E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web is the first ‘chapter book’ that I remember truly loving. It was the book that made me think of myself as a reader; that made me want to find another book and keep reading – right away.
I would read it to my granddaughters but am happy that our Grade 3 teacher does it as a novel study every year. (This year she is tying it in with a spider study for which I made a research page as well as providing books from our library and through inter-library loan.)
E.B. White took his responsibility as a writer seriously.
“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly. I handed them, against the advice of experts, a mouse-boy, and they accepted it without a quiver. In Charlotte’s Web, I gave them a literate spider, and they took that.”
E. B. White, The Art of the Essay No. 1, Paris Review interview by George Plimpton and Frank H. Crowther.
Maybe Not the Reason, But at Least the Inspiration For this Particular Sneeze
One of the 15 most read letters in 2013 posted on the Letters of Note and now published in Letters of Note: Coorespondance Deserving of a Wider Audience, complied by Shaun Usher is one written by E.B. White in September of 1952, a few weeks before it’s publication, to his editor responding to a request to explain why he wrote Charlotte’s Web.
Article and transcript: A Book is a Sneeze.