Over the past year, we've covered some of our favorite parental figures in books, our favorite siblings, sidekicks, boyfriends, etc. And with our core focus being MG, YA and NA literature, there has been no shortage of them. So this Monday (or Tuesday, because rebellion), we have decided to see if we can give props to the children in books - those who have managed to come out three-dimensional and push to the forefront of things rather than allow themselves to be overshadowed by teens and/or adults. These are the young characters memorable enough to stick with us long after the books have been finished - and those we frequently quote and reference in our discussions.

Here's to the next generation.

1. James Anderson (Shatter Me)

“Why do you call her ‘love’?” James asks. “I’ve heard you say that before, too. A lot. Are you in love with her? I think Adam’s in love with her. Kenji’s not in love with her, though. I already asked him.”

You know that kid who shamelessly spews uncomfortable truths about people in really tense situations? The one who asks the very question the principal characters dance around for what seems like ages? Behold James, Adam's little brother in Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. Forced to grow up in a hostile environment, James can at time be wise beyond his years. He will make sure you know you're loved after you've had an argument. He will instruct you on how to bond with people. But then in a hilarious display of kiddom, he will casually ask every single character in the book if they're in love with each other... or if they're about to starve. Both are equally as likely in Shatter Me.

2. Prim Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Prim is the dandelion in the spring, just like Peeta. She incredibly caring and wiser beyond her age. I guess you'd have to when you live in District Twelve! Her intelligence and need to help others grows as she trains to become a doctor at a young age, so her passion for people and a better world shines through her personality and makes her lovable. And it wasn't just Katniss who wanted her safe - we all did too. And her kindness didn't stop at just people - she had a love for animals, as well.

3. Kitty Song Covey (To All The Boys I've Loved Before)

It doesn't bode well for a family when a nine year-old is easily the smartest one of the lot. But where would the Coveys be without Kitty? From practical advice like "You don't want to wear that outfit, believe me" to a refusal to pick sides in silly arguments, Kitty is almost exclusively saying what the reader is thinking. Sometimes it's not easy to bond with a child in a novel. This is not one of those times. For all intents and purposes, Kitty is us. It's just a cherry on top that she can claim responsibility for Lara Jean's entire journey through this duology. 

4. Gavin (Seduction & Snacks)

I know this is quite a random book to put on here, but when I read Seduction and Snacks, I was going through an NA phase, and I happened to adore this book. The main part of the story that stood out to me was Gavin, the main character's son. He is adorable. He has that cheeky personality and cute sense of humour that children have but with an added hilarity to him. Everytime he showed up, I went 'YES!' because he was a little ray on sunshine. It made the book so much more enjoyable for me, so I have to add him in here. 
If you like NA books that will make you giggle, you should give these books a try - and meet Gavin! Also, there's some books set in the future and he is older and has his own story, so that's always an added bonus!

5. Paige Young (Penryn & The End of Days)

There were plenty of reasons to love Paige Young, Penryn's little sister, right off the bat. She is in a wheelchair as a direct result of her mother's paranoid burst. She insists on being a vegetarian in a starving world. While others hunt their own kind to survive, Paige refuses to hurt a fly. In a life marred by an apocalypse, she has retained her childlike innocence. But never has Paige been more likable (and set all those 'broken' New Adult characters in place) as during this moment:

“What's wrong with you? Are you broken?”
“No. I just can’t walk like other people.” She puts her arm out and drags herself forward a few more inches.
“That means you’re broken.”
She stops on the hard floor, propped on her elbows. “It means I move in a different way.”

Respect, Paige. Respect.

6. Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia)

Lucy starts her adventure when she discovers Narnia through the wardrobe. We all know that. But what's great about her character is her courage and kind heart, as she is very accepting of others and willing to go out of her way to do what she believes is best. She is a great character for children to read and aspire to be like, as she is known as the most faithful as she never stopped believing in Narnia. Her adventurous and kind nature is admirable and definitely makes her one of my favourite child characters in literature.

7. Kell & Caulder (Slammed)

Oh, the shenanigans Kell and Caulder get up to. Suffice it to say that in a few years' time (following the resolution of the Slammed series), they will very likely follow in the footsteps of Fred and George - albeit in a contemporary setting. Each raised by an older sibling, they never actively seek to cause trouble. It's just that trouble often finds them even when they aren't looking. Our sweet of the day will always be Kell and Caulder. And our suck is that there isn't more of them to read.

8. Rue (The Hunger Games)

Through her short time in the books, and in the Hunger Games world, Rue made a big impact on the readers as well as Katniss and the district civilians. Although all the tributes in the book were young, she was the youngest at only 12 years old, and her death gave the readers a huge shock which caused many of us to sob like maniacs. Rue is a very intelligent and skilled girl, who has bravery, talent for climbing and a passion for music. Her loving nature gives us more reason to adore her as she is loyal to those she loves, so her death devastated us all - we grew too attached. Damn you, Marvel! We only knew her for a short time but she had a big impact on us. We miss you, Rue! *three finger salute while sobbing*

9. Kylie Owens (Practical Magic)

Practical Magic is a tale which spans two generations of the Owens children (always sisters), and for all their faults and shortcomings, the Owens girls are always and forever memorable. From sisters Sally and Gillian, to Sally's own children, Antonia and Kylie, there is plenty of trouble to get into and plenty of fences to mend along the way. But Kylie more so than anyone was the kind of character (and the kind of child) who one can't help but love. A relentless do-what-feels-right-not-what-looks-right, follow-your-instincts, comfort-over-style, Kylie Owens is a quintessential child of the kind we ourselves were or aspired to be. She befriends the underdogs at school, she fills her spare time with soccer and friends, and she quips one-liners when she needs to like it's nobody's business. But through it all, Kylie is devoted to her family, passionate about her friends, and will always come through for all who she holds dear.

10. Danny Torrance (The Shining) - or someone else!


Having said all this, we do still feel that pre-teens and younger are the undervalued sort, especially in YA and NA literature. The characters above have entertained us so, so much - and taught us so, so much. And we can only hope they inspire more well-rounded young characters in books to come.

Who are you favorite kids in books? Do you wish they were more or less frequent? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or find us on social media.