Kenneth Bernard "Kenny" Watson - The main character and narrator of the story, as well as the younger of the two sons of the Watsons. Kenny is ten years old. He has a lazy eye and is an excellent student, both of which make him the target of bullying at Clark Elementary School. Kenny's favorite song is Yakity Yak.
Wilona Sands Watson - Usually called Momma. She's the mother of the three children and the wife of Daniel. A native of Birmingham, she slips into a thick Southern accent when mad or excited and complains about Flint's harsh winters. She is strict and overprotective but loves her kids. Whenever Wilona wants to laugh she puts her hand up to her mouth because of a gap between her front two teeth. Wilona wants Byron to become mature and set a good example for Kenny and Joey. Wilona's favorite song is Under the Boardwalk.
Daniel Watson - Father of the three children. He's known for having a good sense of humor and the husband of Wilona. He is referred to as "Dad". When he and Wilona got married, they promised to always be there for each other.
Byron Watson - Older brother of Kenny and Joey. He is considered the "God" of Clark Elementary School. He bullies kids along with his best friend Buphead. He is known for being a terrible student and is known for breaking the rules and being a rebel. Byron is thirteen.
Joetta "Joey" Watson - Younger sister of Byron and Kenny. She follows the rules and is very religious. Joey has a special relationship with Byron. Joey is five.
Buphead - Byron's best friend who is also an "official delinquent" helps Byron bully many kids, including his brother. Byron and Buphead standup for Kenny and Rufus when they're being bullied by Larry.
Grandma Sands - Grandmother of Kenny, Byron, and Joey, mother of Wilona, and mother-in-law of Daniel. She is supposed to be very strict. Seen by Wilona, Kenny, Byron, Joey, and Daniel when they arrived in Birmingham. Laughs like an evil witch. Grandma Sands walks with a cane due to having a stroke. Her husband died before the book began.
Rufus Fry - Kenny's new best friend and Cody's big brother. His family moves to Flint from the South. He and his little brother Cody befriend Kenny. He isn't very well with boanding in school.
Cody Fry - Rufus's little brother. Rufus and Cody come from a poor Southern African American family. Rufus and Cody aren't seen or mentioned in the movie.
Lawrence "Larry" Dunn - the school bully in Kenny and Rufus's class. Larry is older than Kenny and Rufus because he was held back.
Mr. Robert - is a dear friend of Grandma Sands. Mr. Robert started helping Grandma Sands out around the house after her husband died. It's hinted that Grandma Sands has a crush on Mr. Robert.
Mrs. Davidson - is the religious next door neighbor of the Watsons. Joey goes to church with Mrs. Davidson three times a week. Sometimes Wilona makes Kenny go to Sunday School with Joey.