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Blackbird & Company

It was a dark and stormy night...

And so begins Madeleine L’Engle’s memorable classic tale, A Wrinkle In Time. A story about the life-changing journey of three children, their epic battle against darkness, and the cosmic power of love.

Madeleine L’engle

Interestingly, we might never have heard of Meg Murray or Charles Wallace as L’Engle’s manuscript was initially rejected by 26 publishers before editors at Farrar, Straus & Giroux read it and enthusiastically accepted it. It went on to win the John Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of 1963 and has so far sold eight million copies. It is now in its 69th printing.

Sadly, last month Madeleine L’Engle passed away at the age of 88. As the author of over sixty books, her rich legacy includes poetry, plays, writings on faith, and four additional stories about the Murray’s adventures. “Why does anybody tell a story?” she once asked, even though she knew the answer. “It does indeed have something to do with faith,” she said, “faith that the universe has meaning, that our little human lives are not irrelevant, that what we choose or say or do matters, matters cosmically.”

To explore more, visit: www.madeleinelengle.com

Why read fantasy literature?

Fantasy literature inspires our imaginations and our souls to believe in that which seems impossible. We all want to know that there is a transcendent purpose to our lives. We want to believe that those who are “regular” can overcome their ordinariness and achieve greatness, make a difference—even save the universe! And where else can our children see self-sacrifice, honor, duty, chivalry and courage so vividly portrayed as in the pages of a great fantasy story.

The following fantasy guides are available from
Blackbird & Company for your students to explore:

A Wrinkle in TimeA Wrinkle in Time
Level 3 (grades 5-7)
by Madeleine L’Engle

Perloo the BoldPerloo the Bold
Level 2 (grades 3-5)
by Avi

Half MagicHalf Magic
Level 2 (grades 3-5)
by Edward Eager

My Father’s DragonMy Father's Dragon
Level 1 (grades 1-3)
by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Fantasy is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so when achieved the most potent.

– J.R.R. Tolkein    

this month’s contest

Who originally wrote the line, “It was a dark and stormy night...,” and what other famous literary phrase did he coin?

Email your entry to: takeflight@blackbirdandco.com, with “Dark and Stormy” in the subject line, before November 15. All correct answers will be entered in a drawing to win a free literature bundle of your choice.

coming soon

We’re excited to share with you a new batch of stories. Look for six new guides coming in January ‘08:

  • Stone Fox (L1)
  • The Year of Miss Agnes (L1)
  • The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet (L2)
  • The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs (L2)
  • The Mozart Season (L3)
  • The Thief Lord (L3)

join the conversation

Share your ideas and questions with us. How are you using your literature guides? Do you have a book suggestion? We’d love to hear from you so email us!

about us

We love books! Reading is a passion in our families and we believe that great stories have the power to instruct, inspire and enlighten. With beauty and clarity, we desire to provide tools that will foster your student’s delight in learning and encourage them to become lifelong readers!

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Blackbird & Company<br>Educational Press

11613 Washington Place, Los Angeles, CA 90066 | Visit our website blackbirdandco.com
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