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This novel is a Bildungsroman, meaning it tells the story of a child growing up into an adult.  We meet Ender first as the youngest child in the Wiggin family, with a bullying older brother, Peter, and an affectionate sister, Valentine.  Both the siblings have undergone (and failed) preliminary testing for the Army project to find a good person to lead their next struggle against the Buggers.  Ender, even though he is a Third (a socially unwelcome third child) is given a chance (because the Wiggin genes are good candidates).  His leadership skills are explored and tested in Battle school, with mock battles that call for creative thinking, analytical skills, bravery, and daring, along with compassion and the absence of an egoistic personality with an inflated sense of self-importance.  These traits are discovered in Ender as he plays the battle games and is observed by Colonel Graff and his staff.  In certain isolated incidents, his brutality is tested and found sufficiently in control to avoid bloodlust or bragging.  The other students in the Battle School automatically follow his leadership, giving him an authority earned by his decisions.

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