Picture of author.

Helen Bannerman (1862–1946)

Author of Little Black Sambo

39+ Works 2,033 Members 68 Reviews

About the Author


Works by Helen Bannerman

Little Black Sambo (1899) 1,121 copies
The Story of Little Babaji (1996) — Author — 622 copies
Little Black Sambo (1959) 9 copies
Book Trails for Baby Feet (1946) 3 copies

Associated Works

The Gunniwolf and Other Merry Tales (1936) — Contributor — 5 copies
Aarteiden kirja. 2 : Kerro äiti! (1956) — Contributor — 4 copies
Little Black Sambo [1934 short film] (1935) — Original story — 1 copy


Common Knowledge



As a child, I loved this story. I admired the boy at the centre of the story. He had huge courage in the face of great danger. He was clever and outwitted his assailants. He was well loved by his mother and father. He was proud of his beautiful clothes and shoes. I wanted a pair of crimson soled shoes so much. Best of all he got to eat as many pancakes as he liked.

I wanted to be brave and clever, just like "Little Black Sambo".

When I became a parent, I wanted to share the joy of this story with my children but it had become difficult to procure. When I did find a copy, I spoke about the changes in language that reflected the changes in societal expectations. I was able to explain why the names of the characters are insulting and unacceptable by today's standards. The book became an historical teaching tool.

Sometimes in reading the story, I add my own embellishments. My children have loved it too.

I have read a few attempts to modernise the story but they do not capture the wonder of the character in the original work.

I still love this story and still read it to children of all ages.
… (more)
CeciliaClark | 40 other reviews | Sep 12, 2023 |
A nice retelling of Little Black S*mbo which has been adapted so as to not use racial slurs and racist depictions.

Fun fact, when I worked as an Amazon Prime/Whole Foods shopper our orders were assigned four or five character words which were generated by some Amazon algorithm. On at least two occasions the order ticket machine spat out "s*mbo" for an order name (which would be plastered on every grocery bag in that order.) A coworker reported it to WF management but of course they had no control over the device/word bank and I assume it's still spittin' out occasional slurs to this day. And this is why, yes, computers can be biased and racist and reflect whatever other social blind spots we allow to persist.… (more)
bmanglass | 1 other review | Aug 31, 2023 |
Well dodgy. It's not surprising people grew up to be racist readers of the Daily Mail if they had this read to them as a child.
pete_rowanbank | Jul 7, 2023 |
I always thought this was a wonderful book because it showed how smart the little boy was in the end
drmom62 | 40 other reviews | Apr 21, 2023 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs