Read Harry Potter to your Kids

I’m a big fan of long, complicated stories with lots of pieces that may or may not fit together and mean something at the end. I was addicted to “The X-Files” and “Lost”, and almost threw my TV out the window at the end of the final episodes. “Twin Peaks”… the lesser-known “Alias”. It’s way too common to find yourself thinking things you shouldn’t say in front of your kids when these stories don’t deliver the big pay-off.

If you agree with any part of what you just read, you owe it to YOURSELF (and, of course, your kids) to read them the Harry Potter book series. I won’t speak ill of the movies; I enjoyed them all and they did a nice job of telling the story, but there’s so much more to the  books. Once you’ve read them, I think you’ll agree that several should have received the “2 movie” treatment they gave the last one.

First, the books grow up with the reader. The first volume, “The Sorcerers Stone”, is suitable for pretty young kids. The heroes are young, the “scary” parts are stressful but not horrible, and nightmares are unlikely. While you hear old stories about students dying in the earlier books, no current student dies until book 4, so by then your child will probably be a year or two older and more ready for it. By the time you get to the fifth and sixth books, major characters are dying and the whole “wizarding world,” including Harry, may be at risk. By the time you’re in the final book, you’re ready for the final battle between good and evil, with sacrifice, honor and perseverance working to try and win the day.

The literary prose are not brilliant, but the storytelling is magical. Unlike the examples I started with, this story will have you gasping in later books as you suddenly realize how important “that little thing in book three” really was. ALL of your big questions are answered, along with some forehead-slapping answers to things you never thought to ask. I don’t know how she did all of this, especially considering she was living in a car when she first created the story. It’s obvious she had huge pieces of this whole story figured out while she was writing that first book.

Even if your kids are grown, read them to yourself. Several years ago, I saw a story where a magazine had asked several authors to recommend what they considered to be “Harry Potter for ‘grown-ups'”. It was Stephen King who answered, indignantly, “‘HARRY POTTER’ is ‘Harry Potter for grown-ups'”. Don’t miss out.

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