The title character is named Pollyanna Whittier, a young orphan who goes to live in Beldingsville, Vermont, with her wealthy but stern and cold spinster Aunt Polly, who does not want to take in Pollyanna, but feels it is her duty to her late sister. Pollyanna's philosophy of life centers on what she calls "The Glad Game," an optimistic attitude she learned from her father.
Pollyanna is a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter that is now considered a classic of children's literature, with the title character's name becoming a popular term for someone with the same optimistic outlook. The book was such a success that Porter soon produced a sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up (1915).
Eleven more Pollyanna sequels, known as "Glad Books", were later published, most of them written by Elizabeth Borton or Harriet Lummis Smith. Further sequels followed, including Pollyanna Plays the Game by Colleen L. Reece, published in 1997.