5 of 8
By L.M. Montgomery
448 pp.; Puffin Classics

Precocious, redheaded Anne Shirley is a heroine with staying power: Montgomery's original novel was published in 1908 and it's never been out of print since, inspiring a steady stream of sequels, TV versions and films. Anne of Green Gables—The Good Stars, makes its American premiere on PBS this November. The show includes all the elements that have enchanted generations of readers: There's the verdant setting on Prince Edward Island, the comic hair-dye catastrophe and the ever-shifting nature of tweenage friendships and rivalries. The novel still draws readers in, however, due to Montgomery's ability to reveal children's inner struggles without condescension. For instance, she gracefully captures the way Anne's self-reckoning forced to reconsider her onetime tormenter: "To her secret dismay, she found that the old resentment she had cherished against him was gone—gone just when she most needed its sustaining power." (November 23, PBS)