In the real world, where less than four percent of the population has red hair, being born a redhead means you'll grow up feeling incredibly unique. Judging from a quick scan of my Facebook friends, only 2.3 percent of people I know are redheads, and a third of those people are related to me. But the percentage seems to be significantly higher in the world of children's literature. When I was asked to pick my top redheaded literary characters, so many ideas sprang to mind that it was difficult to narrow down my list. (I briefly considered saving time by listing all nine Weasleys, but that seemed like cheating.)
If you're a natural redhead, meeting another redhead is kind of like meeting someone who grew up in your hometown--there are certain things you inherently understand about each other. When you were children, strangers were probably always reaching out to pet you, as if you were a kitten. You've never been able to hide in a crowd successfully. The tiniest things make you blush from the roots of your hair to the middle of your chest. The sun is your mortal enemy, and you never leave the house without sunscreen. People sometimes fail to learn your name, assuming you'll answer to "Red." (And let's face it, you probably do.) If you're a woman, strange men often approach you on the street and tell you about their "thing for redheads." Everyone assumes you have a nasty temper.
Because of all these similarities, people often fail to look past the top of a ginger's head and realize that redheads are an incredibly diverse bunch. Perhaps my favorite thing about the group of characters listed below is that it shows just how different redheads can be. Underneath those fiery locks and freckles, there are introverts and extroverts, firecrackers and daydreamers, badasses and sweethearts.
Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present to you my top redheads from literature.
(If this list makes you hungry for more fictional redheads, check out my debut young adult novel, "RED," which hits shelves today! It takes places in Scarletville, Iowa, where your social standing is determined by the redness of your hair. I can count the non-redheaded characters on one hand!)