It took just seven books published over 10 years for the character of Harry Potter to make an impact on countless young readers. It's been 12 years since the final installment of the series hit shelves, but the love for J.K. Rowling's boy wizard is still strong. A poll conducted by The Works found Harry Potter to be the most inspirational character in children's books, beating out decades-old literary icons and other characters in the Harry Potter universe for the top spot, Yahoo! reports.

The Works, an organization that encourages reading among kids, surveyed 2000 parents to find out which characters in children's books they thought were most inspiring. Harry Potter, the protagonist of the book series that starts with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and ends with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, received the most votes. He's followed by two beloved Roald Dahl characters: Matilda at No. 2 and Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at No. 3. Hermione Granger, one of Harry's best friends throughout his years at Hogwarts, falls close behind him in the No. 4 slot.

The rest of the list of the 50 most inspirational children's book characters covers a diverse range of books, from classic, 19th-century literature to contemporary picture books. Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar are some other characters that made the round-up.

If you're looking for children's books that present good role models to young readers, the books mentioned above are good places to start. Here are even more essential books for children.

[h/t Yahoo!]