In my previous post, I highlighted two of my childhood favorite book series, Little House on the Prairie and Little Britches. In this post, I want to specifically focus on several series directed more specifically to girls, which I have enjoyed many times and which have been formative not only in my enjoyment of reading but in my writing as well.
The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace – Similar to the Little House series, Maud Hart Lovelace’s charming series is foundationally autobiographical, although I believe she takes more liberties with her story than Laura Ingalls Wilder did, particularly in the later books. I can’t remember if my parents or my grandparents were the first to give my sister and me a Betsy-Tacy book, but for several years, we would each receive at least one for birthdays and Christmas, until we had the full series. [As a side note, this is the one problem with sharing books with your siblings – when it comes down to it, who takes the full series when you move out?!] I adored the story of Betsy, a writer who was constantly scribbling and who inspired many scribblings of my own. Betsy and Tacy were examples of both the joys and struggles of real, honest friendship, and I am grateful to have a handful of friends who have stood by my side since childhood just like Betsy and Tacy did for each other. I hope to read these with my own daughter someday.
The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery – I have previously written about how much “Anne with an e” inspired my early desires to write, and I have her to thank for the recognition of “kindred spirits” along the roads of my friendships. From the chatterbox, kindhearted redhead who always sees the best in everything around her, to watching her grow up and become an adult, marry her best friend, and have children, Anne’s transformation throughout the first seven books is a joy and a masterful example of extended character development. The final book, Rilla of Ingleside, tells the story of Anne and Gilbert’s youngest daughter, and it was always one of my favorites. Having already stood the test of nearly a century since first publication, I have no doubt that these books will remain in the “canon classics” for girls for many years to come.
Of course, I cannot move on without also mentioning the delightful film adaptations of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (the later films stray from the books and are, in my opinion, not worth watching) starring Megan Follows in a true breakout role as Anne Shirley and featuring one of the most beautiful musical scores I have ever heard. Rarely do film adaptations so perfectly capture the heart of a story as these movies capture the beauty and small-town charm of Avonlea and the loveable characters that live there. Oh, and every time I watch them, I want to jump on a plane to Prince Edward Island!
The Emily of New Moon series by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Similar to Anne in many ways, Emily Starr is also a writer, and I devoured this trilogy with perhaps even more gusto when I discovered it several years after first reading Anne. Although these books are a trifle darker and more, shall we say, mystical in content, I adored them because they delved even more deeply into Emily’s struggles and triumphs as she fought and worked to become a writer. Suffice it to say that I wanted to BE Emily by the time I finished the last book.
Any other book series for girls that you’ve enjoyed? Tell me in the comments!