“If I were Anne”: how Sweden brought Anne of Green Gables to the Palestinian classroom


  • Mary McDonald-Rissanen University of Tampere




Literature. Empowerment. Palestine. Applied Pedagogy. “Anne of Green” Gables.


Sweden’s teachers have a history of engaging children through literature into the humanistic endeavor of developing self-esteem and a positive attitude to life. The Canadian classic Anne of Green Gables written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908 is one of the worksof literature where a pedagogy has been developed to further these aims. The Swedish organization Diakonia has been instrumental in promoting these same ideals of empowering children through literature. While in Palestine I became familiar with Diakonia’s activities with local educators and in this article I examine how Palestinian teachers use this methodology with their Arabic copy of Anne of Green Gables.

Biografia do Autor

Mary McDonald-Rissanen, University of Tampere

Mary McDonald-Rissanen is an English lecturer at the University of Tampere, Finland, where she defended her doctoral dissertation at the department of comparative literature. Her earlier licentiate dissertation on two Prince Edward Island (Canada) diarists, L. M. Montgomery and her farm wife grandmother Amy Darby Tanton Andrew, was defended with Dr Gabriella Åhmansson (Uppsala University, Sweden) and Dr Päivi Lappalainen (University of Turku, Finland) as public examiners. This research lead to her doctoral dissertation Sandstone Diaries – Prince Edward Island Women's Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Life Writing. Professor Irene Gammel (Ryerson University, Canada) publically examined this dissertation and wrote: “this dissertation is written and argued with great energy and passion, and makes for fascinating reading by introducing and analyzing new subjects for the first time as well as presenting an effective frame for their critical exploration”. In December 2013 McGill-Queen’s University Press, Canada will publish Dr. McDonald-Rissanen’s book In the Interval of the Wave Prince Edward Island Women’s Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Life Writing.

Dr McDonald-Rissanen was born and brought up in Prince Edward Island where she is a summer resident. She has previously published the following articles on Montgomery and other PEI women diarists. “The Landscapes of Lucy Maud Montgomery” (2000); “Pulling back the thin veil - the poetic discourse of Lucy Maud Montgomery” (2001); “Veils and Gaps: The private worlds of LM Montgomery and Amy Andrew” (2005); “Imaging the Past: Atlantic Canada and Popular Representations” (2005) and “Writing Home: Pioneer Emma Chadwick Stretch’s Portrayal of Life in 19th Century Rural Prince Edward Island” (2006). Forthcoming (Spring 2014): “Crooked Ribs, Modern Martyrs, and Dull Days” University of Alberta Press, Canada in Connecting Texts and Generations: Canadian Women’s Writing/Textes and generations en contact: écritures des femmes du Canada.