fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsI was scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I saw an interesting post: A link to a news article with the comment by my friend, “I can’t believe they didn’t include Harry!” Several other people had commented agreeing that no Harry was a huge oversight. My curiosity piqued, I clicked the link to discover The Guardian‘s list of top ten heroes from children’s books (it’s a slideshow). Now, this is a list chosen from all children’s fiction, and not just fantasy, but I was surprised to see that Lyra Belaqua from Phillip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials was the only character from a fantasy novel. And while I may not insist on Harry Potter being on there – I always thought Neville was the true hero of those stories – I did not agree with the inclusion of Lyra (I wasn’t that impressed with The Golden Compass, honestly) and thought that there would be other better heroes to be picked from among the ranks of fantasy greats.

In no particular order, my list:

  1. Harimad Sol, The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
  2. Princess Cimorene, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
  3. Sadima and Hahp, A Resurrection of Magic series by Kathleen Duey
  4. Lucy, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  5. James, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  6. Sandry, Tris, Daja and Briar; The Circle of Magic quartet by Tamora Pierce
  7. Menolly, Dragonsong and Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey
  8. Meg Murray, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  9. Will Stanton, The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper
  10. Neville Longbottom, Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

(Note to self: Must write reviews for The Blue Sword, James and the Giant Peach, and the Dragonsong books.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews So, dear readers, I ask you, what do you think of this list? Have I not included your favorite character? Do I have impeccable taste? Have I included someone so insufferable that you feel you must lob a crusty roll at my head in protest? If you had to pick a top ten list of children’s and YA fantasy heroes, who would it have to include?

We’ll include you in a drawing to win a copy of Bite Me: A Love Story by Christoper Moore, a decidedly not YA novel which Stephen loved and reviewed. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can also pick a book from our stacks.


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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