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In this epic battle, books would come out victorious.

As a child, I read the entire Anne of Green Gables series. Starting with Anne Shirley as an auburn haired orphan being brought home by Matthew Cuthbert when Marilla really wanted a boy, to her friendship with “bosom friend” Diana Barry, to her love affair with Gilbert Blythe, to the birth of her children. And throughout the entire series, I had vivid images in my mind of what she looked like, what her house looked like, what Gilbert looked like, and what her general surroundings were. In 5th grade, I was so sure of Anne Shirley’s life that I almost thought I could be Anne Shirley if I wanted to.

There’s a house in Frankfort, IL, that I call the “Anne of Green Gables House.” Jered always makes fun of me for it, but it’s my most favorite house in the whole area. This is what it kind of looks like:


This is how I picture the house at Green Gables. Except without a garage door or quite so elaborate landscaping. And maybe a bit more colorful. But the general structure, with the wrap around porch and the circle rooms and creative rooftop.

I bet most of you have seen the movie, “Anne of Green Gables.” I have not. I never saw it when I was young, and now I have absolutely no desire to see it. My idealized images of Anne Shirley and Green Gables are too perfect in my head. I spent too much time building that world in my head to have Hollywood show me what it should really look like. I just can’t bring myself to ruin what 5th grade Melissa created.

I feel the same way about the Little House on the Prairie books. I began reading these much earlier – I have vivid memories of my mom reading Little House in the Big Woods and trying to imagine what that winter would feel like – and finished the series in about 3rd grade. Apparently there are movies, but I haven’t seen them. And I don’t want to.

I feel bad for kids now. Unless they are introduced to these great books, they will never have the opportunity to create these imaginary worlds and be transported somewhere else than their backyard or living room.

Go outside. Read a book. Play pretend.

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