What do Pig the Pug, Harry Potter, Winnie the Pooh and Alice from Wonderland all have in common?
They are awesome children’s book characters that are loved and recognised all around the world!
But what makes them so awesome? And how can we create our own amazing characters? Read on to see five things you MUST always consider when writing children’s characters.
1. Make sure characters are as relatable and realistic as possible – even if the circumstances aren’t!
This wouldn’t be a post about writing children characters if it didn’t involve the one and only Harry Potter. Harry is an amazing character who the entire world fell in love with. One of the things that makes him so great is that he is a relatable character. Even though he is a magical being summoned to a magical school – he is still relatable and realistic and deals with issues that children (and everyone!) can understand. Harry deals with issues like friendships, fitting in, homework – all things that every kid can relate too! And then of course JK throws in some other issues like wild basilisks, oversized spiders and the dark lord himself to keep him on his toes and to keep the reader entertained. It’s all about balance.
So make sure your characters are relatable to kids and that they have similar problems. This way your audience will be able to see themselves in the story and the character. Otherwise, why would they want to keep reading?
2. Let your characters teach us something.
Everyone loves Winnie the Pooh, he is such a memorable character. Something that makes him stand out is his sweet nature and that he always has an important life lesson in his words.
And it’s never too obvious. Kids are smart (ish) and they know when they are obviously being taught something, so it needs to be revealed subtly in the words or in the story and the characters actions.
3. Make your character give children something they want.
Children are just learning about the world and their place in it. They don’t always know how to behave well, so they love characters who are a bit naughty.
Every child (and some adults) love to be grubby and break the rules, which is why Pig the Pug has become such a popular character. Children get to experience these naughty behaviours vicariously through Pigs cheeky antics, whilst also learning that being naughty isn’t the best.
Pig the Pug has gone on to sell more than 2 million copies with several different titles such as ‘Pig the Grug’ and ‘Pig the Superstar’! So you know that Aaron Blabey has this whole character thing down pat.
4. Ensure your characters are memorable.
All three characters above are super memorable. Harry has his scar and round glasses, Winnie has his pant-less red crop top ensemble and honey jar, and Pig the Pug has his bulgy eyes and pouty lip. These descriptions make them stand out and ensure that they are memorable.
You can do this through clothes, appearance, catch phrases, facial expression. Whatever! Just make sure its unique and will leave a lasting impression with your young audience.
5. Make sure your characters are likeable.
If we don’t love a character, or even like them, why would we want to read on? Alice from Alice in Wonderland is a great example of this. She is a badass! She is bold and adventurous and resilient – and ultimately, likeable! I mean, she went through some pretty wild circumstances and mostly kept her head. Although there was that one time she cried so much it literally created a tidal wave. But we don’t need to bring that up.
So ultimately, give your character some positive traits for kids to look up to and admire.