Inspirational characters in children's books

Yesterday, (20 November) was Universal Children's Day. Having taken place annually since 1954, it was established to encourage all countries to set aside a day where they purposely think about the issues affecting the welfare of the world's children, and put together initiatives to promote further action to relieve the challenges they face.

To mark Universal Children's Day, we have looked at some of our favourite children in literature, who have succeeded in the face of adversity and in spite of resistance, and inspired us with their strength, courage and skill.

Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Katniss is inspirational in so many ways; from the very first pages of The Hunger Games, she is revealed to us as a strong, independent and resourceful young lady.

As the trilogy develops, we learn that Katniss is extremely loyal to her friends, and devoted to her family. She's courageous and intelligent, and always stands up for what she believes in, even challenging hierarchy.

She is an excellent role model for any young girl.

The Baudelaire siblings - A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
With the tragic death of their parents and their subsequent placement under their evil uncle's care, the Baudelaire siblings, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, are dealt a wicked hand; even the narrator of the series, Snicket, explains that very few positive things happen to the children, but much misfortune befalls them.

However, their close relationship is something to be admired; amidst the constant danger which they find themselves, they always support each other. They make a brilliant team, each using their different skills to outwit their conspirators and protect each other at all costs.

Lila - The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman
Lila is a young girl on a quest to prove herself in Pullman's The Firework-Maker's Daughter (a book featured on the Kumon Recommended Reading List). She wants to become a firework-maker like her father however he believes this is an unsuitable job for a girl. Far from being deterred by his objections, Lila follows her own mind, and journeys to get Royal Sulphur from Razvani, the Fire-Fiend, at Mount Merapi, as all aspiring firework-makers must do.

She is talented and brave, strong-willed, and determined. Her's is a story which inspires us to follow our dreams and encourages us not to give up on something we are passionate about.

Hermione Granger - The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Although Harry is the protagonist of the series, he would never have been able to defeat Lord Voldemort and save the wizarding world without Hermione by his side.

Again and again she uses her skill and intelligence to save the situation. Her practical attitude and level-head make her a worthy heroine.

She is extremely dedicated to her studies, and demonstrates the benefits of being smart and studious, never letting those who tease her for being a bookworm get her down.

These are just a few of our favourites, but there really are so many inspiring young characters in literature, whose books we'd all do well to take a leaf from.
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