When the Harry Potter books came out, I was 13. I considered myself “too old” for Harry Potter. While that two year difference may seem minimal now, I really thought it was a big deal back then. Because of this, I didn’t read the books growing up, but rather came to them as a much older teenager (after seeing a few of the movies). But the second that I realized the awesomeness of J.K. Rowling’s world, I decided that my future children will grow up reading the books, even though I didn’t.
Here are four reasons why:
1.They are crazy imaginative. When I finally picked up the books, I couldn’t believe the detail of the world that Rowling had created. There are enchanted objects, many different types of spells, and a depth of history and backstory. The world of the Harry Potter series is believable because of how thoughtfully Rowling meshed it with our own “muggle” world. But they are also believable because she takes care to answer any questions a reader might have about what people wear, eat, do, play and believe in that place. There is butterbeer and chocolate frogs, and there are dementors and Azkaban.
2. They get a little bit dark. Speaking of Azkaban, one of my favorite things about the series is how dark it can sometimes get. Many central characters die, and there are scary monsters, and scary emotional ramifications for all the characters. Why would I want my kids to read about such things? Because I believe that dealing with fictional darkness and fictional ramifications help people to process the far scarier things going on in the real world. The struggle of the central three children in the face of the darker fantasy elements are something that every child could relate to on a metaphorical level.
3. They deal with timeless issues. One of the biggest issues in the Harry Potter series is, basically, racism. The phrase “mud-blood” could easily strand in for another terrible slur. In addition to that there are issues of growing up, dealing with tragedy, believing in yourself, and most importantly, standing up for what is right.
4. Hermione. The wonderful Hermione is one of the best female characters in genre fiction. Not only does she solve a lot of the problems that the characters face, but she is smart, funny and kind. She also ends up with Ron instead of Harry, which means she’s not a reward for Harry’s heroic behavior, but rather a hero on equal footing with her own personality. I would want my future little boys and girls to get the message that girls are heroes too!
Anyone not convinced? What series would you want your children to read?