For most of my childhood, my best friends were in the pages of books. I wanted to hang out with them, learn their secrets and live in their worlds. Since books for kids and young adults have stayed a regular part of my reading diet as an adult, I’ve had the chance to wish again that I was ten and living a life alongside my favorite characters.
Whether I wished I lived in their world or they lived in mine, here are a few of the characters I still wish I got to exchange best friend necklaces with:
Laura was not always the perfect kid but she seemed to have fun. Romping around the Big Woods or prairie with a passel of sisters, she made dolls out of corn cobs, balloons out of spare pig parts, and got into trouble at least once a book. I wanted nothing more than to learn quilting from Ma and to hang out in the barn’s hayloft with Laura and Mary. I would have been an awesome pioneer girl.
Okay, I know Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle wasn’t a kid, but I would have given my right arm to be a kid in her town. I wanted to hunt treasure in her upside down house and have some social or behavioral problem that only Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle could solve. She was, and still is, perhaps one of my favorite literary characters.
Mary Lenox and Dickon Sowerby
Do I really need to say more than “they had a secret garden”? Because they had a secret garden. And Dickon had pet foxes. And they got in all kinds of trouble and adventures, you just know it. How cool would it have been to wander the paths of the secret garden with them?
She lived in The Plaza Hotel. She had a pet turtle. She had a nanny she ran ragged who took her to places like Serendipity. She also seemed to never have any parents around to tell her what to do and let’s be honest, what kid didn’t wish they had that kind of set up? Don’t lie. You know I’m right.
The March family
Little Women remains one of my all-time favorite books. I love it probably more than is healthy. And I want nothing more than to sit around the March family’s fireplace with the sisters, Marmee and Beth’s kittens. Also, how awesome would it be to ramble about Jo’s boarding school ten years later and participate in crazy pillow fights and shenanigans?
Some people say they want to be friends with Harry Potter. But when I’m really honest, I know in my heart that Harry Potter would probably have intimidated me as a kid. Hermione felt like my soul sister from book one. She loved books. She read her school books before school started. She sassed her friends and tried too hard in class. I want to think we would have been besties when she wasn’t off saving the wizarding world. Or I would have been the girl she was besties with in the Muggle world if I hadn’t been lucky enough to be a wizard.
Obviously, I am not a fictional character. I live in the real world with other real people, and I had to learn how to make friends all on my own. These characters were my models. They taught me to share. They taught me to listen. I like to think I am a better friend than I would have been on my own because of the things I learned from them.
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