HIS magical adventures have enchanted a generation of children and made his Scottish author into an international literary star.

Now J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter has been named the most inspirational children’s book character, beating fellow wizarding student Hermione Granger to the top spot.

The boy wizard won the hearts of readers throughout the seven book instalments, which chart his time at the mystical school Hogwarts after discovering his magical powers at the age of 11.

Harry went on to fight off Dementors, trolls and giant spiders across the books, which were later brought to life on the silver screen through box office hits.

The works of Scottish authors or tales inspired by Scotland were placed highly in a top ten of inspirational characters picked through a poll of 2,000 parents, conducted by The Works book store, which is campaigning for parents to encourage their children embrace reading.

J.M Barrie's Peter Pan, beloved by children for a century, came in at number seven, while Peter Rabbit - whose author Beatrix Potter drew on her childhood holidays in Dunkeld, Perthshire - was tenth.

Coming in at second was Roald Dahl’s uber intelligent Matilda, closely followed by the author’s Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


Peter Pan remains popular

Also making the top 50 inspirational children’s characters were Mary Poppins and Paddington Bear.

Residents of A.A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood proved popular, with Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin and Tigger all featuring in the list.

Dr Jane Murray, who specialises in early childhood education, said on behalf of The Works: “The research shows how books are as important as ever and the positive impact they have on a child’s development and relationship with their parents and other carers.

“At the heart of every story there is a good character and the research shows how nostalgic and classic characters continue to inspire parents and children throughout life.

“It’s great to see how adults are helping their children to embrace reading and discover fictional worlds and characters who can influence their child’s behaviour and outlook.”

The research found that most parents read with their children five times a week, while and enjoy lingering over the bedtime story.

A further 70 per cent think it’s important for children to have inspirational characters to look up to in stories, and four in 10 typically try to read books along these lines.

More than one third have read a book they loved from their own childhood to their offspring, and 62 per cent of modern kids ‘loved’ the classic read.


Peter rabbit is a children's favourite

Despite this, most parents said today’s books are better than their own youthful stories.

The study also proved how reading is still vital to parent and child relationships today, with four out of five stating it is one of the best ways to bond with their kids.

Dr Murray added: “Books not only help children to learn, but they also help them to be happier.

“Babies attune to the human voice to help them to learn, so when a parent and young child focus together on a book, for example, pointing at pictures and repeating the words together, their joint attention helps the young child to develop important knowledge and skills about language and reading.”