Thanks for joining me for a book club discussion featuring BLACK BEAUTY, The Autobiography of a Horse by Anna Sewell. In the first book of my new series, RUBY STARR (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky), Ruby’s book club is reading Black Beauty’s story. Ruby is a big fan of classics, and so am I. BLACK BEAUTY was first published in 1877 and became one of the best-selling novels of all time. It was also the first book written from an animal’s point of view. BLACK BEAUTY is the story of one horse’s life as he moves from home to home. Some owners are kind to the horse and some are cruel. By showing us the world through Black Beauty’s eyes, Ms. Sewell encourages compassion for horses and animals of all kinds.
Here are some discussion questions to get you started:
- The first sentence of a book is the most important one because it takes readers into the time and place of the story. Where does the first sentence of BLACK BEAUTY take you? How would you write the first sentence of this book?
- How can you tell right away that this story is told through the eyes of a horse? What do you notice about the author’s writing style?
- How did you feel when Black Beauty leaves his mother to live with Squire Gordon? How do you think Black Beauty feels?
- Black Beauty’s friend Ginger has not had an easy life. How does learning about Ginger’s past help us to understand her character? Can you think of a similar character in another book you have read?
- The story describes all of Black Beauty’s different homes and owners. Which one of Black Beauty’s owners do you think he loves most? Why?
- Jerry takes very special care of his horse. What are some examples of kindnesses given to Black Beauty by Jerry?
- One of my favorite parts in the book is when Black Beauty carries John to get the Doctor for Mrs. Gordon. It shows Black Beauty’s courage and loyalty. What is your favorite part of the book? Why?
- Which of Black Beauty’s jobs do you think is the hardest for him? Which job do you think is the easiest?
- Did reading Black Beauty’s tale change the way you see horses? How?
- If you were to write a story from the perspective of an animal, what story would you write?
Thanks for sharing a book club discussion with me today!