Dear Book Lovers,

An editor I know once remarked that reading is an intimate experience–you hold a book 17 inches from your face. I had never thought of it that way before but I knew what he meant. Characters let us readers into their lives. They tell us what they think and what they feel. They tell us their secrets. Sometimes we feel we know them better than our real life friends.

For children and young adults I think book characters can also become role models. Often children read books in which the main characters are a little older than they are. Those characters often have experiences that the child reader has yet to have and so show the child what to expect and how to navigate the new experiences. This is terrific if the main character has “character.” But what if the main character doesn’t?

Consider this. A main character becomes, in a sense, a friend to the child reader. Would you want this book character for a real life friend for your child?