“It was a dark and stormy night.” So begins the story of “A Wrinkle in Time,” a classic piece of U.S. fiction by author Madeleine L’Engle, which was read aloud in the U.S. Embassy’s five American Corners in Armenia on Friday, April 13, in celebration of both U.S. and Armenian National Library Week.
The Reading Marathon featured U.S. Ambassador to Armenia Richard Mills, Jr., other U.S. diplomats, three Deputy Ministers of Culture, municipal officials, librarians and patrons reading portions of the book out loud, each reader taking turns to read for five minutes in English or Armenian.
The Marathon was organized to mark National Library Week, celebrated in the United States April 8-14 and in Armenia April 16-23. Established 60 years ago, National Library Week is designed to encourage reading at all age levels.
“Libraries are the heart of societies,” Ambassador Mills said. “We gather in them, they are our community homes. The stories we find on the shelves in libraries open our eyes to other viewpoints and ways of thinking. And today, the technology that exists in libraries connects us to others around the globe and gives us tools to build our own futures.”
“A Wrinkle in Time” tells the story of a young girl who does not fit into her conformist society and who struggles against the overwhelming pressure to be just like everyone else. She goes on a fantastic journey through space, time, and her mind to rescue her lost father. Along the way finds the inner strength to love herself as she is. The U.S. Embassy in Yerevan sponsored an Armenian translation of the book, which was recently published by Antares Publishing House. The book will be distributed for free by the Embassy to libraries and schools throughout Armenia.
“This is a classic U.S. novel for teens which highlights the tyranny of conformity. It is a uniquely American story, exploring the value of individuals, so I think it will help Armenians better understand the U.S. mindset,” Ambassador Mills said. “And it is just that spirit of finding strength in yourself that makes this book beloved by teens throughout America. It is a story for everyone who does not fit in, which is the case for most teenagers. It teaches teens to respect and love themselves and the unique characteristics that make them who they are.”
While participants were reading the novel out loud in the Yerevan American Corner — and via video conference from the American Corners in Kapan, Charentsavan, Vanadzor, and Gyumri — students from the Hakob Kojoyan Arts School in Yerevan sat in the garden of the Yerevan City Central Library after Isahakyan, the home of the Yerevan American Corner, to create their own artistic renderings of some key scenes from the book.
The five American Corners in Armenia celebrate literature and English language year round. In 2017, more than 70,000 visits were made to the Corners, and patrons checked out 30,649 English-language books and watched 6,341 films on DVD. They participated in 1,447 programs, including free English-language lessons, computer programming courses, business startup workshops, and 3D printing clubs. For more on the American Corners in Armenia, check out their website: https://www.americancorners.am/.