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Helen Bannerman (1862-1946) - Writer

She was born on 25th February 1862 in Edinburgh, the daughter of a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. Part of her childhood was spent in Madeira and she was educated privately in Edinburgh. In 1887 she was awarded an external degree from the University of St Andrews. Following her marriage to Dr Will Bannerman in 1889, Helen lived in India until 1918, and it was from there that she began writing the illustrated letters to her children that culminated in the publication in 1899 of The Story of Little Black Sambo, the story of a black boy and his adventures with the tigers. The loss of her copyright allowed the book and its illustrations to be pirated in other countries, with the result that the book assumed racist overtones that were not in the original edition. Helen Bannerman wrote nine further illustrated books for children on similar themes. She died on 13th October 1946 in Edinburgh.

Works: The Story of Little Black Sambo (1899); The Story of Little Black Mingo (1901); The Story of Little Black Quibba (1902); The Story of Little Degchiehead (1903); Pat and the Spider (1904); The Story of the Teasing Monkey (1906); The Story of Little Black Quasha (1908); The Story of Little Black Bobtail (1909); The Story of Sambo and the Twins (1936); The Story of Little White Squibba (1966).

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