American Girl Wiki

These are minor characters in the Chrissa Maxwell books and movie.


Amanda is Chrissa's best friend and still lives in Iowa. She is blonde and slightly plump. Amanda made Chrissa a friendship bracelet before she moved.

In the movie, Amanda is mentioned a few times throughout the film and briefly appears at the end, where she comes to visit Chrissa, Gwen, and Sonali in Edgewater.

Mr. Beck[]

Mr. Beck is Chrissa's fourth-grade homeroom teacher and swim coach. He is African-American and married--he says he is going home after school for a Valentine's Day date with his wife.

He is portrayed by Don Franklin in the movie.

Mrs. James[]

Tara's mother, who owns and runs three hair salons and spas. She thinks that Tara can do no wrong. She is mentioned in the movie but not portrayed.

Tara James[]

Tara James is the leader of the Queen Bees, which is usually called the Mean Bees, and Chrissa's main antagonist. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and is described as very petite and very pretty.

She has been friends with Sonali since preschool; in the movie, the three girls have all known each other since preschool. Tara is very spiteful, malicious and goes out of her way to bully Gwen and Chrissa. Tara thinks of herself as perfect and better than other students, and her friends' reassurance only boosts her arrogance. Tara's attitude is enforced by the fact that her mother thinks she can do no wrong. Tara is on the swim team and competes fiercely with Chrissa; they are the two best swimmers.

Her mother owns and runs several hairdressing studios and salons (in the film, her mother is a hairdresser). Tara uses this to persuade Gwen into letting her style her hair then cutting Gwen's hair poorly. She also taunts Tyler into doing a difficult dive without supervision which led to physical injury for Tyler.

In the movie, Tara is portrayed by Adair Tishler


A friend of Tyler's and a student in Chrissa's class. He is African-American.

He is played by Christain Pikes in the movie.

Jadyn Johnson[]

Jadyn Johnson is Tara's friend and a fellow member of the Queen Bees.

She has dark-brown hair and jade-green eyes. She does whatever Tara says, and thinks that Tara is beyond perfect and will do whatever she is told to do. Chrissa thinks she talks with an upward inflection to make every sentence sound like a question. She has a pink Motorola RAZR phone in the movie, like Sonali. Jadyn is very skilled with computers.

In the movie, Jadyn is portrayed by Shelby Harmon; she has blonde hair and brown eyes and her name is spelled Jayden.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson[]

The Johnsons are Jadyn's parents, and both are computer experts who do Web design. They helped Mr. Beck set up a message board for the swim team. Their house is filled with printouts and computer equipment. Mr. Johnson is seen wearing a Minnesota Twins cap and is described as being bald and thick-necked.

Mr. and Mrs. Johnson neither appear in, nor are mentioned in the movie.

Louise Hanlon[]

Chrissa's maternal widowed grandmother, whom Chrissa calls Nana.

She raises mini-llamas and spins their hair into yarn; she and Chrissa's late grandfather used to raise full-sized llamas but with his illness and later death she has instead transitioned to mini-llamas. She often gives Chrissa advice about friendship and adjusting to their new home.

She is portrayed by ​Michael Learned in the movie.

Mrs. Matthews[]

Sonali Matthews's mother.

Mrs. Mathews works as a realtor. Her parents are from India and she has two older daughters who are already in college.

Mrs. Mathews becomes good friends with Gwen's mother, Janine, after helping the Thompsons find an apartment. Initially, she disapproves Sonali's friendship with Tara and Jadyn, and it is only after Sonali becomes Chrissa and Gwen’s friend that she changes her mind, and is more proud of her daughter.

Mrs. Mathews appears briefly towards the beginning of the movie when she makes Sonali return Chrissa's stolen valentines and apologize, grounding her daughter for a week afterward. Later, her voice is heard via cell phone when Sonali needs to be unexpectedly picked up from Chrissa's house upon remembering she told Tara she would help her with her homework. At the end of the film, Mrs. Mathews is among the parents who watch the school's presentation on bullying. She smiles proudly when Sonali makes her speech.

Mr. Matthews[]

Sonali's father. He wears a tie and has well-groomed fingernails.

Mr. Matthews is not portrayed in the movie.

Meg Maxwell[]

Meg Maxwell is Chrissa's mother. She has dark hair and works as a doctor at St. Luke's Hospital in Edgewater, Minnesota. Louise Hanlon is her mother.

In the movie, when Chrissa quits the swim team because of Tara, Meg helps Chrissa realize that this has made her act as less than she is and tells her about how the kids were mean to her when she was a kid. She was getting the highest grades in her class, so her classmates started calling her names like "egghead," "brainiac," "bookworm" and "Miss Square." This led to her purposefully failing to make them stop teasing her. It was later that she realized these actions made her feel less than who she was and tells her daughter that it’s never smart to be less than who you are or to let anyone take anything away from you.

She is portrayed by Annabeth Gish in the movie.

Paul Maxwell[]

Chrissa's father. He is a ceramic artist and makes pottery and dishware through his studio, Maxwell Pottery.

He is portrayed by Timothy Bottoms in the movie.

Tyler Maxwell[]

Chrissa's brother. He is eleven months older than Chrissa and in the fifth grade. Tyler is somewhat nerdy and specializes his knowledge in astronomy. He doesn't easily pick up on body language and isn't so smart at figuring out other kids, which is how the Queen Bees use him to bully Chrissa.

He is portrayed by Austin Thomas in the movie.

Mrs. Rundell[]

Chrissa's art teacher.

She is rather eccentric and has a magic wand she waves around in class. Chrissa loves art class and Mrs. Rundell is among her favorite people at Edgewater Elementary. She is the first person Chrissa opens up to about Tara's bullying.

She is played by Jennifer Tilly in the movie.

Janine Thompson[]

Gwen Thompson's mother.

Janine and Gwen had to live together in their car for several months after they lost their house, due to the loss of Janine's husband. (Mr. Thompson left her in the books after becoming unemployed, but it is implied that he passed away in the movie.) Once winter arrived, Janine and Gwen began staying at the homeless shelter, Sunrise House. Sunrise House helped Janine get a new job and, near the end of Chrissa (and the movie), she and Gwen move into a new apartment.

She is played by Jennifer Parsons in the movie.

Mrs. Ziminsky[]

The principal of Edgewater Elementary.

She suspends Tara for three days because of her behavior and Sonali and Jayden are suspended for only one day (after it is confessed that what had happened wasn't the first time Tara, Jayden, and Sonali had ganged up on Gwen). Although, when Jayden and Sonali receive their suspension(s), Jayden asks the principal if the suspension would "go on her record". Mrs. Ziminsky sort of gives Jayden a "look" and it is implied that she extended her suspension due to her attitude (although that is unknown). After Sonali tells Mrs. Ziminsky the truth about how they found out Gwen's secret, Mrs. Ziminsky compliments her on how it is not always easy to tell the truth, yet she did, which was very brave. However, Sonali was still suspended for one day due to her past "bullying encounters" with Gwen.

She is played by ​Joanne Baron in the movie.