Who are Your Favorite Literary Narrators in Books for Kids? (Not audio readers!)

Who are Your Favorite Literary Narrators in Books for Kids? (Not audio readers!)



Creating a lively narrative voice is difficult. It’s good to have examples that we can learn from.

So I was interested to note that a couple of weeks ago Publishers Weekly posted an article by author Antoine Wilson listing his top ten picks for best narrators. (Reliable or unreliable.) Two on his list were Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield. Most of his listed narrators appear in books for adults. Naturally, it made me think about narrators in books for kids.

I have a few favorites—what about Christopher of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME? Or Joey Pigza of JOEY PIGZA LOSES CONTROL? Or Mary Katherine “Merricat” Blackwood of WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE? Or Primrose Squarp of EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE? Or Death in THE BOOK THIEF? Or Alexander T. Wolf of THE TRUE STORY OF THE 3 LITTLE PIGS?

Let me know your favorite top 3 or 4 narrators—max.  (Remember, these are not necessarily main characters!) I’ll try to compile a list of strong/interesting narrators of books written for children. (All ages—baby to young adult.) Please limit your choices! We want thoughtful responses.

So let’s say you have about a month. Somewhere around the end of November, 2012, I’ll post the top repeat winners. It will be fun to see who we come up with! Please spread the word to fellow writers, readers, librarians, teachers, booksellers and others by reposting, tweeting and putting up on your Facebook/web page.

I’ll even sweeten the deal!  I’ll keep track of all responders, and at the end of the period I’ll  randomly draw the name of a responder. That person will win a free copy of one of my books, autographed.

Leave your nominations for great narrators in the comments field below…



16 Responses

    • Not told in first person, but from the point of view of the main character: Sam Gribley in My Side of the Mountain, Far Side of the Mountain, and Frightful’s Mountain. Ronia by Astrid Lingren, is one of my favorite children’s books of all times.

      First person narrators: the boy in Roald Dahl’s The Witches.

  1. Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series.

    Clay Jensen and Hannah Baker from Th1rteen R3asons Why.

    Jacky Faber from the Bloody Jack Adventures series.

    Strangely… all of these are main characters, too, but their first person narration is what makes them so engaging for me.

  2. My top narrators are:
    Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snickett
    The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Maryrose Wood
    In a Glass Grimmly, Adam Gidwitz

    Obviously, I’m a sucker for the type of voice these all share but I find them engaging and so very fun to read!

  3. Nate the Great.
    Katniss in the Hunger Games series
    Princess Academy – don’t remember the main character . Author Shannon Hale
    Amal the main the character of (Does My Head look in this?) author -Randa Abdel-Fattah

  4. Now We Are Six – AA Milne
    Olivia – Ian Falconer
    Charlotte’s Web
    Are You There God – Judy Blume

  5. Ruby Oliver from E Lockhart’s Boyfriend List series
    Hazel Grace Lancaster from John Green’s The Fault in our Stars
    Ida B.!

  6. the narrator from Series of Unfortunate Events
    Jane from My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
    Jeanie the Meanie from The Thing About Georgie

  7. Pseudonymous Bosch–The Name of This Book is Secret (and the other books in the series). Full of humor.
    Dr. Cuthbert Soup–A Whole Nother Story (and the others in the series). Again, laugh out loud humor.
    Holling Hoodhood–The Wednesday Wars–authentic young tween boy, honesty, humor, emotion

  8. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
    The BFG by Roald Dahl
    Who’s Jim Hines by Jean Alicia Elster
    A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck

  9. Only 3 or 4? Unfair, but I’ll try:

    For traditional third-person: Ursula LeGuin’s “Earthsea” series (love the language)
    For modern first-person YA: The title character of E. Lockhart’s “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” (funny & real)
    For crazy MG: Lemony Snicket in “Series of Unfortunate Events” (the fourth-wall stuff is fun)

  10. Millicent Min from Lisa Yee’s Millicent Min, Girl Genius immediately came to mind as one of my daughters used her opening remarks for a monologue in drama class. Also, Alexandria in Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl.

    • Liz–Aren’t these audio readers? I’m looking for who tells the story within the story… the literary narrator. Thanks!

  11. What fun, Shutta! But soooo hard to choose…I’ll go with Ry from As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth (Lynne Rae Perkins), Jack Gantos from Dead End in Norvelt (Jack Gantos), and of course, India Opal Buloni in Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo).

  12. I keep rethinking this short list–so many wonderful choices–but here goes:

    Holling Hoodhood in Gary D. Schmidt’s The Wednesday Wars
    Max in Rodman Philbrick’s Freak the Mighty (and Max the Mighty)
    Narrator in Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux
    Eloise in Kay Thompson’s Eloise