Thursday, September 29, 2016

Read Kids Classics Challenge

I jumped on board for the 2016 Jump Into A Book ReadKidsClassics Challenge. 
Valerie Budayr, children's book author, publisher, co-founder of Multicultural Children's Book Day and creator of jumpintoabook site originated this brilliant idea to encourage all ages to read children's classics. So far I've enjoyed 
March "Little Prince"
April "Wind in the Willows"

After a summer break I'm back with one of my all time favorites "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Montgomery. 
"Anne of Green Gables" is a classic novel published nearly 105 years ago, and is one of the most refreshing children’s novels I have ever read. It is full of energy and vigor. Author Lucy Montgomery did not originally intend the book to be a children’s novel, but a novel aimed at all ages. It has been translated into numerous languages.

I chose "Anne of Green Gables" as my September classic pick because it was one of those treasured novels I'd read in 5th grade and you never forget the memorable Anne Shirley. She reminds me of another strong character Pippi Longstocking. Both young girls are enchanting heroines who have a flair for drama, are precocious and imaginative in their ways.

In the story Marilla and Matthew are two middle age siblings living on Prince Edward Island, Canada. They decide to adopt an orphan boy to help out on their farm Green Gables. But when Matthew goes to pick up the boy from the train station, he is shocked to find little red-headed Anne Shirley, and is instantly taken to her, charmed by her enthusiasm and talent for chattering. Matthew is painfully shy and a little eccentric. Although he is terrified of women, he instantly likes Anne and pressures Marilla to adopt her. Anne considers Matthew a kindred spirit and always turns to him when she wants a sympathetic ear.

Marilla is all angles and straight lines, with a stern face and tightly knotted hair. This physical severity mirrors her moral and emotional severity. Although Marilla does not usually express emotion, underneath she has a wry sense of humor and a loving heart. Although she raises Anne strictly, she loves her adopted daughter, and by the end of the novel she has become softer and more expressive.

Anne can melt even the coldest hearts and manages to endear herself to every quaint character she meets in Avonlea. Anne of Green Gables charms the hidden romantic out of all her acquaintances and especially her readers.

Anne’s enthusiasm for the world around her and her ability to over dramatize the simplest act of a confessing to reenacting the role of the Tennyson’s Lily Maid, endears her to readers. From smashing her slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head to winning the prestigious Avery Scholarship to pay for her college education, Anne Shirley’s coming of age story is brilliantly written to engage readers in a wide array of emotions.

Anne Shirley is one of my favorite heroines because she’s spunky, dramatic, a good friend, compassionate, and prone to all things romantic. Of course, the romantic subplot between Gilbert and Anne and her outright stubbornness to recognize her feelings for him creates a delicious tension for readers. The relationship between the two enemies/friends/rivals is as compelling as it is frustrating. Truly, how long can a girl hold a grudge? While Anne grapples with her confused feelings towards Gilbert, readers sympathize with him while waiting to see what it will take for Anne to reconfigure her romantic notions when it comes to boys.

Montgomery’s delightful writing style introduces young readers to poetical phrases and lush description of landscape that is made light by the comical escapades of a charming heroine. Adults are sometimes threatened by Anne’s extensive vocabulary, but she doesn’t dumb herself down for anybody.

Anne of Green Gables is also surprisingly progressive. I was thrilled to read the characters talk of how brilliant it would be if women could vote, and it’s the women who travel miles to the next town to watch a political tour. Out of context, some passages will seem old fashioned such as Anne saying she’d ‘rather be pretty than clever’, but the irony is that she’s one of the smartest children at her school. I think this is more of a set up so we can see how much Anne changes over time, especially as Marilla is always encouraging her to care more about being intelligent than her looks and what she wears.

This classic coming of age story is wholesome, sweet, and a book I highly recommend for ages 10 and older.

Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery, born November 30, 1874 in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada, lived a life similar to her beloved Anne character. Raised by her maternal grandparents, Montgomery spent much of her early life writing poetry and "frittering away" her days exploring nature. Excelling in her school studies, she graduated with honors from Prince of Wales College and began a career in teaching.

"Anne of Green Gables,"Montgomery’s first novel, was published in 1908. The novel created an instant sensation among readers and firmly established Montgomery as a successful writer. In 1911 she married the Reverend Ewan McDonald and over the course of four years gave birth to three sons. Friends of Montgomery knew her to be sensitive, intelligent, passionate, and devoted to her family and to her writing. During her lifetime Montgomery completed twenty novels and kept meticulous personal journals. In addition, she wrote poetry, essays, short story collections, letters, and an autobiography. She died April 24, 1942 and was buried in a cemetery close to her childhood home on Prince Edward Island (Source: L.M. Montgomery Institute)

This is the home where Lucy penned her novel "Anne of Green Gables."
After the success of Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery wrote seven more novels following the life of Anne Shirley as a young woman through marriage and having a family of her own.

This is Anne's home close in proximity to Lucy Montgomery's home. It is the home described in the book and it actually belonged to Montgomery's cousin Robert.
Follow this link for some great resources to be used in conjunction with the reading of the book.

quote on title page
“The good stars met in your horoscope,
Made you of spirit and fire and dew.”
by Robert Browning


  1. Thank you SO MUCH for continuing with Read Kids Classics, Sue! LOVE your book choice!

  2. You are encouraging me to read Anne of Green Gables. I really need to read the children's classics. I had limited access to books while growing up.

    1. yes you will love it and I plan to read the next book in the series