org); $10, best for 8 and up.


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