My mother read to us all the time when we were kids. She was an elementary school teacher and we were her ultimate classroom. That’s the rosy version. She was also known to say, “As long as I was reading to you girls, you were less likely to be fighting.” What? Us fight?

Whatever the reason, we were exposed to great books in our childhood. Recently Mom finished reading Charlotte’s Web out loud to one of her friends who had never heard it. It doesn’t matter if you are a child or an adult, this is a book everyone should have read out loud to them. I know you’re nodding your head, so I’ll move on, lest we get stuck high-fiving ourselves over how much we love Wilbur and Charlotte and don’t get to the point of this post.


The point is this: In a day and age where we moan over how disconnected we are, we moan because we know the importance friendship. We know how much we need each other. We know it, but we can also use reminders and teachers. Here is what I learned from a pig and a spider:

1. We all need friends.

Wilbur didn’t want food, he wanted love. He wanted a friend—someone who would play with him.

2. Friendship is a gamble.

“Well,” he thought, “I’ve got a new friend, all right. But what a gamble friendship is! Charlotte is fierce, brutal, scheming, bloodthirsty—everything I don’t like. How can I learn to like her, even though she is pretty and, of course, clever?”

3. Believe your friend when they tell you you are terrific. They really mean it.

Wilbur blushed. “But I’m not terrific, Charlotte. I’m just about average for a pig.”

“You’re terrific as far as I’m concerned,” replied Charlotte, sweetly, “and that’s what counts. You’re my best friend, and I think you’re sensational. Now stop arguing and go get some sleep!”

4. By helping our friends, we help ourselves.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

5. Friendships have secret signals. 


6. Sometimes we can’t be with our friends.

But as he was being shoved into the crate, he looked up at Charlotte and gave her a wink. She knew he was saying good-bye in the only way he could. And she knew her children were safe.

7. Even when we aren’t with our friends, we still feel their presence. 

Every day Wilbur would stand and look at the torn, empty web, and a lump would come to his throat. No one had ever had such a friend—so affectionate, so loyal, and so skillful.

8. To have a true friend is not to be taken for granted.

Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.

9. In the end, even with death and tears (anyone else sob in this book?), friendship is worth it. Thank you Charlotte and Wilbur.

Do you love this book?! What other books inspire you when it comes to friendship? (Billy, Old Dan, and Little Ann, anyone? Anyone?)


Linking with Velvet Ashes weekly theme #Friendship.

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Leave A Comment

  1. Bev Howard March 10, 2016 at 7:18 am - Reply

    Hi Amy, happy spring! I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your “story” today. I think I may go out and buy this book for my two adult daughters for Easter.
    Best wishes to you and yours,


    • Avatar photo
      Amy March 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Oh do! That would be terrific (wink!). :)

  2. Elizabeth Trotter March 10, 2016 at 7:27 am - Reply

    “As long as I was reading to you girls, you were less likely to be fighting.” LOL! I never thought of it in quite that way before, but that is EXACTLY right!! Reading aloud just gives kids such a rich imagination and ability to be caught up in a great story, and to find truth in fiction. I love that your mom read aloud to you :)

  3. Tammy Dameron March 10, 2016 at 9:10 am - Reply

    YES and AMEN! The treasure of friendship and the treasure of being read out loud to…for ALL people of ALL ages! Beautifully written Amy!

  4. Jody Collins March 10, 2016 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Old Dan and Little Ann…oh my gosh. I read “Where the Red Fern Grows” to a bunch of middle schoolers when I taught a summer session a few years back. I was a puddly mess when I finished. They were pretty moved, too, but of course they didn’t cry.

    I love your parallels!

  5. Spring March 10, 2016 at 9:19 pm - Reply

    Oh Amy you really hit my heart today. Perhaps it is because I am missing my parents who read to me growing up. Or it is just my love of this book. I don’t know. Either way thanks for sharing about Charlotte’s Web and friendship! What a great reminder about what it really means to be a friend.

    I have been rereading The Fellowship of the Rings (My dad read it to me twice while I was growing up) and Frodo and Sam’s relationship to me really shows what being a friend is like. Of course there are many others but this is probably my favorite.

    • Elizabeth Trotter March 10, 2016 at 11:14 pm - Reply

      Oh I LOVE Sam and Frodo’s relationship! Totally agree! In fact I think I might even like Sam better than Frodo, for his faithfulness to Frodo in hard places.

  6. Kimberlee Conway Ireton March 10, 2016 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Anne and Diana. Betsy, Tacy, and Tib. Frodo and Sam. Merry and Pippin. Jill and Eustace. Jane and Elizabeth. Noah, Nadia, Ethan, and Julian. Nancy and Peggy, and John, Susan, Titty, and Roger. The Penderwick sisters and Jeffrey. I think I have more fictional friends than I have real ones! And I have shared them all with my children….because when you love someone, you want everyone you love to love them, too!

  7. Kipp Moyer March 11, 2016 at 3:11 am - Reply

    I love this post! The book that rocked my world most recently in the area of friendship like Wilbur and Charlotte is The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It’s a must read. Learn the story of Ivan, Stella, and Ruby there’s much to be learned from them too!

  8. Kimberly Todd March 11, 2016 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Beautiful, Amy. Some read-alouds need to be read aloud again. Time to snatch that one off the shelf, and Where the Red Fern Grows, too. ;-)

  9. Michele Womble March 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

    sobbing in this book? Amy, I was crying in the middle of your POST. :-)

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