Black Beauty author Anna Sewell was born in 1820.
Anna Sewell's novel about a horse named Black Beauty touched a responsive chord in readers of many ages when it was first published in 1877. It remains a classic novel, one that speaks to contemporary readers as well.
In Black Beauty, Anna Sewell tackled one of the contemporary issues of her time, the cruel treatment of horses, many of them abused by their owners. Her work made readers aware of the need for laws to protect animals from harsh and abusive treatment.
After exploring the cruelty to animals in Sewell's novel, extend the discussion to current events. Divide students into pairs or small groups and ask them to conduct some research into the use of animals in testing drugs, cosmetics, and other products. Be sure to have online as well as traditional print resources available. Student groups should compile and present the information for and against using animals to test various substances.
Penguin Group publishing offers this biography of Sewell. Students can read about her childhood, her love of horses, and her gift for writing.
This site provides a biography of both Anna Sewell and her mother. They were both writers of juvenile fiction.
Project Gutenberg makes available downloadable versions of Sewell's classic text.
The ASPSCA offers this informational website for children. Students can access information about adopted pets, alternatives to dissection, animal-safe science projects, and more.