Elwyn Brooks “E. B.” White (July 11, 1899 – October 1, 1985) was an American writer. He was a contributor to The New Yorker magazine and a co-author of the English language style guide The Elements of Style, which is commonly known as “Strunk & White.”
He also wrote books for children, including , and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). Charlotte’s Web was voted the top children’s novel in a 2012 survey of School Library Journal readers, an accomplishment repeated from earlier surveys.
White received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the U.S. professional children’s librarians in 1970, recognizing his “substantial and lasting contributions to children’s literature.” At the time it was awarded every five years.
Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952)That year he was also the U.S. nominee and a highly commended runner-up for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, as he was again in 1976.
Also in 1970, White’s third children’s novel was published, The Trumpet of the Swan. In 1973 it won the Sequoya Award from Oklahoma and the William Allen White Award from Kansas, both selected by students voting for their favorite book of the year.
In 2012, School Library Journal sponsored a survey of readers which identified Charlotte’s Web as top children’s novel (“fictional title for readers 9–12” years old). The librarian who conducted it observed that “it is impossible to conduct a poll of this sort and expect [the novel] to be anywhere but #1.
White died on October 1, 1985, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, at his farm home in North Brooklin, Maine. He is buried in the Brooklin Cemetery beside his wife Katharine, who died in 1977.
Words of Wisdom
Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one.