This collection of beautiful, enduring hardcover editions features beloved tales of personal transformation and growth, all from Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics. With colorful cloth sewn bindings, charming full-color illustrations, elegant gold stamped covers, and silk ribbon markers, these are books that children and adults will cherish for years.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
About Louisa May Alcott
Louisa May Alcott, born in 1832, was the second child of Bronson Alcott of Concord, Massachusetts, a self-taught philosopher, school reformer, and utopian who was much too immersed in the world of ideas to ever succeed in supporting his family. That task fell to his wife and later to his enterprising daughter Louisa May. While her father lectured, wrote, and conversed with such famous friends as Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, Louisa taught school, worked as a seamstress and nurse, took in laundry, and even hired herself out as a domestic servant at age nineteen. The small sums she earned often kept the family from complete destitution, but it was through her writing that she finally brought them financial independence. “I will make a battering-ram of my head,” she wrote in her journal, “and make a way through this rough-and-tumble world.”
An enthusiastic participant in amateur theatricals since age ten, she wrote her first melodrama at age fifteen and began publishing poems and sketches at twenty-one. Her brief service as a Civil War nurse resulted in Hospital Sketches (1863), but she earned more from the lurid thrillers she began writing in 1861 under the pseudonym of A.M. Barnard. These tales, with titles like “Pauline’s Passion and Punishment,” featured strong-willed and flamboyant heroines but were not identified as Alcott’ s work until the 1940s.
Fame and success came unexpectedly in 1868. When a publisher suggested she write a “girl’s book,” she drew on her memories of her childhood and wrote Little Women, depicting herself as Jo March, while her sisters Anna, Abby May, and Elizabeth became Meg, Amy, and Beth. She re-created the high spirits of the Alcott girls and took many incidents from life but made the March family financially comfortable as the Alcotts never had been. Little Women, to its author’s surprise, struck a cord an America’s largely female reading public and became a huge success. Louisa was prevailed upon to continue the story, which she did in Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886.) In 1873 she published Work: A Story of Experience, an autobiography in fictional disguise with an all too appropriate title.
Now a famous writer, she continued to turn out novels and stories and to work for the women’s suffrage and temperance movements, as her father had worked for the abolitionists. Bronson Alcott and Louisa May Alcott both died in Boston in the same month, March of 1888.
About Frances Hodgson Burnett
Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester, England, on November 24 1849. After her father’s death in 1853, Burnett’s mother ran the family’s iron foundry until the American Civil War caused the business to fail. Destitute, the Hodgsons moved to Tennessee in 1865 to stay with relatives in a log cabin. Frances lived there until 1873, when she married a doctor, Swan Burnett, whom she later divorced in 1898. She married Peter Townsend, an actor, in 1900.
From her teens Frances had written stories and tales to help her support the family and later claimed never to have written a manuscript that was not published. Her first widespread success came with That Lass o’ Lowrie’s in 1877, a tale of the Lancashire coal mines. But it was the publication of Little Lord Fauntleroy, in 1886, that brought the author fame and wealth and established Cedric as the model for a generations of young boys. Sara Crewe was published in 1888, and the rags-to-riches story was so successful that Burnett revised, expanded, and republished it in 1905 as A Little Princess. The beloved The Secret Garden appeared four years later to enormous critical and popular acclaim.
A prolific writer, Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote over 40 novels and plays and dozens of short stories during her lifetime. She died at Plandome, New York, on October 29 1924.
About L.M. Montgomery
L. M. Montgomery was born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island in Canada, the setting of nineteen of her twenty novels. She died in Toronto in 1942.