06/22/2012 10:00 EDT | Updated 08/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Anne in China aims at 200K rural libraries

A P.E.I. group is preparing to make a massive donation with the goal of making Anne of Green Gables as popular in China as it is in Japan.

The iconic P.E.I. novel by L M Montgomery was translated into Mandarin recently, and has been the focus of a major promotion this year. The foreword was written by Laureen Harper, wife of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and she personally handed out copies to school children during a visit to China in February.

There are currently 20,000 copies of the Mandarin edition of Anne for sale in China but Sherry Huang, CEO of Anne in China on P.E.I., has set her sight on multiplying those numbers significantly.

"We're hoping to make Anne popular in China, same like in Japan, we're hoping maybe even more popular," said Huang.

Huang hopes to do that by hooking into a foundation that donates books to rural libraries in China.

"They are trying to cover all the rural part of China to always provide them a very good book, and we believe Anneof Green Gables should be on that list," said Huang.

"If we gave one book to each library we're looking at 200,000 to cover all of them so, wow, it's a big project."

Huang said she is still planning how and when to get the books out to all those libraries. Kate MacDonald Butler, Montgomery's granddaughter and representative of her heirs, is thrilled by the project.

"Well the plan is pretty exciting, and I have given my blessing to the project," she said.

Tourism associations on P.E.I. and the province's Department of Innovation are excited by the project too, hoping interest in the book will lead to the same kind of interest in visiting Anne's land in China that the province has seen from Japan.