My favorite characters from the books I read as a child:
Betsy in the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace. She got into snowball fights, had the same best friend all through school, and fell in love with the theater after seeing her first play. She knew from an early age she was going to be a writer.
Laura Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie books. She loved wild places. Town was too noisy and crowded for her.
Ramona the Pest in the Beverly Cleary books. She was willing to make a Great Big Noisy Fuss to get what she wanted.
Holly Hollister in the Happy Hollister books. At the age of six, she was a detective, and she traveled with her family to all kinds of cool places all over the world. She was a tomboy who wore her long brown hair in pigtails.
Anne of Green Gables. She had a quick temper, she lived in daydreams half the time, and she romanticized nature shamelessly -- a kindred spirit.
Charlotte in Charlotte's Web. The little girl in the story falls apart when she hits puberty and the pig is just plain stupid, but the spider is damned smart. Did you know that a female spider will kill a male spider after mating with him? That's not in the book.
Jo in Little Women. A tomboy with lots of sisters. I hate the part when she cuts off her hair to sell it and one of her sisters says, "Oh, Jo ...your only beauty!"
Randy Melendy from The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. The third child in a close-knit family of four kids, she was always getting into scrapes but she put her whole self into anything she did.
Mary in the Secret Garden. She believed in magic.
Portia from Gone-Away-Lake. In one scene, she gets to play dress-up with beautiful old ballgowns from an ancient trunk.
Arrietty in the Borrowers. She didn't want to live trapped under the floor. She wanted to emigrate, live outside - and she did.
Betsy in the Carolyn Haywood books, especially Snowbound with Betsy. She decorated a tree with peanut butter for the birds and learned how to make angels in the snow.
Pippi in the Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. She was way stronger than most men. And totally unconventional. In one book, she gets to sail the south seas.
Posy in Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. Like me, she was the third girl in the family. She wanted to dance, and nothing would stop her.
Harriet M. Welch, in Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. She wanted to know everything and write it all down.