Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned Books Week: Charlotte's Web

I hope you all know of Charlotte's Web. It's the classic and beloved children's book that has been made into classic animated film and read and re-read to children for generations. The book has won an assortment of awards since its first publication in 1952 and is a staple in children’s literature. Now, you ask, why is this book on the banned books week list? It's because talking animals are blasphemous of course!

Charlotte's Web has been ranked number 13 on the most banned and/or challenged classics list. Thirteenth place out of 100! 

I loved talking to animals as a child. I always believed they were trying to talk back to me and I just couldn't hear them. It was a part of my imagination and forming creativity. But sometimes, I could have sworn that I did hear them talking back. What's fantastic about this book is that it's something that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. The subject matter is cute and entertaining for children. For adults, who may have read the book when they were children as well, it can be nostalgic.

Everything “good” is in the book. Friendship, caring for one another, love, and compassion all make their presence known. When Wilbur, the pig, is up to be slaughtered on the farm, Charlotte, the spider who lives in Wilbur's stall, writes out "Some Pig" in her spider web. This causes great praise and the farmers to think twice about slaughtering poor Wilbur. She continues these declarations of how wonderful Wilbur is with various words created in her web.

Wilbur gains friends through the community of animals at the farm and soon is brought to the county fair where he wins a prize. Charlotte, unfortunately, does not make it home. Seeing that she is a spider, her life span has come to an end and she dies. Wilbur in turn takes Charlotte's eggs back to the farm where her children are born. Three remain behind (Joy, Nellie and Aranea) and are good friends with Wilbur.

The story describes losing someone you love in a poignant way and for some children this could be seen as one of their first introductions to the concept of death. But with death comes life and Charlotte's legacy lives on. Although Wilbur misses Charlotte, he still has a piece of her (in the form of her children) that lives on. The story can be comparable to human existence in many ways. Being born, growing up, facing hardships and having the opportunity to have people there to help you along the way, and eventually death. Losing those you love but going on, living on, and embracing the new life brought to you is key. It's a great story and always something to have on your bookshelf. To think that the caring and nurturing animals in this book could be banned because they are 'blasphemous' as talking creatures is simply silly. If only more people in the world had the same level of compassion as Charlotte had.


  1. i think i've seen a film about a writing spider, don't remember the title

  2. I simply adored this movie, this book, and your new header! 8)

  3. I remember crying when Charlotte died, even though I read the book about 42 years ago!

  4. I had no idea that Charlotte's Web had been banned. Absolutely floors me! Wow....


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