From “A Wrinkle in Time” to Astronaut

As a young girl, Janice Voss selected A Wrinkle in Time at her local library, unaware that the book would change her life.  

At age 16, she entered college, then interned with NASA, determined to become an astronaut.

Voss died this week of cancer.   One of only six women to have gone into space five times, she explored “the behavior of fire in weightlessness, how plants adapt to extraterrestrial flight” (NYT) and more.

She logged nearly 19 million miles circling the Earth.

Madeleine L’Engle‘s 1963 Newberry Medal Winner tells the story of how Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O’Keefe, travel through time and space, battling evil powers, searching for the Murry children’s father.  More fantasy than science fiction- the characters aren’t imbued with superhuman characteristics – this novel, considered a classic, is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.

I taught A Wrinkle in Time and the four others in the L’Engle’s Time Quintet to urban middle school students.  Suspending belief and allowing their imaginations to enter unknown galaxies proved challenging for many.  Yet they preserved and came to love the characters and their odyssey.

I don’t know where those former students are now. Maybe some are scientists, inspired by their reading.

About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. ( I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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2 Responses to From “A Wrinkle in Time” to Astronaut

  1. Nancy Janow says:

    Oh Lisa, Wrinkle in Time was my absolute favorite book growing up. I didn’t become a scientist but perhaps things evolved to the next best thing!


  2. Great book. Hard to believe that I read it all those years ago. I discovered it in the library of my school. I remember winning the Book Award because over the summer breaks I read the most books. I was a day dreamer and spent so many days in another world. This was one of my favorite books. I think I will have to get it and read it again.


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