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A Wind in the Door facts for kids

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A Wind in the Door
Original hardback edition
Author Madeleine L'Engle
Cover artist Richard Cuffari
Language English
Series Time Quintet
Genre Young Adult
Science fiction
Publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication date
January 1, 1973
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)
Pages 146
ISBN 978-0-374-38443-2
OCLC 709787
LC Class PZ7.L5385 Wi
Preceded by A Wrinkle in Time 
Followed by A Swiftly Tilting Planet 

A Wind in the Door is a young adult science fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle. It is a companion book to A Wrinkle in Time and part of the Time Quintet.

Plot summary

Main character Meg Murry is worried about her brother Charles Wallace, a 6-year-old genius bullied at school by the other children. The new principal of the elementary school is the former high school principal, Mr. Jenkins, who often disciplined Meg, and who Meg is sure has a grudge against her whole family. Meg tries to enlist Jenkins's help in protecting her brother, but is unsuccessful. Later, Meg discovers that Charles Wallace has a progressive disease that is leaving him short of breath. Their mother, a microbiologist, suspects it may be a disorder of his mitochondria and his mitochondria's farandolae. (The farandolae are micro-organelles inside mitochondria that exist in the Time Quintet fantasy universe.)

One afternoon, Charles Wallace tells Meg of a "drive of dragons" in their back yard, where he and Meg thereupon discover a pile of unusual feathers. Later, Meg has a frightening encounter with a monstrous facsimile of Mr. Jenkins. That night, Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe discover that Charles Wallace's "drive of dragons" is an extraterrestrial "cherubim" named Proginoskes (nicknamed 'Progo' by Meg), under the tutelage of the immense humanoid Blajeny, who recruits the three children to counteract the Echthroi.

Meg's first task, on the next day, is to distinguish the real Mr. Jenkins from two Echthroi doubles, by identification of the (potential) goodness in him despite her personal grudge. The protagonists then learn that Echthroi are destroying Charles Wallace's farandolae, and travel inside one of his mitochondria, to persuade a larval farandola, named Sporos, to accept its role as a mature fara, against the urgings of an Echthros. In the process, Meg is nearly annihilated, and Mr. Jenkins is invaded by his Echthros doubles; whereafter Proginoskes sacrifices himself to "fill in" the emptiness of the Echthroi, and Charles Wallace is saved.


Meg Murry is a high school student, a defensive misfit who gets along best with her family and her friend Calvin O'Keefe. She wears glasses, has brown hair, and initially considers herself "repulsive-looking" and "dumb", although she is quite good at math. By the time of A Wind in the Door, Meg is much happier in school than previously, in part because of her friendship with Calvin, but is deeply worried about Charles Wallace. In "naming" Mr. Jenkins, Meg learns to love and appreciate someone she has always resented. In the course of the story Meg also learns to "kythe" with Calvin, Proginoskes, and others, communing with them essentially by telepathy.

Charles Wallace Murry is noted as being extremely intelligent, wise, and telepathic. He is something "new" and "different," biologically and "in essence" according to his mother. He is usually the first to discover certain elements important to the books, including the singular cherubim Proginoskes. Charles Wallace is bullied by fellow children and misunderstood by adults outside his family. He recognizes that this is a problem he must solve himself; that like any new lifeform, he must learn to adapt successfully to his environment in order to survive. Charles has blue eyes, and is said to be small for his age. His mitochondritis is life-threatening.

Calvin O'Keefe is tall and skinny, with orange hair, freckles and blue eyes, and is a popular boy on the basketball team. As of A Wind in the Door, he is already a high school senior at the age of fifteen, and class president. However, he did not feel that anyone understands or cares about him until he became friends with the Murry family. He is the third eldest child of Paddy and Branwen O'Keefe, who have eleven children and are seemingly neglectful of all of them. Calvin considers himself a biological "sport" and different from the rest of his family. Being poor, the O'Keefes are unable to afford new clothes to accommodate Calvin's growth spurts, and he often wears clothes that are too short for him. Throughout ‘The Time Quintet’, Calvin grows affection and friendship with the Murry family, specifically Charles Wallace and Meg, although it is stronger with the latter.

Mr. Jenkins, another character from A Wrinkle in Time, is further developed in Wind. Formerly the high school principal, Mr. Jenkins has become the principal of Charles Wallace's elementary school instead, an apparent demotion. He is described as having dandruff, thinning mouse-brown hair and smelling of "old hair cream.” Meg initially thinks of him as a failure and an obstacle, only to be surprised by his efforts to help when he finally understands the situation.

Proginoskes, a new character, is a "singular cherubim" who seems to resemble a Seraph; he becomes a particular friend of Meg's. "Progo" has what seems like hundreds of constantly moving wings, a great quantity and variety of eyes (which Meg seems to travel through at some points in the book), and "jets of flame" and smoke. He does not always take material form, and even when he does, as he tells Meg, not everyone is able to see him. Like Meg, Proginoskes is a Namer, and once learned the names of all the stars. The character's own name means "foreknowledge". He teaches and helps Meg kythe, which is a form of telepathy.

Audio adaptation

A Listening Library edition on four audio cassettes, unabridged and read by the author, was issued in 1994. ISBN: 0-8072-7506-9 In January 2012, Listening Library released an audio CD version narrated by actress Jennifer Ehle. ISBN: 0307916618

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