Charlotte’s Web

I facilitate a book group for 9-11 year olds and this month we are reading Charlotte’s Web. It was my first “big girl” book when I was a child. So charmed by it, I do believe it set me on the path to becoming a lifelong reader. And it’s hard to be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s an important book for me on so many levels.

I’m reading it aloud to my kids and falling deeply in love with it all over again. I have not read it since I was about 11. I love how the book is not fearful of tackling difficult issues, specifically death. Wilbur the pig finds out the plan for him to be slaughtered, and Charlotte the barn spider tells him to stop wigging out. She “can’t stand hysterics.”

Charlotte isn’t all warm and fuzzy. She reminds me of some of the best people I know and have known. They aren’t prone to sentiment, there is a dryness to their humor, but they love me and have my back. They wouldn’t presume to know what my life is like, but they do unflinchingly know my heart. They show up.

The three of us cuddle up on the big chair to read. I love that my children are hearing Charlotte’s  words out of their mother’s mouth. I want her wisdom to seep into their bones. Everything we love, we will eventually lose. I want them to know that loving is worth it. I hope this book about a spider and a pig can in some way prepare them. So when they experience losses, and they will, they’ll know it’s a part of life. It is okay. All will be well.

I was inspired to pick Charlotte’s Web for this month’s read by this beautiful interview on NPR.

Thank you E.B. White. Your brilliance lives on in your stories.


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11 Responses to Charlotte’s Web

  1. Jamie says:

    I read this book when I was young until it literally fell apart!!! I love, love, love it!!! You make me want to pick it up again!!!

  2. *m* says:

    Charlotte is a family favorite and I enjoyed Sims’ book very much. Thanks for posting the link to this interview, which I missed.

  3. Amanda says:

    Never read it but feeling like I’ve missed out…

  4. Meg says:

    This has always been one of my favorite books. I think we don’t give children enough credit for what they can “handle”. They get it, they really do. BTW – the animated movie is terrific. Paul Lind as Templeton and Debbie Reynolds as Charlotte.

  5. Kathee says:

    I need to spend more time reading to my son. It seems like since he learned to read it is all about him reading to me. Not as much fun for him 🙁
    Thank you for the reminder.
    Michelle, I would love to read a post about how you organize your day/home life as a homeschooling mom. I am so curious as to how it all works. I have been thinking about it for a few years but just can’t wrap my head around what it would be like. Plus, I am so intimidated by the math and science!

  6. kario says:

    Charlotte’s Web, Where the Red Fern Grows, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Timeless classics as far as I’m concerned. I’ll read them all with my kids, too. What a treat for all of us!

  7. Dee Ready says:

    Reading aloud to our children is one of the best things we can do. In fact, when I was in high school, our homeroom teacher–Sister Mary Aquinas–read to us for a few minutes every day before the “school’s out” bell. That’s when I first met Winnie the Pooh.

    “Charlotte’s Web” is a favorite of mine as is “Little Men” by Louisa May Alcott. I found it much more interesting and exciting than “Little Women.” I think that’s because I was a tomboy and one of the main characters–I think her name is Nan–was a tomboy in “Little Men.”


  8. Michelle O'Neil says:

    Riley and I read Little Women when we first pulled her from school. It was perfect for maximum snuggling and decompressing. We’ve never read Little Men and will have to check it out.

  9. Tanya Savko says:

    Definitely a childhood fave for all in this family too!

  10. amber says:

    “Everything we love, we will eventually lose. I want them to know that loving is worth it.”–



  11. Carrie Link says:

    NECBM of people/spiders that show up.

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