Characters in Mind: How Readers Recognize Literary Persons across Narratives

Binge-watching became a habit for my kids and me long before the Covid pandemic. It has already been a few years since the four of us devoured all Shrek movies together in a single weekend, but I remember being amazed that our children, without giving it much thought, recognized among the cast Cinderella, Rapunzel, Rumpelstiltskin, and a bunch of other characters they knew from our bedtime readings. What really got me thinking, though, was that my kids recognized Pinocchio, a character they had only ‘met’ during our then recent summer vacation in Italy. Obviously, they still had the little wooden boy in their minds after seeing him several times in souvenir stores.