Yesterday, I got to thinking about this book whilst driving home from work. I can't remember what sparked it, but it had something to do with the universe and being very small, etc. etc. Just then, I realized that the first time I was confronted with thoughts of relativity and the universe was when I read A Wind in the Door. When Meg, Calvin, Mr. Jenkins and Progos are with the teacher learning about the farandolea, their role in the body and what is causing Charles Wallace's illness, L'Engle broaches the subjects of relatively and interpretation. She challenges the children to think outside the box when she presents the Farandolae to them as a macroscopic being with roughly the same physical size (or a little smaller than a human child). They have difficulty grasping that the being before them is usually not visible at all, let alone to the naked eye. They must extend their minds and think not of where they are in relation to what they know, but to where they are, i.e. when they enter Charles Wallace's cells, their universe become Charles Wallace and time slows to where a heart beat lasts a decade. They must also learn to move and think without actually moving, which they have a great deal of difficulty. It's their first brush with the idea that their world is not the norm for the whole of the universe and that they must learn to adapt as their situation changes. i.e., they must learn to think outside of the box.
Along with Meg and Calvin, my first reading of this book lead me into new worlds which started me off into thinking for myself and helped me not to assume that things are always as they seem on the surface. It's an invaluable life lesson and can be applied to many situations in any ordinary day. In retrospect, it was also my first brush with both science as an applicable field and philosophy, both of which I found terribly interesting.
Basically, I just wanted to add these thoughts on the book because they made me realize how important this book, and many others as well, were to my education even though they were read for fun. I also realize there are kids out there who miss out on such opportunities and that makes me infinitely sad. Everyone should be able to experience books this good as a child. If they did, we'd have more readers and most certainly a better educated society.