Helen Bannerman (1862-1946) was the Scottish author of a number of children's books, the most notable being Little Black Sambo. She was born in Edinburgh and, because women were not admitted as students into British Universities, she sat external examinations set by the University of St. Andrews and attained the qualification of LLA. She lived a good proportion of her life in India where her husband William Bannerman was an officer in the Indian Medical Service, including 32 years in Madras.
The Story of Little Black Mingoby Helen Bannerman
The heroes of many of her books are recognizably south Indian or Tamil children from the illustrations and use of words. For instance, Little Black Sambo has Ghee, Tigers, and Bazaar, Little Black Mingo has Jungle, Mugger, Dhobi, and Mongoose, Little Black Quasha has Bazaar, and Tigers, and Little Black Quibba has Mangoes and Elephants. The books have nothing to do with Africa or African people, and the plots celebrate the intelligence and ingenuity of the children.
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