Having someone to look up to is an important part of childhood, and in books we can find some of the best role models to share with the next generation. Whatever they aspire to be, whether brave, selfless, a great leader, academic or kind, children can learn so much from these beloved children's book characters.
Hermione from the Harry Potter Series
Hermione made being studious cool with her unflinching dedication to homework contributing to the quick-thinking way she saves her friends on multiple occasions. She is also compassionate, as seen by her setting up S.P.E.W to raise awareness of House Elves being unpaid and overworked. Despite being one of the most studious characters in literature, Hermione isn't sorted into Ravenclaw, the house where knowledge is treasured over all, she is sorted into Gryffindor, the house which values bravery. This intentional choice shows that just thinking about an issue like other scholars in the past isn't enough for Hermione; she also has the bravery to act on her knowledge and convictions - a lesson which is valuable for both children and adults alike.
Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie comes from a poor family and is therefore delighted and astounded when he finds one of the golden tickets Willy Wonka has put into five chocolate bars as part of a competition to gain entry to the famed magical factory. Unlike the other children, Charlie is full of wonder and pure intentions and is never selfish or greedy. This is why he is ultimately chosen by Willy Wonka to inherit the chocolate factory. Even in the moment he is presented with this wondrous revelation he is more concerned with others than himself. His selflessness and love for his family are the two defining traits which make him an amazing role model for children everywhere.
Winnie from Winnie the Pooh
Winnie cares deeply for his owner, Christopher Robin, and for his friends making him a dependable and beloved character in children's fiction. He often has something deeply moving and profound to say about the simplest of situations that speaks to friendship, understanding and unconditional love; themes which help us learn more about ourselves and those around us. The sense of compassion Winnie the Pooh displays for his friends who each have their own fears and worries makes him stand out as a particularly great leader and role model.
Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia
At the beginning of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lucy is constantly excluded by her siblings because of her very young age and size but she is determined that these things will not define what she is capable of achieving. Throughout the novels we see her mature into a compassionate and, in equal parts, fearsome leader whose bravery saves other characters on multiple occasions. Lucy is the perfect character to teach children that they shouldn't let anyone else define them and that they can be as great as the limits of their imagination will allow them to be.
Anne from Anne of Green Gables
As a free-spirit, Anne isn't afraid to embrace her imagination and although it is often the thing that gets her into trouble, it's also one of her strongest character traits. She's also curious about other people who she fondly sees as oddballs like herself and is always willing to befriend them which gives her the ability to put herself in other people's shoes. Learning to understand yourself enough to express your individuality and embrace the individuality of others is such a valuable lesson to learn, particularly for children who are developing a sense of identity.
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games
As a role model for teens there aren't many stronger than Katniss. Faced with an incredibly difficult situation, she volunteers herself in place of her sister to face the barbarity of the Hunger Games, proving her selflessness as a character. Katniss also shows incredible bravery, both in the arena and when facing off against her ultimate nemesis, President Snow.
August 'Auggie' Pullman from Wonder
Auggie has a facial deformity and after being home-schooled is very nervous when he starts mainstream school as everyone always stares at him and treats him differently. Through Auggie, children can learn how difficult it can be for another student to fit in and that kindness and understanding can make a real difference to another person's happiness. Auggie is also an amazing role model for any child who also doesn't feel like they fit in. He is incredibly brave and doesn't let his disability limit his aspirations as he has a strong love of science and space that is unshaken by his school experience.
Did you agree with our choice of role models or are there characters that influenced you or your children that you think should make this list? Let us know what you think on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages and join the conversation!