R is for Rudy
Rudy Steiner from The Book Thief is one of my all time favorite characters. (I've already established one too many times perhaps that Markus Zusak is one of my all time favorite authors). Rudy is protagonist Liesel's best friend. He's constantly trying to win a kiss from her, and he antagonizes her at the same time. Rudy's defining moment is the "Jesse Owens Incident." Rudy, a blonde haired, blue eyed 10ish year old, takes a piece of coal, paints himself black, and heads out to the nearest track in his Nazi Germany town to run laps. I'd love him just for the Jesse Owns incident, but he protects Liesel throughout the book like any true childhood best friend would. Rudy is gutsy, brave, stubborn, and protective - a perfect BFF.