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Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White

Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White

5.0 2
by Melissa Sweet

A New York Times Bestseller
A People Magazine Best Children’s Book
A Washington Post Best Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book

Caldecott Honor winner  Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell the story of this American literary icon. Readers young and old


A New York Times Bestseller
A People Magazine Best Children’s Book
A Washington Post Best Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book

Caldecott Honor winner  Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell the story of this American literary icon. Readers young and old will be fascinated and inspired by the journalist, New Yorker contributor, and children’s book author who loved words his whole life. This authorized tribute, a New York Times bestseller, includes an afterword by Martha White, his granddaughter. 

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Adam Gopnik
An illustrated book for children about a writer who wrote children's books with illustrations seems an oddly special and self-enclosed genre, but Some Writer!, Melissa Sweet's book about the life and work of E.B. White, is still a pretty good one…The bulk and heart of Sweet's book…is spent telling how White's two best children's tales, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little, along with the third, only slightly less good one, The Trumpet of the Swan, came into being…Even those who think they know the books well will learn a lot, and enjoy them more, for reading Sweet.
Publishers Weekly
★ 07/18/2016
In an illustrated biography that invites slow perusing, two-time Caldecott Honor–recipient Sweet (The Right Word) unspools the life of author E.B. White (1899–1985) in meticulously crafted, scrapbook-style pages. Her carefully assembled, whimsical collages feature watercolor illustrations, homemade paper, wood scraps, and maps merged with cartoons, family photographs, handwritten rough drafts, and other archival material. Over 13 chapters, Sweet recounts White’s near-idyllic childhood in New York state, his postcollege wanderlust, a writing career with the New Yorker and Harper’s magazine, and the acclaimed children’s books he created amid marriage and fatherhood. Aimed at elementary-school-age readers, this fond tribute will be best appreciated by those with some context for White’s classics, e.g., the title’s reference to Charlotte’s Web, though familiarity with his work isn’t required: Sweet gorgeously melds story and art to create a detailed portrait of White as an observant, humble, brilliant wordsmith with an affinity for nature. An author’s note, an afterword by White’s granddaughter, source notes, a selected bibliography, and a chronological list of his books conclude an excellent guide to the life of a celebrated writer. Ages 7–10. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Amazon Overall Top 20 Children’s Books of 2016
Amazon the Overall Pick for Best Book of 2016 in Nonfiction for Young Readers
Booklist Editors' Choice 2016
Book Links’ Lasting Connections 2016
Book Page Best of 2016
Bulletin  Blue Ribbon 2016
Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books of 2016
Horn Book Fanfare
Kirkus Best of 2016
Nerdy Book Club Nerdies 2016 Longform Nonfiction
New York Times Bestseller
People Best Children’s Books of 2016
Publishers Weekly Best of 2016
Raleigh News & Observer Best of 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2016
School Library Journal Best of 2016
Shelf Awareness Best Books of the Year
Nonfiction Detectives: Best of 2016
Washington Post Best of 2016

★  "E. B. White is such a fixture in the children’s literature landscape that it’s hard to think of him as a regular person. Fortunately, Melissa Sweet comes to the rescue in this individual, creative, and thoroughly artistic chronicle of the noted writer’s life." —Bulletin, starred review

★  "An excellent guide to the life of a celebrated writer." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★  "Like Charlotte, Sweet spins a terrific story. A masterful biography." —Kirkus, starred review

"Melissa Sweet's beguiling biography of the author of Charlotte's Web deserves to be savored by anyone who has ever loved White's words."
—Columbus Dispatch

"An E. B. White biography like no other." —BookPage

"Whether the name E. B. White is a new discovery or a much-loved author, Some Writer! will captivate readers of all ages."
—Christian Science Monitor

★  "Drop everything and share widely." —School Library Journal, starred review

★  "Sweet raises her collage skills to new heights while bringing her love and admiration for fellow Mainer E. B. White to the page for everyone to appreciate. Just as her astounding collages blend materials that might have been found in a barn in Maine, the text carefully blends her words with those of the beloved writer of children’s books... Sweet has written and drawn a fast-moving, thorough, deeply researched, and accessible biography." —Horn Book, starred review

★  " This beautiful piece of bookmaking with enchanting artwork will easily draw in young readers, and the warm account of the adored author will keep them turning pages." —Booklist, starred review

"What elevates this book to the stratosphere is the art. Practically glowing, it turns a very fine biography into something original, creative, and marvelous." —NerdyBookClub.com
Children's Literature - Emily Griffin
Elwyn Brooks White (1899-1985) strove to live by the motto of Henry David Thoreau: “simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.” This motivation is captured perfectly by Melissa Sweet in this stunning illustrated biography. White is introduced to readers with stories from his youth. Photographs, journal entries, letters, and excerpts from his extensive published works are interspersed through the text, collages, and drawings by Sweet. Memorable life events as well as ordinary times vividly paint a full portrait of White. In 1925 he began writing for The New Yorker, where he met editor Katharine Sergeant, whom he later married. Sweet captures the energy and passion of this period in White’s life—writing and living in the city. Sweet continuously ties in White’s love of nature and animals and its influence on his writing, particularly his books for children. Later chapters focus on the farm he bought in Maine and how he came to write his famous stories. Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swans are each given detailed attention. Quotes from White and his colleagues show peeks into the process of his books and his relationship with success. White was able to live a full life into his eighties. The final chapter focuses on his legacy. Again, Sweet weaves quotes into the narrative, leaving the reader with sense of how strongly White’s life and work was cherished. A family tree and table of contents set the tone for this excellent work of nonfiction. Back matter includes an author’s note, about the art section, afterword by Martha White, timeline, notes, bibliography, and an extensive index. Overall, the linear, clear narrative, is highly readable and will be easily devoured. It provides young readers excellent opportunities to use their dictionaries—Sweet, like White, never talks down to children. Sweet has painted an intimate portrait of a beloved writer; this is a must buy. Reviewer: Emily Griffin; Ages 7 to 12.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—In this spirited and splendidly illustrated biography, Sweet brings the beloved author to life for a new generation of readers, capturing his love of words, bighearted sensibilities, and reverence for the natural world. In addition to containing the artist's colorful assemblages, the book is full of photos, letters, realia, and excerpts from E.B. White's most famous works, making it a treasure trove for Charlotte's Web fans and aspiring writers everywhere.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-06-28
A celebration of the life and work of New Yorker writer and children’s-book author E.B. White. Sweet offers an affectionate tribute to White in a sumptuous volume, focusing especially on his three children’s classics: Stuart Little (1945), Charlotte’s Web (1952), and The Trumpet of the Swan (1970). The whole volume works like a signature Sweet illustration, an inventive and quirky juxtaposition of parts, combining lucid text, gorgeous and intricate watercolor-and-collage illustrations, photographs, excerpts of White’s writings, and ephemera that evoke farm and barn life. Chapters on the children’s books offer fascinating glimpses into the origins of the tales. Not so easy is making William Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style interesting to young readers, but Sweet succeeds brilliantly by employing children’s-book authors Joyce Sidman, Paul Fleischman, and Kate DiCamillo to relate how the guide influenced their own work. This chapter, along with the reproductions of drafts for the opening of Charlotte’s Web and excerpts of White’s own letters and essays woven throughout the text, makes Sweet’s own volume a gem of a guide to writing. Children reading any of White’s books would do well to read Sweet alongside. Like Charlotte, Sweet spins a terrific story. A masterful biography that will enchant young readers. (author’s note, afterword, timeline, source notes, bibliography, about the art) (Biography. 7-12)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.70(d)
1030L (what's this?)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Melissa Sweet is the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of many fine children’s books including Balloons Over Broadway, a Sibert winner, and The Right Word and A River of Words, both Caldecott Honors. Reviewers have described her unique mixed-media illustrations as “exuberant,” “outstanding,” and “a creative delight.” Melissa lives on the beautiful coast of Maine, not far from E.B. White's famous barn and farm. In addition to writing and painting, she enjoys gardening, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. For more information about the author and her work, visit www.melissasweet.net.

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Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ReaderWriterEducator 11 months ago
As soon as you open the cover and begin turning the pages, you know this book is special. It’s like unpacking a box of treasures from E. B. White’s attic. Interspersed with text are photos, maps, quotes, letters, journal pages, manuscript revisions, sketches, and even a diagram of a typewriter. Sweet’s illustrations blend seamlessly with the realia from White’s life. The meticulous details invite your eyes to linger over each page. Fans of White will be fascinated by the history behind his books – where his stories came from, how they developed, the revision process, and public response. Those who have not read his childhood classics will be inspired to do so…
19269684 More than 1 year ago
Everyone knows the story of Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little! The names are synonymous with childhood. But do you know the author of those wonderful tales? Do you know where he came from and if he did anything else? Well, this book can shed a lot of light on those answers. Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White is a combination of graphic novel and biography on a man; weaving a tapestry of personal letters, photos and artwork that will make you proud to have this book on your shelf! Picture Written by Melissa Sweet, a journalist who's won the Sibert Medal and Caldecott Honors, Some Writer: The Story of E. B. White had me flowing easily through the pages. Filled with bold artwork, comments from White, himself and photos, you feel as though you're looking through a family photo album/comic book. It's a very personal and comfortable, but you find yourself laughing and pointing things out as though you're reading a children's book. Rating: 5out of 5 specs *The 52nd is next. **From Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. http://bit.ly/ATributetoEBWhite