One of the cool things about this whole process of preparing to go to Chautauqua has been their process of getting to know us. They sent us a two page questionnaire a couple of months ago. It had the basics of where we went to school and stuff like that, but also a few great questions to help them get to know who we are. They then used that to match us with our faculty mentors, and to create a brief bio of each of the attendees, so we can get to know each other and identify folks we share common interests with.
My favorite question they asked was who is our favorite character in children's literature and why. I hadn't considered this before, but it's very telling. We all want to create characters that readers will relate to, but it's the characters we've read that inspire us, and likely brought us to this place to begin with.
I came to my answer pretty quickly. I chose Claudia Kincaid, the heroine of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She's practical. She's a planner. She wants to be appreciated, and she's willing to go the distance to earn that. She wants to run away from home, but she's not willing to give up comfort to do so, and finds a way to make that work for her. She also wants to make a difference. And perhaps most importantly, she immediately recognizes that she can't do it all herself. She knows where her own weaknesses lie, and enlists her brother Jamie to help her with the aspects of her plan she can't handle herself, mainly money.
Do you have a favorite character in children's literature? Who and why?