Best Madeleine L’Engle Books of All Time

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Madeleine L’Engle is probably best known as the author of young adult novels you read in middle school and junior high. However, many of the best Madeleine L’Engle books are actually religious books and personal memoirs. 

Madeleine L'engle Books

Who is Madeleine L’Engle?

Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 to New York City socialites. At age 12, she was enrolled at a girls’ school in Switzerland, where she felt very alone.

This loneliness and the hard shell she had to develop for herself helped her to grow the creativity to become a writer. She earned a B.A. in English from Smith College and then spent 6 years on Broadway, where she wrote her first novel between scenes. 

She was married to actor Hugh Franklin, best known for his role as Dr. Charles Tyler in All My Children, and had three children.

She was heavily involved in her church and continued to write in all genres, winning a Newbery Medal, National Book Award, the National Humanities Medal, and 17 honorary doctorates. Madeleine L’Engle passed away in 2007. 

Madeleine L’Engle – Best Books

A Wrinkle in Time and the Time Quintet series

Madeleine L'engle Books
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I don’t know about you, but I didn’t read this book until I was about 30 because every bad movie version made me avoid the book. The book is so much better than the movies!! (As usual.)

While A Wrinkle in Time is probably considered the best Madeleine L’Engle book, it didn’t start out that way. When she wrote it in the late 1950s, it was unlike anything that had been written at the time — a young adult science fiction novel with religious overtones and a girl protagonist. It was just weird.

It ended up taking L’Engle two years to find a publisher for it. The religious overtones were also problematic — many Christians thought there wasn’t enough religion in it and non-Christians thought there was too much. 

As a result of this controversy, A Wrinkle in Time is one of the most frequently banned American novels.

A Ring of Endless Light

Madeleine L'engle Books
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Millennials and Xennials may recognize this as a Disney Channel movie. The movie, however, is a pretty loose adaptation of the original 1980 novel. 

In the novel, Vicky Austin and her family are spending the summer with her grandfather who is dying of leukemia.

She ends up torn between romances with three different boys, one of whom she is helping with a project involving dolphin communication.

She discovers that she can communicate telepathically in a way with the dolphins and other people.

The book deals with death, attempted suicide, cancer, and how teenagers can deal with all of these things.  

Madeleine L’Engle – Complete List of Books

Madeleine L’Engle is the definition of a prolific writer. Over the last 65 years, she has written close to 70 novels, young adult books, poetry collections, religious books, and short story collections. 

Here’s a complete list:

  • 18 Washington Square South: A Comedy In One Act, Play (1944)
  • The Small Rain, Novel, Katherine Forrester Vigneras series #1 (1945)
  • Ilsa, Novel (1946)
  • And Both Were Young, Young Adult Novel (1949, revised 1983)
  • Camilla Dickinson, Novel, Camilla Dickinson series #1 (1951, republished 1965)
  • A Winter’s Love, Novel (1957)
  • Meet the Austins, Young Adult Novel,Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #1 (1960)
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: Murry Family Series #1& Time Quintet series #1 (1962)
  • The Moon by Night, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #2 (1963)
  • The Arm of the Starfish, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: O’Keefe Family Series #1 (1965)
  • The Love Letters, Novel (1966)
  • The Journey with Jonah, Young Adult Novel (1967)
  • The Young Unicorns, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #3 (1968)
  • Prelude, Novel, Katherine Forrester Vigneras series #2 (1968)
  • Dance in the Desert, Children’s Picture Book (1969)
  • Intergalactic P.S. 3, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: Murry Family Series #2.5 (1970)
  • The Other Side of the Sun, Novel (1971)
  • A Circle of Quiet, Autobiography and Memoir, Crosswicks Journals series, #1 (1972)
  • A Wind in the Door, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: Murry Family Series #2& Time Quintet series #2 (1973)
  • The Summer of the Great-grandmother, Autobiography and Memoir, Crosswicks Journals series #2 (1974)
  • Everyday Prayers, Religious Nonfiction (1974)
  • Prayers for Sunday, Religious Nonfiction (1975)
  • Dragons in the Waters, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: O’Keefe Family Series #2 (1976)
  • Spirit And Light: Essays In Historical Theology, Religious Nonfiction (1976)
  • The Irrational Season, Autobiography and Memoir, Crosswicks Journals series #3 (1977)
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: Murry Family Series #3& Time Quintet series #3 (1978)
  • The Weather of the Heart: Selected Poems,Poetry Collection (1978)
  • Ladder of Angels: Stories from the Bible Illustrated by Children of the World, Religious Nonfiction (1979)
  • A Ring of Endless Light, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #4 (1980)
  • The Anti-Muffins, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #4.5 (1980)
  • Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art, Religious Nonfiction (1980)
  • A Severed Wasp, Novel, Katherine Forrester Vigneras series #3 (1982)
  • The Sphinx at Dawn: Two Stories, Short Story Collection (1982)
  • And It Was Good: Reflections on Beginnings, Religious Nonfiction, Genesis Trilogy #1 (1983)
  • The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #2.5 (1984)
  • A House Like a Lotus, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: O’Keefe Family Series #3 (1984)
  • Trailing Clouds of Glory: Spiritual Values in Children’s Literature, Religious Nonfiction (1985)
  • Many Waters, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: Murry Family Series #4 & Time Quintet series #4 (1986)
  • A Stone for a Pillow, Religious Nonfiction, Genesis Trilogy #2 (1986)
  • Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage, Autobiography and Memoir, Crosswicks Journals series #4 (1988)
  • An Acceptable Time, Young Adult Novel, Kairos: O’Keefe Family Series #4& Time Quintet series #5 (1989)
  • From This Day Forward, Autobiography and Memoir (1989)
  • Sold into Egypt, Religious Nonfiction, Genesis Trilogy #3 (1989)
  • The Glorious Impossible, Children’s Picture Book (1990)
  • Certain Women, Novel (1992)
  • The Rock that is Higher: Story as Truth, Religious Nonfiction (1993)
  • Troubling a Star, Young Adult Novel , Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #5 (1994)
  • Anytime Prayers, Religious Nonfiction (1994)
  • A Live Coal in the Sea, Novel , Camilla Dickinson series #2 (1996)
  • Wintersong: Christmas Readings, Poetry Collection (1996)
  • Glimpses of Grace: Daily Thoughts and Reflections, Autobiography and Memoir (1996)
  • Penguins and Golden Calves: Icons and Idols in Antarctica and Other Spiritual Places, Religious Nonfiction (1996)
  • Mothers And Daughters, Poetry Collection (1997)
  • Friends for the Journey, Autobiography and Memoir (1997)
  • Bright Evening Star: Mystery of the Incarnation, Religious Nonfiction (1997)
  • Two short stories included in Miracle on 10th Street: And Other Christmas Writings, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #5.1 (1998)
  • My Own Small Place: Developing the Writing Life, Autobiography and Memoir (1998)
  • A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas, Young Adult Novel, Chronos: Austin Family Chronicles series #5.2 (1999)
  • Moses, Prince of Egypt, Children’s Picture Book (1999)
  • 101st Miracle: Early Short Stories by Madeleine L’Engle, Short Story Collection (1999)
  • A Prayerbook for Spiritual Friends, Religious Nonfiction (1999)
  • Mothers and Sons, Religious Nonfiction (2000)
  • The Other Dog, Children’s Picture Book (2001)
  • Madeleine L’Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life, Autobiography and Memoir (2001)
  • The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle, Poetry Collection (2005)
  • The Joys of Love, Young Adult Novel (2008)
  • The Moment of Tenderness, Short Story Collection (Expected 2020)

Madeleine L’Engle quotes

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

Madeleine L’Engle

“Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

Madeleine L’Engle

“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”

Madeleine L’Engle

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”

Madeleine L’Engle

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