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Helen Bannerman

Helen Bannerman

Helen Bannerman (1862-1946) was born Brodie Cowan Watson in Edinburgh, Scotland. Having spent much of her childhood in Madeira, Bannerman was privately educated and awarded an external degree from St. Andrews University in 1887. In 1889, she married Will Bannerman, a doctor in the Indian Medical Service. She then lived in India until 1918. It was while in India raising her family that Bannerman took up the writing of childen's stories, of which Little Black Sambo was her first (and most famous). Written mainly to entertain her own children, her bright, unrefined illustrations, suspenseful narrative, and rhythmic, repetitive sentences, unique at the time, made her stories popular with children worldwide. Although Bannerman wrote many stories subsequent to Little Black Sambo, it is this work, still in print after over one hundred years, that has achieved a long-lasting popularity not matched by her other works. Bannerman died in Edinburgh on October 13, 1946.