August 11, 2021 7:34 AM EDT

The character of Anne Shirley, with her signature red braids and straw hat, is instantly recognizable to so many for a reason. Whether she’s losing her adoptive mother’s treasured amethyst brooch or mistaking wine for raspberry cordial on the page, stage or screen, the imaginative, headstrong and relentlessly optimistic heroine of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s eight-book Anne series has charmed readers and viewers alike since the early 20th-century. Anne of Green Gables, the series debut, was an immediate success upon its publication in 1908 and has never gone out of print since, selling more than 50 million copies worldwide. The novel follows 11-year-old orphan Anne in the years after she’s mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a pair of unmarried, middle-aged siblings who originally intended to adopt a boy. Set in the idyllic fictional town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island, Canada, Anne of Green Gables is both a love letter to Montgomery’s home province and a classic coming-of-age story that captures the joys and sorrows of growing up in equal measure. —Megan McCluskey

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