There comes a time in every character's life when they are at a crossroad. They must face the simple, honest truths about life and how to live it, but often times they need the insight, advice and guidance from a friend, parent or stranger to help them choose their own destiny. Whether or not they listen to this lesson is their decision, but we, as readers on the sideline, implore them to follow or even sometimes abandon the advice given.
Within these moments of every novel, we learn about others, the world and most importantly ourselves. It is within these moments we connect to books, to characters, and to moments in our own lives when we needed to hear those words. And because of those moments, we keep those words close to our hearts because no one knows what the future holds. Someday we may need Mr. Browne from Wonder to remind us, "When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind."
But I worry for my students or anyone who may not have someone to talk to when they reach a turning point in their own lives. The greatest advice I can give to any student is to read books filled with strong characters. Read a lot of them. Reflect on the advice given to these characters, so that we can challenge our own thinking and build empathy towards others. We must force ourselves to grow, change, and evolve, so that we open our hearts to do better, be better, and live better-that's the simple, honest truth.
Here is my list of the top 10 fictional characters who gave the best advice:
10. Stella from The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
9. Chuck Bell (“Da Man”) from The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
8. Jack Baker’s Mom from Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool
7. Grim from Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
6. Ms. Emerson from Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
5. Mr. Daniels from Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
4. Mr. Potter from Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
3. Coach Salie from Now Is the Time for Running by Michael William
2. Miss Smith from The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
1. Pepere from A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord.
Yes, there are three pieces of advice from Pepere. How could I narrow it down to just one?
Elizabeth Snevily is a 7th grade Language Arts teacher in New Jersey. In between raising identical twin girls and working full-time, she always finds time to read during naps or before everyone in her house wakes up to start their day. Finding the right book for the right student is her favorite part of her job, and one that she holds dear to her heart. She knows books change lives, and hopes by the end of each school year, her students believe it, too.