SARAH SMITH (1832-1911) was born in Wellington, England. She had the good fortune of being able to read books from her father's bookshop. Her mother was a strong evangelical, but died when Sarah was young. When she began writing, Hesba Stretton was her pen name, Stretton coming from the name of a neighboring village, and Hesba coming from the initials of her siblings. She wrote Jessica's First Prayer in 1867, which became one of her most beloved stories. It sold very well and was translated into many languages. Other best sellers were Little Meg's Children and Alone in London. She was familiar with the troubles of street children whom she visited and helped. She wrote over 60 books and stories.