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Your Favorite Children’s Book Characters of All Time

OK, so I’m on a roll with this. Forgive me. But yesterday’s post about the classic children’s books you want to re-read with your own kids had me smiling at all the memories of so many great books. Thanks for the great tips!

In the interests of keeping the dialogue going — and, more selfishly, in the interests of learning about some really incredible reads because I love books of all kinds — I wanted to quickly dive into a related topic: your favorite characters from classic children’s books.

Just last week, the Simpsons had a great satire on how to write a great children’s book, complete with all the musts of a great character: must be an orphan, must have special powers, must go to a school of some sort for special-power children, etc. The show pretty much nailed it. When I was thinking about my favorite characters, I was surprised that many lived with their parents — and indeed, how many parents played key roles in the books. Pa, for instance, was a constant presence in the Little House series. Does that even happen today?

But I digress. I’ll list my favorite characters of all time below, knowing I should have opened this up to a Top Ten list. I fear I have left off far too many. And I wonder what you’ll think of my first choice on the list.

Let me know yours in the comments. Enjoy.


  • Laura Ingalls 1 of 5
    Laura Ingalls
    I feel a little robbed that I never read the Little House on the Prairie series until I had a daughter, but having blitzed through the books last summer, the choice for number one on my list is clear. Laura was independent, inquisitive, burdened, alive and downright funny. I'm so happy she's available for girls — and boys — of all ages.
  • Sam Gribley 2 of 5
    Sam Gribley
    He's from My Side of the Mountain. Hmm, I'm sensing a pattern here about my early childhood, all these character heroes who rejected society as it was and tried to create their own.
  • Junius Maltby 3 of 5
    Junius Maltby
    Tucked in the back of a copy of the Red Pony by John Steinbeck, the story of Junius Maltby moved me like no other of his tales. An accountant who escaped the corporate life for carefree living in the country creates an ideal world for his son until they are forced back to "regular living" when town lifts the veil on the child's innocence.
  • Jaimie McPheeters 4 of 5
    Jaimie McPheeters
    The eponymous character from the Travels of Jaimie McPheeters recounts his cross-country trip to the California Gold Rush, with adventure after adventure stacked up in every chapter. I think I'm biased here, because I was just amazed that he passed through my own California small town on his way.
  • Arya Stark 5 of 5
    Arya Stark
    OK, so I cheated. Right off the bat. Sorry. I grabbed a character straight out of an adult series — Game of Thrones — but thought she deserved a spot among the pantheon of greats for her pluck and courage and overall bad-assery. Having never read the Harry Potter series — still waiting for my daughter to get a little older — I couldn't lead with Hermione Granger, although I hear she's just as awesome.

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