Child Heroes

Today, CNN had a link to an article on Techland about the best child heroes featured in films. It’s a great list (and I’m so stoked that they included Dumbledore’s Army rather than just Harry himself).

A lot of those heroes, I’ve noticed, originally appeared in works of literature: the DA, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, the Pevensies. So I decided to make a list of my favorite literary heroes who happen to be under the age of 18. I’m putting them in alphabetical order because deciding which one is most important would require too much decision making. 🙂

Anne Shirley: the hero of quite possibly my favorite literature series, Anne of Green Gables saves Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and the whole town of Avonlea from dissolving into a bored, lonely life.

The Boy: Cormac McCarthy’s unnamed character in The Road. He carries the fire–and the hope for a future.

Jack: the young bard in Nancy Farmer’s The Sea of Trolls. Jack battles ogres and Vikings and all sorts of fierce, mythical or historical figures in order to get himself and his sister Lucy back home.

Jonas: the Receiver of Memories in Lois Lowry’s The Giver. He lets the memories escape and reveals the true essence of humanity to a people who have only known conformity.

Leisel Meminger: the protagonist of The Book Thief; she holds onto hope throughout all of WWII that peace is coming and that knowledge and a future are worth fighting for.

Lucy Pevensie: sure, the Pevensies were all mentioned in Techland’s list, and they’re all worth of hero titles. But without Lucy, the Pevensies never would have found Narnia, much less become kings and queens.

Meg Murry: her love is the secret for moving through that wrinkle in time and getting her father, Cal, Charles Wallace, and herself back home.

Stargirl: the hero of two Jerry Spinelli books. Stargirl is unique (and even strange) in a town full of average high school students. But she enchants them, and falls in love with one of them, and changes their lives, even though they reject her in the end.

Todd & Viola: the protagonists of Patrick Ness’ brilliant Chaos Walking trilogy (of which only the first two books, The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, have been released). These two thirteen-year-olds fight an army of truly evil men who not only physically control every town they conquer, but who also control the thoughts of every person they rule. I’ll find out in September, when the final book Monsters of Men is released, how Todd and Viola’s story ends.

Winnie Foster: from Natalie Babbitt’s beautiful novel Tuck Everlasting. She doesn’t drink the water.

This is in no way a complete list. These are just the first ten who came to mind, and you should know by now that I do like my lists in groups of five or ten. 🙂