Thursday, April 3, 2014

What to Read Next if you love Anne of Green Gables

If your kids are anything like mine, when they find a book they like, their first question is: are there any more of these?  Lucky for Anne fans, there are seven more in the series, but if you finish those and still want more, here are some other books with a similar feel.

Emily of New Moon series by L. M. Montgomery
L. M. Montgomery was a very prolific author, so you might want to check out more of her books. My favorite series after Anne was the Emily of New Moon series. Like Anne, Emily is an orphan and is sent to live with her stern aunt on a farm. Emily is also an imaginative writer who loves words. But despite these similarities, she's quite different from Anne: more rebellious and spunky. These books deal with some darker elements than the Anne books: Emily's father's death, Emily's friend Teddy's abusive mother, so maybe they are better read at an older age. I read them in middle school. There are, sadly, only three books in this series, but Emily is definitely a character worth knowing.

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
This is a classic I missed reading as a child. I picked it up a few years ago to read as an adult and really enjoyed it. There are many similarities with Anne of Green Gables. It was published five years before Anne, so some people speculate that it inspired Anne. Rebecca comes from a large family on a farm. Her mother sends her to stay with her two aunts and the books follow her through her graduation from high school. While Wiggin does not do character development as well as L. M. Montgomery, I do love how Rebecca adapts to her new environment and brings beauty to the world around her.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
A friend of mine recommended this book to me a few years ago. We started reading it out loud on a car trip, and Brent and I liked it so much, we had to stay up and finish reading it even though all the kids had dozed off. Spoiled and overprotected Betsy must leave her home in the city with her aunt and stay with her country cousins in Vermont. While she's there, her cousins help her to learn how to do things for herself, and it transforms her life. Fisher was a big proponent of Montessori education, and this could be seen as a novelization of her educational theories, but since she's also a great writer, the book doesn't get bogged down in it. Of course, I grew up in the country and so that might make me a bit biased in my opinion of the Putney cousins. I think they're awesome.

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
Okay, so this list is turning into a catalog of classic books I missed as a child, but would have loved. How did I not hear about Betsy-Tacy? I have no idea, but if your kids love old-fashioned stories of great friends who have various adventures around their neighborhood, these are the books for you. The books follow the lives of best friends Betsy and Tacy (and later Tib) all the way through high school and beyond. We read these aloud and the girls loved the first four books. They lost interest a bit when they entered high school, but I'm sure they will pick them up again when they are older and enjoy the whole series.

Is there a children's book you or your child has loved, and you would like to know what to read next? I hope to do more book lists like these, so leave a comment, and I will do my best to help you out!

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