The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli, Yearling
Newbery Award winner 1949
Number of pages: 111
This is a story, set in Medieval England,
of a young boy, Robin, who gets separated from his parents,
and at the same time is taken by a crippling illness.
With the help of some friars who take him
under their care, he learns to deal patiently with his
disability. Robin is also taught to strive, with a sincere
love of neighbor, to do his best for the common good. After
many exercises and much attention, he gains the strength to
walk with crutches. But the wise friar knows that a strong
body is not enough. Little by little, Robinís mind and soul
are given a healthy workout. The friar constantly teaches
Robin that without the use of his legs he can still do many
things that merit honor and praise. He learns through the
guidance of Brother Luke that a willing heart and a pure mind
can perform good deeds. This boy truly strives for perfection
once he is set on the right path.
This book takes on more of an adventurous
flavor in the second half, as the boy, one monk, and a
minstrel make a journey to a castle and end up by helping to
save the place from an attacking army. At the end of the
story, the boy is reunited with his parents.
- Many virtues are portrayed throughout the book,
especially in Robinís spiritual growth. Some of the virtues
include: patience with oneself, courage, perseverance, and
patience in waiting for Godís plan in oneís life.
- The actions of Brother Luke, the friar who takes care of
the boy and the advice he gives to him are exemplary. This
helps the student to see Godís Providence helping him along
the ascending path of Christian perfection through the
guidance of parents, priests and teachers.
- A realistic view of the medieval life, in general, is
given. Good details are provided in castle and monastery
- Many excellent themes can be identified and used as
subjects for composition. This is a well-researched and
splendidly written book.
There are absolutely none at all. This
would be an excellent source of literature to be used in the
classroom. It is also excellent reading material to
familiarize oneself with medieval history and customs.
This book is highly recommended for
youngsters. It leaves the young reader with a beautiful
impression of the Church and especially the monastic life. The
lessons learned by the boy are timeless and quite applicable
to todayís youth. There is enough adventure to keep the
youngsters interested for its entirety.
Our students could be said to be in the
same situation as young Robin; perhaps not as crippled as he,
but all the same each with their own handicaps. Teachers try
to embed in their minds and hearts the virtues which will
ultimately lead them to Heaven. There are many works of
literature which show us the straight path to reach the goal.
Although that way is often full of trials and crosses,
perseverance to the end will be rewarded.