These beloved characters from children's books have delighted generations of young readers with their engaging personalities and mischievous, magical or magnanimous acts. Take a look through this list and reminisce on some of the best children's book characters, including Matilda, Gandalf, Hagrid and more.
1. The Mad Hatter
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
This wonderfully wacky character is one of the most distinctive personalities in children's literature. He and the poor March Hare are trapped in a perpetual 6pm tea party after Time halted for the Hatter as punishment for his alleged attempt to 'murder time' with his singing. This doesn't seem to dull his spirits, however, although perhaps it has driven him further into insanity! He is known for asking unfathomable riddles and reciting nonsensical poetry.
Roald Dahl, Matilda
Matilda Wormwood is a brilliant, intelligent little girl with a penchant for reading and a love of learning. This seriously smart character does have a naughty streak though, and carries out mischievous acts like sticking her neglectful father's hat to his head with superglue! She also has the amazing power to move objects with her mind, which comes in handy as she tries to take down her horrible headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter
This big, huggable, hairy half-giant is one of the most loveable characters in the Harry Potter universe. He adopts a compassionate, father-like role for young Harry Potter and is a reassuring presence throughout Harry's turbulent years at Hogwarts. He is the school's Keeper of Keys and Grounds, and has a strong interest in mythical and fantastical creatures. He owns, tames and befriends various exotic creatures throughout the series, including Aragog the Acromantula and Buckbeak the hippogriff.
C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
Aslan, a magnificent talking lion, is the wise, compassionate and magical King of Beasts and of Narnia. He is a kind-hearted yet mysterious character, both temporal and otherworldly, and a reassuring guide to the human children who visit Narnia. However, he is certainly 'not a tame lion', for he is powerful and has the potential to be dangerous. His followers include humans, centaurs, fauns, dryads, dwarves, mermaids, unicorns and more.
5. Liesel Meminger
Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, The Book Thief follows Liesel, an avid young booklover and brave book thief, horrified by the destruction of thousands of newly-banned books under the Nazis. The intrepid young Liesel must help to hide a Jewish boy in the basement, where the power of words and books to enrich the soul is explored by both youngsters as they try to evade danger and even death. This shocking but spellbinding story features a tough and determined young female lead.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
Gandalf, a wise and powerful wizard who accompanies Bilbo and the dwarves on their adventures in The Hobbit, is a much-loved character in Tolkien's Middle-earth. His demeanour can be unpredictable, by turns affectionate and curt, but his strong sense of pity for the weak and vulnerable makes him care for and reward all creatures with good intentions. However, he harshly reproaches foolish behaviour.
7. Pippi Longstocking
Astrid Lindgren, Pippi Longstocking
Pippi Longstocking is a red-haired, freckled little girl who is superhumanly strong and fiercely independent! She can cook and clean, repair her house, care for her pets and otherwise manage her affairs all by herself. She's playful and impulsive and has a deep love of animals, her best friends being her horse and monkey. Whilst she is said to have no 'proper' manners, she is sweet and outgoing, and likes to share stories about her childhood on the sea - even if they are embellished a little!
A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Cuddly little bear Winnie-the-Pooh was named after the teddy bear belonging to A. A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne. Whilst being 'a bear of very little brain', Pooh is a kind, friendly and loveable little character, softly-spoken and often courageous in difficult situations. He is known for his love of 'hunny', and keeps a stash of honey pots at his woodland home. A reliable and optimistic friend, Pooh Bear is often entitled 'leader of the group'. However, it might be said that he is rather forgetful!
9. Peter Rabbit
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Peter is a mischievous little rabbit who loves eating carrots, and is willing to go to great lengths to get them! Mr. McGregor certainly isn't happy when he spots Peter Rabbit eating as many of his carrots as he can, and chases him away, but Peter loses his shoes and jacket in the process. The rebellious rabbit tries to get them back with his friend Benjamin, but is captured by Mr. McGregor's cat! Naughty and playful, children adore this beloved bunny.
10. Tracy Beaker
Jacqueline Wilson, The Story of Tracy Beaker
Tracy Beaker is a tough, rebellious and adventurous little girl, with curly dark hair and a wild imagination! She was placed in care at a young age as her mother wasn't able to care for her. Tracy bitterly calls the children's home the 'Dumping Ground', and likes to imagine that her mother is a glamorous Hollywood movie star who will come back for her one day. Tracy is bossy and disobedient, yet creative and likeable, with a mischievous streak that lands her in all sorts of trouble!
Inspirational children's book characters
- The Mad Hatter, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- Matilda, Matilda
- Hagrid, Harry Potter
- Aslan, The Chronicles of Narnia
- Liesel, The Book Thief
- Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Longstocking
- Winnie-the-Pooh, Winnie-the-Pooh
- Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Tracy Beaker, The Story of Tracy Beaker