Book Series To Open With "Charlotte's Web" Discussion

By Nici KrehbielKSU News Service

The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University is opening its special three-part children’s literature reading and discussion series with E.B. White’s classic book, "Charlotte’s Web." Scholar Ann Birney will lead the book discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at the museum.

The book series is part of the Talk About Literature in Kansas — or TALK — program and is co-sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council, a nonprofit cultural organization. The series is in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition, "Beyond Oz: Children’s Book Illustrations from the Region."

Birney joined the Talk About Literature in Kansas program as a discussion leader in 1994. An independent scholar and partner in Ride into History, a historic performance touring troupe, she received a doctorate in American studies from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in library science from the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University. Birney has worked at K-State and the Joslyn Art Museum while in the library field.

"Charlotte’s Web" is about the power of friendship, the wonders of nature and the importance of being oneself. The book, a favorite in children’s libraries since it was published in the 1950s, is the gentle story of Wilbur the pig and his loyal friend Charlotte the spider. The story unfolds amidst a barnyard, the changing seasons and the process of growing up.

Other books to be discussed during the series will be "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 3, with Michaeline Chance-Reay; and "A Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, with Caryn Goldberg.

Copies of the books being featured in the series are available at the museum. For more information about the series and to enroll, contact Kathrine Walker Schlageck at 785-532-7718 or

The Beach Museum of Art’s exhibition, "Beyond Oz: Children’s Book Illustrations from the Region," is available through Dec. 15. Admission to the museum, on the southeast corner of the K-State campus at 701 Beach Lane, is free and complimentary visitor parking is available adjacent to the facility.