It’s that time again …for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week we were asked to list 10 book characters we’d name a child or pet after. I want to issue a big disclaimer to my husband, friends and family that I am in no way endorsing these names for future children! This is just for fun.
I wanted to come up with a mix of male and female names, but it seems that all my favorite book characters are female. Chalk it up to the fact that, well, I’m a female … and most of the characters on this list are from books I read when I was younger.
This week’s list is in no particular order.
1. Francie, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” by Betty Smith
What I loved most about Francie when I first read this book back in high school was her sense of imagination and the way she thrived in a rough environment. The meaning behind the book title is so inspiring as well – outside the Nolans’ apartment in the Williamsburg slums of Brooklyn, life is springing up in a sidewalk crack.
2. Scout, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
I know most, but not all, will agree that this is one fine piece of literature (UNDERSTATEMENT), one of the few books I was required to read in school that I actually enjoyed and finished.
While I didn’t grow up in the South, I identify a bit with Scout (whose real name is “Jean Louise”) in that when I was young I never understood why I should be afraid of or look down on someone because of their skin color. Scout experiences a loss of innocence when her lawyer father takes on the case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. And yet Scout is rightfully convinced that the man’s race doesn’t automatically make him guilty:
“I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”
I also identify with Scout because of her love of reading!
3. Fern, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White
Ah, “Charlotte’s Web” … first, a back story on this one.
My first memory of “Charlotte’s Web” is from second grade, when our teacher read the book aloud and showed the equally-entertaining animated movie in class.
I enjoyed both so much that I later read the book myself … at another school I attended in third grade, when I was told it was above my grade level.
I never paid any mind to that. But, for the love of Pete, if a child wants to read a book that’s “above their grade level,” let them! Don’t look at them like they have horns growing out of their heads or steer them back to their grade-level section!
*steps off soapbox*
Sorry. Anyway, for those who haven’t read “Charlotte’s Web,” Charlotte is the spider. Fern is the little farm girl who rescues runt-of-the-litter Wilbur. I admired her for that because of my lifetime love of animals and, as weird as it sounds, I was a bit of an underdog like poor Wilbur.
I can’t put into words the amount of warm fuzzies I get from “Charlotte’s Web.” Charlotte is the only spider I wouldn’t squash if she showed up in our home.
4. Janey, “Blue Willow” by Doris Gates
I honestly don’t remember where I got this book or even very much about the book itself. I read it only once and then it disappeared from my collection – I may have given it to a friend (even back then I was all about sharing books).
Growing up in the Dust Bowl era, Janey is the daughter of migrant workers who have few worldly possessions. The one treasure they’ve held onto is a blue willow plate. Janey is tired of moving all the time and longs for a beautiful home like the one depicted on the plate.
I can’t personally identify with Janey, but she reminds me of friends I made as a child who never really had a place to call home because of broken families, parents’ jobs, etc. I had trouble forming lasting friendships when I was young, so these were the kind of kids I was drawn to (and vice versa).
5. Selina, “So Big” by Edna Ferber
I love strong female characters (what lady reader doesn’t?), and Selina Peake DeJong is a great example. She faces marriage, the loss of her husband, and single parenting with dignity and determination.
No wonder this book won a Pulitzer Prize … Ferber was ahead of her time when “So Big” was published in 1924.
6. Molly, “Molly, An American Girl – 1944” by Valerie Tripp
Pleasant Company’s “American Girls” collections had it all – positive young role models, great storylines and HISTORY. In high school American history, there were times when we’d be studying a certain era and I’d think, “Oh, I’ve read about this before.”
Girls need more books like these!
I read all the American Girl series that were available when I was in grade school, and Molly was probably my favorite. I was fascinated by the World War II era and how Americans had to sacrifice so much, even if they weren’t actually fighting in the war. I learned about rationing, Victory Gardens, tinfoil drives, etc. And I cheered for Molly’s family when her dad made it home for Christmas.
7. Samantha, “Samantha, An American Girl – 1904” by Susan S. Adler
Depending on the day, Samantha was my favorite and Molly was my second favorite. It was a bit of a toss-up.
This series about an adopted orphan taught me about the beautiful (Christmastime was exquisite) and ugly (kids used to work in factories?!) aspects of the Victorian era. The girly-girl in me absolutely loved Samantha’s lifestyle.
8. Laura, “Little House” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
When I read these books in grade school I was enthralled with the idea of traveling in a covered wagon, of living in a log cabin, of learning to cook and sew.
Would I have cheerfully taken on such a life? Doubtful. But I sure liked reading about Laura’s adventures on the frontier.
9. Ramona, “Ramona Quimby series”by Beverly Cleary
I can totally identify with Ramona – I was a bit of a misfit as a kid. I didn’t have any siblings close to my age, but I spent plenty of time pestering my classmates and then wondering why they were irritated with me or why my teachers were always telling me to pay attention and listen.
What many of Cleary’s readers love about her books is they’re about “real kids.” Ramona, to me, is about as real as a fictional child gets.
10. Eloise, “Eloise” by Kay Thompson
I have such mixed feelings about this book. I absolutely love the name “Eloise,” and although the title character of this book is kind of a brat, she also seems like someone I would have liked to play with as a kid.
Having free run of the Plaza Hotel sounds like a good time – not my idea of a good, permanent living situation, though. There are a lot of people who can’t stand this book, and I get where they’re coming from, but how many little girls out there would love to live like Eloise for even a day?
What are your picks for this Top Ten Tuesday? Please share your link in the comments!