THE FIVE: Coolest Fictional Families
Recently, I found myself thinking about some of my favorite fictional families — those moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and close friends of the main characters who influence the tone and plot of a book despite limited time on the pages. Some of them even end up in their own spin-off series (I'm looking at you, Karen Brewer!).
I have a pretty amazing set of relatives, but even so, there are five fictional families in particular that always stuck out to me for being so loving, wacky, and welcoming. In no particular order, I present to you the five coolest fictional families:
The Weasleys (the Harry Potter series): Seriously, I don't know any Harry Potter fan who doesn't love the Weasleys. From the description of their lopsided, crowded, magical house to the ways they bicker and tease each other, they provide us readers a lot of laughs, a little bit of heartache, but most of all, a totally realistic portrayal of a family who fiercely love one another. Furthermore, they never hesitate to open their doors for family friends who need a place to rest their broomsticks.
The Ingalls (the Little House books): It's easy to romanticize life on a prairie, thinking it's all flowery farmlands and fresh breakfast mornings. But the Ingalls family were pioneers and faced very different challenges than a family like mine did. The semi-autobiographical books are based on writer Laura Ingalls Wilder's memories and research of her family's life in the Midwest during the late 19th century, where their geography necessitated a more insular type of living. This forced the Ingalls to be a cohesive unit whose success (or failure) depended on each of them. From the struggles of settling the land to overcoming malaria, there was never a dull moment at the Ingalls household — much like mine!
The Marches (Little Women): Like the Ingalls, the Marches had specific circumstances that strengthened their close bonds to one another. With Mr. March off at war, the sisters, their mother, and their housekeeper found ways to fend for themselves for everything from education to entertainment — despite their lack of wealth. Just like my sisters and me, the March girls — Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy — had different passions and plans for the future, and they sometimes fought and disagreed (though luckily, neither of my sisters ever burned one of my manuscripts in a fire!). Their family bond is unbreakable, despite eventual tragedies and distances.
The Berenstains (The Berenstain Bears series): Whether it's bedtime battles or chores, messy rooms or trouble with money, the lovable family of bears who live in the single coolest treehouse ever built always overcome their challenges. Mama, Papa, Brother, and Sister Bear offer life lessons in subtle ways, and when one of them mistreats the others, the family deals with it calmly and coolly. For a bunch of bears, they sure have great camaraderie and lots of adventures!
Rachel, Hilary, and Pursey (Dancing Shoes): A family doesn't need to be biological. In Dancing Shoes, Rachel and her adopted sister Hilary are forced to move in with their distant Aunt Cora and spoiled cousin Dulcie after the death of their mother. But Pursey, their housekeeper and general mother figure, shows them that the most important family bond is the one you choose and build yourself. Rachel and Hilary, through their many ups and downs, learn that they can count on each other; and as long as the loving Pursey is in their lives, their newfound family suits them just fine.
Who are some of your favorite fictional families?
— Morgan, Scholastic Staffer