History’s Most Subversive Horse: “How ‘Black Beauty’ Changed The Way We See Horses,” by Michele Norris, via NPR
✅ Best Nonfiction Horse Book Black Beauty Sharon Lerner
Gorgeous version of Black Beauty! – Sharon Lerner and Susan Jeffers’ retelling of BLACK BEAUTY is magnificent. Nobody illustrates horses as masterfully as Jeffers. Every page is a work of art to be appreciated over and over for its detail, design, emotion, energy and sheer beauty. Lerner’s narrative, written from the horse’s point of view, is lyrical, clear and evocative of deep emotional content. This should be a standard in every child’s library.
In even the most politically charged atmosphere, it is not violence or hatred, but the kindness that is the most subversive agent of social change. Anna Sewell’s 1877 novel, Black Beauty, told the story of a 19th-century horse with such gentleness, compassion, and dignity that the book launched the first national movement in America championing kind treatment and care for animals.
NPR’s Backseat Book Club has made Black Beauty their November Book of the Month, and on NPR, Michele Norris interviews Jane Smiley, Pulitzer Prize winning equestrian author, about how one of the humblest of literature’s horses became one of its most subversive.
Check out the article, How ‘Black Beauty’ Changed The Way We See Horses, on NPR. If you’d like to revisit Black Beauty, try downloading it for free at Project Gutenberg. And if you’d like to introduce the new generation of horse-lovers to Black Beauty, leap into Sharon Lerner’s picture book adaptation, which is brought to life by Susan Jeffers’ inspiring and endearing illustrations!