Black Beauty


Black Beauty is the story of a horse, narrated in the first person by the horse itself. It was written by the English author Anna Sewell and is one of the best-selling books of all time.

Black Beauty starts out life on a farm with his mother. He later becomes a working horse, pulling cabs in London. During its life, Black Beauty experiences both cruelty and kindness from the people he encounters.

When the book was first published, animal rights activists would give copies of the novel to horse drivers and people in stables. The book’s descriptions of the way horses were treated at the time caused so much outrage amongst people that it led to the introduction of laws to stop cruelty to animals in both England and the United States of America.


You can buy this story as a graded reader book (with an audio CD). It is suitable for B2 (Upper-Intermediate) level students of English (the book comes with an audio CD so you can listen to the story as you read along). Get this book here.


narrate, verb, to tell a story by describing all the events
first person, noun, a way of telling a story in which the writer tells it as though they were involved in the story, using the the pronoun ‘I’
cab, noun [C], a carriage pulled by horses that was used like a taxi in the past
cruelty, noun [U,C], behaviour or actions that deliberately cause pain to people or animals
kindness, noun [C], kind behaviour towards someone
encounter, verb, to experience something, especially problems or opposition
activist, noun [C], someone who works hard doing practical things to achieve social or political change
stable, noun [C], a building where horses are kept
outrage, noun [U], a feeling of great anger and shock

Picture: Tim Green via Flickr, CC-BY-SA 2.0