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A word from Mrs. No Way No How

The Times has an interview up with Ava DuVernay, and it offers much engaging insight into her thoughts about her adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, coming out next week. But it also does That Thing We Hate:

 

“Ms. DuVernay had just put the finishing touches on the Disney movie that paid for [her new studio], A Wrinkle in Time, her adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 young adult sci-fi classic.”

 

Classic, yes, sci-fi, broadly, young adult, never. What is it about children’s books that the popular press does not get? Labeling as YA anything beyond easy readers seems fair game to them. While L’Engle’s And Both Were Young (1949) was a “junior novel” for teen readers (“A boarding school story for girls is sure to be popular,” said the Horn Book*), A Wrinkle in Time has never been anything other than a children’s book, a staple among readers in the latter half of elementary school. I wonder if the journalists who persist in mislabeling children’s books think “YA” sounds fancier or more sophisticated, or if they think YA is what you’re supposed to call children’s books adults like, too. To my deep gratitude, DuVernay says herself in the article that the movie is intended for eight-through-twelve-year-olds (although the Horn Book will be joining them next Friday when we make a field trip to the first screening).

 

courtesy of T. A. Barron

My friend T.A. Barron recently met Ava DuVernay while they were both swanning about in Hollywood, where Tom was consulting on the screenplay for his forthcoming Merlin movie. He reports that Ava asked him what L’Engle would have thought about DuVernay’s casting of an African American girl as Meg. L’Engle was Tom’s version of  Zena, so he could tell Ava with complete authority that Madeleine would have been delighted. Although I suppose that, Madeleine L’Engle being Madeleine L’Engle, we should say that she IS delighted, smiling down upon us from wherever the greatest Wrinkle of all dropped her off.

 

*and also, uncharacteristically gossipy and apropos of nothing, notes that the author was “former secretary to Eva Le Gallienne.”

 

 

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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Comments

  1. Monica Edinger says:

    I used to keep track of all of these irritations at http://kidnotyabook.tumblr.com/

    I’ve given up as I have with curated.

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