Great Characters You Should Know

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Do you know Charlotte, Hans, and Alice? They are friends of your grandparents and parents. When you read about them, they'll become your friends, too.


Alice in Wonderland

Alice, an impressionable Victorian girl of seven-and-a-half, falls down a rabbit hole into Wonderland, where she has many strange and curious adventures.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia and the Surprise Shower

Amelia Bedelia is a maid who interprets her duties literally. When she is asked to dust the furniture, she douses it with talcum powder! To change the towels she cuts holes in them! Her confusion makes us see how many ways there are to interpret ordinary statements.

Amelia Bedelia series, by Peggy Parish


Whether she's stirring up trouble or using her imagination and sense of humor to get out of yet another predicament, Anastasia is refreshingly real. It's easy to relate to her challenges at school, with family, and in an ever-changing world.

In the Anastasia Krupnik series, by Lois Lowry

Annabel Andrews

Cranky teenager Annabel Andrews gets herself into the strangest situations. When we first meet her, she has switched bodies with her mother. Later, she begins to organize her life around a television that shows tomorrow's news.

In Freaky Friday and A Billion for Boris by Mary Rodgers


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who loves chocolate. He and four other children win the privilege of being shown around the mysterious Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl


Charlotte's Web

Charlotte is a spider who lives in a barn above the pen of Wilbur, a young pig. By writing messages in her web, Charlotte saves Wilbur's life. Meanwhile, Charlotte, Wilbur, the other farm animals, and Fern, a young girl, all learn something about the meaning of life and friendship.

Charlotte's Web, by E. B. White


When Claudia Kincaid is sick of being told what to do at home, she runs away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Her brother, Jamie, joins her on an adventure that leads them to the home of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Claudia, full of spunk and vitality, proves resourceful, curious, and strong as she unravels a mystery.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E. L. Konigsburg


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, are blown by a cyclone from Dorothy's aunt and uncle's farm in Kansas to the country of the Munchkins in the imaginary Land of Oz. Dorothy, after many adventures accompanied by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, finally finds the Wizard, who they hope will solve all their problems.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum



Eloise is 6 years old and lives in the luxurious Plaza Hotel in New York City. She has everything from a nanny to room service, from a day maid to a tutor. Everyone dotes on Eloise.

Eloise, by Kay Thompson

Encyclopedia Brown

Encyclopedia Brownand the Case of the Mysterious Handprints

Leroy Brown, nicknamed Encyclopedia, is a 10-year-old boy who can solve any mystery. He and his father, the chief of police of Idaville, try to crack hard cases together. With his sharp ear for detecting flaws in a culprit's story, Encyclopedia Brown never loses a case or misses a clue.

Encyclopedia Brown series, by Donald J. Sobol



Farley Drexel Hatcher, also called Fudge, first appeared in Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing. His brother Peter would say that Fudge is the biggest pain ever invented. He is also troublesome and messy, uses a lot of big words, and is very funny.

Superfudge, by Judy Blume

Hans Brinker

Hans Brinker's father is desperately ill from an accident that leaves the family poor. Hans and his sister, Gretel, enter a skating competition to earn money. This story of loyalty and gumption takes place among the canals and windmills of Holland.

Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates, by Mary Mapes Dodge


Harriet M. Welch, age 11, wants to see and know everything in her quest to become a famous writer. Notebook in hand, she spies on her friends, trying to trap them in wrongdoings. When her notes accidentally fall into her friends' hands, Harriet learns an important lesson.

Harriet, the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Homer Price

Homer Price lives in Centerburg, a small midwestern town. Inquisitive and friendly, he has a knack for getting himself into humorous and zany situations.

Homer Price series, by Robert McCloskey


Little House on the Prairie

The central character is really the author, who started to write about her childhood in 1932, when she was 63 years old. These memoirs tell the story of 5-year-old Laura, who moves with her family from a log cabin in Wisconsin across the prairie states. The books recall her life from her young tomboy days to her adulthood.

Little House on the Prairie series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder



Madeline is a 6-year-old girl who attends boarding school in Paris. An individualist, she is the envy of her 11 classmates, for she is both the bravest and the naughtiest.

Madeline series, by Ludwig Bemelmans


Mafatu became afraid of the sea as a 3-year-old child when he saw his mother drown. He learns to overcome this fear when he battles danger and faces hardship on an island inhabited by cannibals. With only his dog and pet albatross for companionship, Mafatu emerges, at 15, a true hero when he returns to his Polynesian fishing village.

Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry

Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew Mystery: The Secret of the Old Clock

Nancy Drew is a detective who has appeared in dozens of books. She tries to help her father, a district attorney, solve his cases. Her curiosity and clear thinking always prove successful.

Nancy Drew series, by Carolyn Keene


Pippi Longstocking

Pippilolta Provisionia Gaberdina Dandeliona Ephraimsdaughter Longstocking is a 9-year-old who lives in the villa Villekula with her purple spotted horse and other animal friends as a result of her father's being lost at sea. Carrot-haired Pippi's spunky and optimistic outlook on life leads her and her two neighbors into fantastic adventures.

Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren

Mr. Popper

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper, a disheveled house painter, dreams of exploring the South Pole and having a penguin as a pet. To his astonishment Admiral Drake, an explorer, sends him a penguin. Eventually he has a family of penguins.

Mr. Popper's Penguins, by Richard Atwater


Ramona Geraldine Quimby lives in an American town with her older sister, Beezus. Ramona is a lively, naughty girl whose parents think she is adorable and forgive all her inventive, crazy ideas (which usually misfire).

Ramona series, by Beverly Cleary

Rose Rita Pottinger

Rose Rita Pottinger has an outdoorsy spirit, a gift for tall tales, and a keen interest in magic. Fortunately, she also has a cool head when confronting evil sorcerers or going on impromptu time-travel journeys.

In The Ghost in the Mirror and other books by John Bellairs

Tom Sawyer

Tom is a young boy who lives with his aunt Polly and brother Sid in a small town on the Mississippi River. Clever and adventurous, Tom and his friend, Huckleberry Finn, get into one scrape after another in the days of the Old South.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

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