Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Story of a Barn

On the sixtieth anniversary of its publication, Michael Sims talks with NPR about Charlotte’s Web

November 9, 2012 Crossville, Tennessee, native and author of such books as Adam’s Navel and Apollo’s Fire Michael Sims celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of the publication of E.B. White’s children’s classic Charlotte’s Web by sitting down with NPR to discuss White’s devotion to his beloved characters.

Sims’s own book The Story of Charlotte’s Web explores the events in White’s life that led to the writing of this children’s classic. White found inspiration partly from the barn animals on his Maine farm, and Sims underscores the personal nature of White’s connection to these characters by describing a poignant detail of the audio recording of Charlotte’s Web: As White read his work aloud, Sims says in the interview, he repeatedly “broke down when he got to Charlotte’s death. And he would do it, and it would mess up. … He took seventeen takes to get through Charlotte’s death without his voice cracking or beginning to cry.”

Click here to read an essay Michael Sims wrote for Chapter 16’s about his connection to another children’s author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, here to read Chapter 16’s review of The Story of Charlotte’s Web, and here to read Chapter 16’s Q&A with Sims.