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Black Beauty

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Category: Chapter Books, Jr./Sr. High Non-Fiction

By Anna Sewell, 1877

The original title page for this classic novel read: “Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse, translated from the original equine, by Anna Sewell.”  Black Beauty is considered the first novel in the genre of animal autobiography.  The style of presenting an animal as an animal rather than giving it human traits has been followed by similar stories such as Beautiful Joe and The Incredible Journey. Sewell’s novel has been an influence on animal stories of all kinds, including those of popular modern writers such as Beatrix Potter and Kenneth Grahame. The book resulted in legislation protecting horses and a changed public attitude about animal pain and the traditional and fashionable practices that caused suffering for horses.