Have you ever dreamed of you and your daughter or granddaughter loving the very same book?
I did, and that book of course was Anne of Green Gables. After I wrote my 2015 Anne-braided memoir (which you can enter to win below!), so many kindred spirits told me they, too, pined for the day when their best girls would lose themselves in the pages of their best-loved books!
A few years ago, I came across a plan to lure my girl into loving Anne Girl, too.
I had just wandered into my 10-year-old’s room and spotted an abridged version of Anne of Green Gables lying open on her bed (she had fallen asleep reading and I gingerly took a book out of her hand in the dark. Didn’t know it was the Best Book Ever).
I’m not going to pretend this wasn’t my dream come true: to get my very own girl child into the pages of the book that shaped me as a human being!
Yes, since Phoebe was a baby, I had been dreaming of brainwashing her into loving Anne as I do. As she grew, and it became obvious my girl was all “spirit, fire and dew” like Anne, I knew it HAD to happen. I also knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Kids don’t automatically love what their parents love, because of that whole SEPARATE PERSON thing.
And the little cherubs seem to have a sense for when Mommy might want something a little too much, and they can, being AUTONOMOUS INDIVIDUALS, run in the other direction.
Also, P is a reluctant reader. Boys are supposed to be the ones who kick and scream at books, but in our case, it’s been our girl.
So I had to maneuver carefully as I endeavored to drag my daughter into life as an Anne Freak. I knew it had to seem like it was all her idea.
I’ve heard it over and over: “I can’t wait until Olivia Anne is old enough to read ‘Anne of Green Gables,’” mothers will tell me, their faces alight with book love and hope.
It’s harder than it looks, but it can be done.
Here are my 9 Strategies for Luring Your Daughter into Loving Anne Like You (We) Do.
(And by the way, you can substitute Anne for Heidi or Jo March or Laura Ingalls Wilder or whomever your favorite literary heroine might be):
1. Start ‘em young: BabyLit now publishes these absolutely darling board books based on the great classics, including Anne of Green Gables (new), Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and many more. My three great nieces all got one this Christmas!
2. Keep in mind that Anne and the 7 sequels are best suited for teenagers and even adults. L.M.M. was a highly sophisticated writer, and her fat, buttery words and eloquent sentences will only bog down a younger reader not ready for the original.
3. Pretend you don’t care. This is absolutely key. When you have a kid like mine whose automatic answer is “no,” you must be subtle. “Darling, I would self-actualize and float into orbit if only you cared about Anne!” is not a good tactic. If she shows any resistance to reading Anne, just let the matter drop. Even better, set the stage for success…
4. Read the Young Readers version with her. Get a hold of a picture book version of Anne’s story. Phoebe loved to look at the pictures in this version. In fact, it was during the reading of this that she, then 7, asked me “what’s an orphan,” which sparked my memoir!
5. When she’s cracked the code of reading, offer her an abridged version, like the one I caught P reading. But if she balks, drop it but do leave AOGG lying around where she can pick it up. (I must have dug that book out from piles ten times and placed it on her bedside table, shhhhhh!)
6. Offer a Get Out of Chores Free Card: Once you’ve strategically placed the book in key spots, you’re ready to offer incentives, such as the Get Out of Chores Free Card, which gives her the option to forgo chores for a half hour of reading. Or try …
7. Go to Bed 30 Minutes Late: Give her the option to stay up a bit late with the agreement that she has to read during that time.
8. Watch the Movie: The luminous four-hour miniseries will engage your girl as it did mine with Anne and co. P totally went ape over the Anne-Wallops-Gil-on-the-Head-with-a-Slate scene, and she was hooked.
9. Listen to the Audio Book: On a long car ride, or maybe just daily shuttling around, pop in the book’s audio version. We did this on the way to PEI, and even the teenage boys laughed and listened. Who doesn’t love having a story read aloud to them?
Bonus! 10. Make Raspberry Cordial: If your girl loves to cook and bake, it’s easy enough to make a scrumptious batch of Raspberry Cordial with her. This is fun, and allows the two of you to enter Anne’s world in a very tactile, flavorful way!
More about Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me
A charming and heartwarming true story for anyone who has ever longed for a place to belong. “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me is a witty romp through the classic novel; a visit to the magical shores of Prince Edward Island; and a poignant personal tale of love, faith, and loss.
And it all started with a simple question: “What’s an orphan?” The words from her adopted daughter, Phoebe, during a bedtime reading of Anne of Green Gables stopped Lorilee Craker in her tracks. How could Lorilee, who grew up not knowing her own birth parents, answer Phoebe’s question when she had wrestled all her life with feeling orphaned―and learned too well that not every story has a happy ending?
So Lorilee set off on a quest to find answers in the pages of the very book that started it all, determined to discover―and teach her daughter―what home, family, and belonging really mean. If you loved the poignancy of Orphan Trainand the humor of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress, you will be captivated by “Anne of Green Gables,” My Daughter, and Me. It’s a beautiful memoir that deftly braids three lost girls’ stories together, speaks straight to the heart of the orphan in us all, and shows us the way home at last.
Lorilee Craker is the author of fourteen books, including Money Secrets of the Amish, for which she was nominated for a 2012 Audie Award for best audio book, personal development (Jane Fonda won in her category!); Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me, a memoir braiding her and her daughter’s adoption with Anne’s story, and the New York Times bestseller Through the Storm with Lynne Spears. She lives in a 1924 house in Michigan with her husband, three children, a dog, two cats and a neurotic little hedgehog named Spike. She blogs about books, teenagers, Gilbert Blythe, books, TV recaps, and well, more books at www.Lorileecraker.com, posts about all of the above on Facebook, and loves to take dreamy photos of books, succulents (she’s a little bit obsessed), and teacups at her Instagram account @thebooksellersdaughter.