Some Writer! The Story of E. B. White by Melissa Sweet. Afterword by Martha White. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016
Elwyn Brooks (E. B.) White, known to family and friends from early adulthood on as Andy, was shy and often anxious throughout his life. But with a pen in his hand, or a typewriter in front of him, he was entertaining and eloquent. Readers who know him as the author of Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan will relish the stories here about those books. They will also love discovering White the young adventurer, White the amateur naturalist and avid outdoorsperson, White the urbane journalist, White the opinionated commentator and essayist and defender of democracy, White the humorist, White the family man, White the farmer, White the literary stylist and master of clarity, and much more. Author/illustrator Melissa Sweet brilliantly distills these qualities into an appealing, accessible portrait of White in a book that blends original watercolors, photographs, and collage with a clear (White would approve!) and engaging substantial narrative that integrates many quotes from White’s professional and personal writing. The gorgeous book design offers a sense of effortless interplay between the visual elements and text. A timeline, ample citations and source material, an author’s note and an afterword from writer Martha White about her grandfather and this book all add to a work that will bring delight to, and shows such respect for, young readers. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:
- What makes the style of this biography unique?
- How do the illustrations and text work together or separately to tell the reader about E.B. White, his life, and his writing?
- What kind of child was E.B. White? What were some of his experiences, interests and/or fears?
- What do you notice about his writing and revision process (pages 87 to 91)? How did this influence his writing as an adult?