Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Banned Books Week Continues with... Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a Banned Book!

A beloved children's story, about a little girl Fern, who lives on a farm and falls in love with a runt. And how that runt grows up to be a bashful pig named Wilbur befriended by a spider named Charlotte. A story about friendship & sacrifice, and the cycles of life. A story I loved as a child and last year celebrated it's 60th anniversary!

Charlotte's Web has sold more than 45 million copies and has been translated into 23 languages. And in 2006, was challenged because some parents in Kansas thought that talking animals were blasphemous and unnatural. Challenged also because the passages about the spider dying were "inappropriate subject matter for a children's book." (I still cried when I reread that this week!)

A wonderful writer of children's books including Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, E.B. White lived on a farm, where the inspiration came for Charlotte's Web. Here is what he had to say about writing the book...

"As for Charlotte's Web, I like animals and my barn is a very pleasant place to be, at all hours. One day when I was on my way to feed the pig, I began feeling sorry for the pig because, like most pigs, he was doomed to die. This made me sad. So I started thinking of ways to save a pig's life. I had been watching a big grey spider at her work and was impressed by how clever she was at weaving. Gradually I worked the spider into the story that you know, a story of friendship and salvation on a farm. Three years after I started writing it, it was published."

Amazing that in the 21st century, Charlotte's Web would be a target for censorship. What do you think?

2 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

I clicked over from my reader because I was so surprised that a book like Charlotte's Web had been banned somewhere.

But it really goes to show that any book can be banned these days, removing both the stigma and the prestige from this distinction. I think that for most people who have access to the Internet, banning is completely meaningless.

Brian Gabbard said...

Hi, I can't for the life of me substantiate that this book was actually banned/challenged, though the same quote keeps coming up. Could you tell me your source, so I can track it down?

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