There are literally millions of children’s books out there from which to choose as you build your child’s love of reading and literature. Some become instant classics, standing the test of time and reading just as well fifty years later as they did the day they were written. In many cases, characters are the reason for a story’s longevity. Colorful, fun and resonating characters can extend into series, and can drive a child’s love of reading for years to come. Here are some of the most unforgettable characters in children’s literature.
Pippi Longstocking has been around for over seventy years and still rings just as true to children today as she did in 1945. She was created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and named by Astrid’s daughter. Pippi is known for her sass and spunk, and her exceptional strength makes her the first superhero many young girls encounter.
Madeline has been around even longer than Pippi Longstocking and retains her vast popularity even today. She first came on the scene in 1939 and lives in a boarding house in France. Kids love Madeline because of the sweet-natured quality of her stories, and learn something with every new read as she delivers morals and charm in equal measure.
Beverly Cleary created this youngster who always seems to get into trouble just like the curious cat. She bugs her older sister, gets into trouble at school, and has all sorts of outlandish and amusing misadventures in an entire series of beloved books. Ramona is a character that we love for her imperfections, rather than in spite of them.
First created in 1988 by Peggy Parish, this series character continues on, even today. Amelia is a maid who constantly misunderstands the orders of her employer to comic effect. Her inability to comprehend figures of speech and extreme literalism combined with the alliterative nature of her name, which is used as a recurring motif, provides tons of laughter and fun for youngsters everywhere.
A modern take on the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and targeting a younger crowd, Encyclopedia Brown teaches kids problem and puzzle-solving skills. In each story, the kids get the same clues as Encyclopedia does, so they have an opportunity to solve the case right alongside the hero. Along with his sidekick and bodyguard, Sally, this series provides strong role models for youngsters of any gender.
The protagonist of Maurice Sendak’s classic story Where the Wild Things Are, Max runs away from the real world in his wolf costume to find an island populated by huge monsters. Max takes over and the Wild Rumpus begins! This story of misbehaving, homesickness and the wild in everyone still resonates for kids and grownups everywhere.
Of course, for many kids the first introduction to classic characters is through fairy tales like Little Red Riding Hood. Why not take a look at our eBook version and then explore the other amazing options we have available to help kids learn to love reading?