Esther Walker is the younger sister of Addy Walker.
Personality and Facts
Esther is a young child of just around one year old at the start of the series; thus she has very little personality seen by Addy, other than her being a baby. She has big dark round eyes. Addy remembers when Esther was born, and the way the family fussed over her. Esther turns two sometime before the events of Happy Birthday, Addy! (even though she is not with the family) and is two years old when Lula and her return to the family. She is still two during the late January events of Addy's Wedding Quilt and stated to be three by the start of Addy's Summer Place, implying an early quarter birthday in either February or early March.
It is unsaid who watches her while the rest of the family is at labor, but given that Momma is a seamstress and thus does not do field work, it is possible that she is able to watch her.
Given her young age--while she is enslaved--she does not work like the rest of her family. She spends nearly two years away from her parents and siblings after Ben and Sam are sold and Addy and Ruth run to freedom in the north, being left in the care of Solomon and Lula as it was risky to bring her without Ben and Sam to carry her. She was given Addy's doll Janie to keep with her and remember her by.
While Addy and her family are constantly thinking about her over the series while they are separated, she does not return to her family until Changes for Addy; she is mentioned frequently. She is around two years old at the time and at first she does not know or remember her family well, though Lula and Solomon spoke of the Walkers often so she'd remember. She quickly warms up to them after her return, especially Addy. She idolizes Addy and wants to be like her; because of this, she quite often gets in Addy's way, tagging after her, and messing with her things without meaning to or repeating after her. She is friendly, but recognizes mean treatment from others as she matures.
In The Books
Meet Addy: An American Girl
Esther is a young child of about one; she and Addy share a sleeping pallet. The initial plan of escape included that she was going to be carried by Sam and Poppa to freedom, but when they are sold away Ruth makes the difficult decision to leave her behind because she can't be carried safely by the two of them and be able to keep quiet on the journey, even though Addy pleads to bring her and offers to let her have Janie to keep quiet. Ruth and Addy leave Esther to be cared for by Uncle Solomon and Auntie Lula. Momma and Addy are despondent at leaving her behind, but Momma believes she'll be safe because Master Stevens can't make any money selling a baby.
Addy leaves her doll Janie behind with Esther to remember her by.
Changes for Addy: A Winter Story
Esther is constantly mentioned through other books while she is apart from the family.
Since the end of the war, the family has been searching to locate Esther, Auntie Lula, and Uncle Solomon. Sam has returned as of Addy Saves the Day, leaving the three of them the last missing members.
The letter Addy receives from Bertha Gilbert tells the Walkers that Lula, Solomon, and Esther were last seen in a freedman's camp outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. Esther had a bad cold and Lula cared for her until she was better, staying up with her all night even though she wasn't feeling well herself. As soon as Esther was better, they left--a week before Addy's letter arrived.
One evening a few days before Christmas, as Addy is headed home from a unplanned visit to City Hospital, she decides to stop by First Baptist Church so that she and Sam do not have to stop there the next day. She then spots an elderly woman making her way slowly down the steps, and as Addy gets closer she sees the woman is bent over helping a small child walk down the stairs. The light from inside the church shines on their faces, and Addy recognizes both of them immediately; she has pressed the memory of Esther's face into her mind since the night she and Momma ran for freedom. She calls Esther's name, then Lula's, and once Lula recognizes her she throws her arms around both of them. Addy hugs them both tight--they are both so thin that her arms can go around both of them. Lula prompts Esther to be friendly by saying this is Addy, her sister. Esther looks at Addy and is shy when Lula asks her what her sister's name is, hiding her face in Lula's dress. She then shyly says "Her name Addy!"--the first time she speaks in the series.
When Addy returns with Lula and Esther, Esther starts crying when everyone is. Momma picks Esther up and kisses her repeatedly, thanking Lula for bringing her back her baby. Esther stops crying, but reaches for Lula, making Ruth nearly cry--but this time because her daughter doesn't know her. Lula tries to coax her to see her family but she hides her face in Lula's chest; Lula says she'll come around and that she's tired. She remains in Lula's lap while she tells about the last days on the plantation, the three of them leaving the plantation, and Solomon's passing. The three were in a camp in Virginia when Esther got sick and they couldn't keep traveling until she was better.
When Ruth says that she'll help Esther and Lula get ready to rest in the bed upstairs, Lula asks Addy to reach in the bundle with her and get out Esther's doll and she can't sleep without it. Both Addy and Esther say "Janie!" when they see the doll, and when Lula asks Esther who gave her the doll, Esther says that her sister Addy did; this indicates that while she doesn't truly know or remember the Walkers yet, she has been told about them from Lula and Solomon.
Lula takes Addy's bed that night with Esther with her, Esther is still asleep when Addy leaves for school; she kisses the two lightly enough to not wake them. Esther goes down to supper with her family, which leaves Addy and Lula privacy to talk.
When Addy is despondent on New Year's Eve (following the death of Auntie Lula and feeling that her family is not truly reunited in freedom) Esther tries to comfort her with Janie. Addy takes the doll, but says that her family never saw Esther's first steps or heard her first words, and that they can't get back the lost time.
When Addy is nervous before reading the proclamation, she sees Esther--whose babyhood had been lost in slavery--and this, along with other thoughts of her family, help her to read the proclamation. After the midnight bells, when Addy comes down into the crowd to find her family, Esther finds her first, slipping her hand in Addy's. Addy smiles down at her asks her where they're going. Esther replies "home," and Addy says that's right, they're going home together.
Addy kisses Esther before she heads to school with the quilt she is having Miss Dunn help her with.
Esther is present when Addy comes to ask Ruth about her and Ben jumping the broom; she is playing with her doll, Janie. When Ruth laments that no one jumps the broom anymore--and that she jumped quite high at her wedding--Esther chirps in that she wants to jump the broom too, and amuses her and Addy.
When Addy figures out what applique to put on the wedding quilt for her patents, she says "I got it!" out loud. This alerts Esther, who asks for some of what she thinks Addy has. Addy tells her to go to sleep, Esther repeats her, and Poppa then tells them both to go to sleep.
Esther gets underfoot while Addy is trying to make her kite, even plopping down to say she's ready to help when Poppa asks Addy if she's ready to put the frame together. Addy tries to move her out the way and she screams she wants to help. Sam tries to keep Esther occupied by drawing with her, and Addy says Esther's already knotted the string and glued her own fingers together. As Addy is trying to put the paper to the frame Esther gets up and trips over it, twisting the frame and damaging the paper. Addy yells at her and is consequently scolded by Momma to be kind to Esther. Addy says it's hard to do as Esther is constantly in her way, stating how Esther has damaged her school supplies often; Momma says this is because Esther wants to be just like Addy.
When Addy hides the recommendation letter from Miss Dunn out of shame at her family not being able to afford the fees, Esther fishes it out of Addy's bag and gives it to Momma. This is how the family learns Addy has been recommended for the I.C.Y.. When Addy finds this out, she hugs Esther (who is scribbling on Addy's slate) and says she's glad Esther wants to be like her.
Esther accompanies Momma and Addy on their trip to Cape Island to visit Poppa; she is now stated to be three years old. She is wearing a new yellow dress on the train trip, and when Addy say she's too excited to eat, Esther repeats her.
When Addy goes to fetch water for their campsite, Esther goes with her and picks flowers. They run into a pair of young white children, a younger boy and a slightly older girl. Esther holds out flowers to the boy to take in a kind gesture. The young boy tries to be kind in return to Esther (Addy helps by giving her name to him), but his older sister snatches him back and spanks him for being friendly with coloreds. Esther agrees with Addy that the older girl is mean.
On the beach, Esther is scared to go deep into the water and clings to Momma as Addy swims.
After the family are threatened with eviction, Esther gets extremely sick with an illness implied to be pneumonia. In her lack of lucidity she cries out for Auntie Lula. Her life is saved by Elizabeth Cope, and in the aftermath the truth is revealed about Elizabeth's origins.
Esther was not cast by an actor. Her role was instead done with a prop doll wrapped in a blanket. She is left behind with Auntie Lula and returns with her at the end of the play; because of this, she is still a "baby" at the end rather than getting any older.
- See details in Personality and Facts.
- Addy's Little Brother