Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Happy Birthday E. B. White, Charlotte's Web--a Perfect Summer Read

Happy Belated Birthday Wishes,  E. B. White!

EB White and his dog Minnie.png
Author E. B. White
Photo from Wikipedia

 My Writers Chatroom friend, Flo Stanton, in her newsletter this week recognizes E. B. White's birth day on July 11, 1899. The announcement caught my attention because one of my favorite books is Charlotte's Web. I was in the eighth grade when our teacher, Mrs. Beyer, read us the story. Usually after third or fourth grade, teachers don't read  a story to the class, but Mrs. Beyer believed whatever the age, we like to be read to. (Notice the popularity of audio books and pod casts nowadays!) 

Our class looked forward to hearing the story after lunch. I wonder what eighth graders would think of it now. I imagine they would love to hear the story about Charlotte, the word writing spider, who lived on the Zuckerman farm and was best friends with Wilbur, the pig. Amazon continues--"E. B. White's Newberry Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come." 

If you haven't read this story, no matter what your age, treat yourself to a delightful story perfect for a summer read. You'll understand why it is so special for so many generations of readers. White is also famous for another children's story, Stuart Little. He wrote books for adults, contributed articles to the New Yorker,  and co-authored the writer's resource book, The Elements of Style. 

In case you're wondering, E. B. are his initials for Elwyn Brooks White. According to, he hated the name Elwyn, but "while attending Cornell University, White acquired the nickname 'Andy,' which he was known by for the rest of his life." 
Here's some of E.B.'s tongue-in-cheek advice:
Be obscure clearly.
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
Writing is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.
One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.
The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.

Have you read Charlotte's Web or any of E.B. White's writings? What's  your favorite children's book?
I'd love to hear from you .Thank you.


Juneta key said...

That was the first novel was allowed to read in school when I was learning to read in school. You could only read books in your grade level then. (I say it that way because I could read before I started kindergarten and had to relearn to read using phonics.

Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Tess Grant said...

It doesn't matter how many times I read it, see the play or the movies, I'm still a basket case at the end.

J.Q. Rose said...

Juneta--you've had the gift of reading for a long time. I'd say that was a great book to get started with in school.

J.Q. Rose said...

Tess--Exactly! Even when I know the ending, it is still very emotional. Great writing.

Nan P said...

I never read it as a kid (not surprising, actually, as reading was not a favorite leisure activity -- I always wanted to be playing outside), so it's on my catch-up list. I do have The Elements of Style and Writings from the New Yorker on my bookshelf, though.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Nan--My copy of Elements of Style is getting pretty worn out. I haven't read the New Yorker writings. Maybe I can borrow it some time? Thanks for stopping in today.

emaginette said...

Some classics never die and I believe that Charlotte and the gang would be welcome in any classroom. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

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