Make a Character List
It can be helpful to keep track of a book’s characters from the beginning. Get a blank character list ready when you begin reading and fill it in as you go. In the first column (Character) write down a character’s name when they first appear in the story. The second column (Page) is where you write down the page number of every page where something important happens to the character. In the third column (Details) write down what you learn about the character throughout the book. Think in terms of who the character is related to, where they live, what their personality is like, etc.
Keep in mind that characters don’t have to be people. Sure, characters can be animals if that’s how the book is written, but characters can also be symbols that reappear throughout the story. In your Character List, write down everything that takes on a life of its own in the story. If you later decide that what you thought was a “character” is really not one, then remove it from the list.
Keep this Character List with you as a reference as you read and add to it as needed. You can also revise the list as you go because sometimes we make assumptions about a characters (he’s bad!) but later find out we were wrong (he’s actually the hero!).