ANNA MARY SEWELL (1789-1884) was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England to Isaac Phillip Sewell
and Mary Wright Sewell. Educated at home until age twelve, Sewell attended school for the first time after her family moved to Stoke Newington. At fourteen, she slipped while walking home from school and severely injured both of her ankles. Most likely due to inappropriate treatment of her injuries, Sewell remained disabled for the rest of her life and could not walk or stand without a crutch. Her need for horse-drawn carriages and her constant close proximity to horses lead to her increased awareness and concern for their humane treatment. Sewell wrote BLACK BEAUTY, her only published work, from 1871 to 1877 amid declining health. Her goal was to encourage the kind treatment of horses, though the work has remained popular as a children's classic. Sewell died on April 25, 1878, five months after BLACK BEAUTY's publication.
JANE SMILEY (foreword) is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A THOUSAND ACRES and more than ten
other works of fiction, as well as three works of nonfiction, including a critically acclaimed biography of Charles Dickens. In 2001 she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in northern California.
JILLIAN TAMAKI is an illustrator and comics artist. She grew up on the Canadian Prairies and currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been published in THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW YORKER and NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, among others. She has two books of personal work, and a graphic novel that she made with her cousin Mariko Tamaki.