Meet the Author
E. (Elwyn) B. (Brooks) White was born in 1899 in Mount Vernon, New York. Before he became a famous children's book author, he was a newspaper reporter, an advertising writer, and a famous essayist for The New Yorker and Harper's magazines.
When he was 56 years old and already a grandfather, he wrote his first children's book, Stuart Little, about a little mouse born into a family of people. The book was very popular with kids and grown-ups alike.
Two years later, he wrote an essay called "The Death of a Pig," in which he told the true story of trying to save the life of a sick pig on his farm. As hard as he tried, he could not save the pig, and when the pig died, he was sad. In that essay, he writes: "The scheme of buying a pig in blossomtime, feeding it through summer and fall, and butchering it when the solid cold weather arrives, is a familiar scene to me and follows an antique pattern. It is a tragedy enacted on most farms with perfect fidelity to the original script. The murder, being premeditated, is in the first degree, but is quick and skillful, and the smoked bacon and ham provide a ceremonial ending whose fitness is rarely questioned."
His experience with pigs on his own farm probably gave him the idea for his next book, Charlotte's Web, which was published in 1952. Notice how the story of Charlotte's Web is about what happens when the "tragedy" of killing a pig for its meat is questioned by Wilbur and his friend Charlotte. In 1970, he published his third and final children's book, The Trumpet of the Swan. He died in 1985 at his house in Maine.
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