To say that Lucy Maud Montgomery is the most famous female author in Canada is an understatement — she is an international phenomenon. She was born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island. After her mother’s death and father’s inability to cope, she was left with her grandparents. Life was very stern and unloving in her grandparents’ home, so Maud spent most of her time by herself inventing imaginary friends. This is where the seeds were sown for her ability to develop such depth in her storytelling later on. Despite a very difficult family life, she published 100 stories in 10 years. Her most famous novel, Anne of Green Gables, came out in 1908, with seven more “Anne” books to follow.
Back in my high school days, circa 1935, I found out about Lucy Maud Montgomery. Once I read Anne of Green Gables, I couldn’t wait to read the others. Her stories were so down-to-earth, something I could identify with, and as I got older I appreciated the stories even more. I read Anne of Green Gables to my 4th grade classes for 29 years, beginning in the 1950s. I was never bored by these re-readings as the writing is so good, and the students were encouraged to read more of the books to “find out what happens.” At book fairs, I made sure there were “Anne” paperbacks available, which the children were thrilled to buy and then follow along in class when I read to them.