Establishing positive role models is really important in children for their development. The people they look up to, both in real life and through books and TV, will likely form the foundations for who and what they want to be when they grow up. The possibilities for children are endless and there are so many books out there, it’s hard to know which ones you should pick out and what characters you should introduce them to. We’ve put together a shortlist of a few book characters to guide you. These are all people we believe you can introduce to your children from a young age to ensure they have the best possible chance of taking an interest in healthy and positive future goals.
If your child loves non-fiction books, maybe try introducing them to Florence Nightingale. There are loads of children’s books and resources available about the lady with the lamp. Florence is commonly recognized as the founder of modern nursing. She is a great role model for children to look up to. She might foster a basic interest in looking after others and helping people for younger readers. She began nursing in the Crimean War, so her story also might start or encourage an interest in history. Older children may additionally find learning about her gets them interested in nursing and medicine. To elaborate, her story will teach your children about disease, and how infections are spread in unsanitary conditions. Florence was one of the pioneers in creating clean, hygienic hospital environments.
She received a lot of backlash from her family and had to fight for her right to be a nurse. Furthermore, throughout her life, she continuously had to battle and campaign for better hospital conditions that she knew were necessary. She was determined and never failed to stand up for what she believed in, which makes her an excellent role model for the developing minds of children. No matter what career a child chooses to pursue in the future, determination and the ability to fight for their beliefs will definitely help them achieve their goals.
Arguably, Florence was also one of the first people ever to use evidence-based practice in nursing, as she used statistics to prove patients would have better recovery rates in sanitary settings. She is responsible for a lot of the practices that are still used in the nursing profession to date. You can find books about Florence Nightingale for all age ranges from picture books for the very young to adult non-fiction biographies. She might even foster an interest in a nursing career for yourself!
‘Matilda’ is one of Roald Dahl’s most famous books. Not only is it a brilliant, creative, and hilarious story that is guaranteed to keep your child engaged and entertained but it also features Miss Honey. She is Matilda’s sweet, caring, and compassionate teacher who every single reader, without fail, will adore. Miss Honey is lovely to absolutely everyone and, therefore, is a great role model to any child, and especially any young aspiring teachers. Reading books like this with characters who are selfless, generous, and considerate is a really easy and fun way to encourage kindness in children. Miss Honey is not only compassionate but she also proves herself to be determined and strong-willed. Throughout the book, Miss Honey is ignored and fully dismissed over and over again about Matilda’s brilliance, but she does not listen. She continues encouraging Matilda and doing what she believes is right, despite criticism, which is undeniably a pretty inspiring trait!
This character will teach your child about the importance of being kind as well as the qualities of determination, self-belief, and encouragement. Miss Honey is the teacher everyone wants to be so if you want your children to become teachers or you have children who are interested in teaching, then definitely buy them a copy of Matilda and draw their attention to the character of Miss Honey. You just have to be careful your kids don’t take after Miss Trunchbull!
‘CeCe Loves Science’ is a great book for younger readers. If you have a little one who is interested in science or who you think might make a great scientist one day, definitely introduce them to Cece and her friends! This book encourages children to think laterally and invites them to interact with and, most importantly, ask questions about everything in the world around them. Not only that, but it takes them through a simplified version of the scientific method. Cece and her friend create a question, then put together and perform experiments on their own case study. Cece is inquisitive and follows her interests and curiosities to find a meaningful answer independently.
She is also a child, so kids will find her easy to relate to and may even be inspired to answer their own questions by designing an experiment just like Cece. If you want to encourage this, there are loads of great science resources for children online, which can take them through basic experiments and explain scientific concepts in a simplified, child-friendly way. Cece makes a great role model for young children, as she is independent, curious about the world, and proactive in problem-solving. With characters named after influential scientific figures such as Marie Curie and Einstein as well, this book is a great way to introduce young readers to science in a fun, no-pressure way and get them interested at an early age.
Obviously, your child is not going to grow up to become ‘The Lorax’, but Dr. Seuss’ fictional character has a lot of traits it might be a good idea to encourage in kids. For a start, the Lorax might inspire an appreciation for the environment or result in a possible future career in conservation. The story focuses on the destruction of all the ‘Truffula trees’, which results in no trees and no animals, and a barren landscape. The Lorax tried to speak up for the trees and protect them from being cut down and warn of the environmental consequences, but he was not able to stop them from being destroyed.
The story of The Lorax is a great way to introduce children to the idea of climate change and bring up big and important topics such as global warming, deforestation, and animal extinctions. Climate change is one of the biggest problems the next generation will face, so it is a great idea to begin making your children aware of these issues at a young age. At the end of the story, the last seed in the world is handed to the boy character who has listened to the story of environmental destruction along with the reader. This instills the idea that it is up to the reader to take some action.
After reading, you might want to encourage your child to do their own research and come up with some ways to positively impact the environment. This will, as an added benefit, set them up for the future, as they will know how to take proactive steps to achieve the goals they want. Throughout the story, the Lorax is very determined and has the courage to stand up for what he believes in, which just adds to how inspiring and what a good role model this character is for young children.
Again, this character is not on the list because it inspires children to become Willy Wonka or chocolatiers. Instead, it is the traits Willy Wonka possesses that are inspiring. In the book, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, Wonka manages to create an entire factory based off on the workings of his imagination. He is an innovator and an artist. His story will almost definitely motivate children to reach for their dreams. His character and his wonderous chocolate factory will encourage them to believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their future goals.
Additionally, Wonka’s character and the whole book praises imagination and creativity, which are both essential skills in life, particularly throughout childhood. Children with a creative flair, whether they express it through music or art or something else, could go on to be inventors, problem solvers, artists, or actors. The possibilities truly are endless, just like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!
These characters are all inspiring and make great role models for lots of different reasons. The information children process and absorb through things like books at a young age can last a lifetime and impact them in really significant ways in the future. The characters we have put on this list were not only successful in their chosen pursuits, but also possessed traits like kindness, determination, and creativity that will aid your child in future life, whatever they choose to do. Hopefully, whether your child is destined to have a future career in nursing or conservation or art, they will have a few inspiring role models from books to look up to now.