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Reading Harry Potter

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 21-01-2008

My seven year old turns eight in March. Many of her 2nd grade classmates, especially the boys, have already read most if not all the Harry Potters, and have even seen all the movies. Over the holiday break, I suggested to my daughter that we finally break into

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1) and see what all the fuss was about. Lost as she usually is in books about princesses or American Girl dolls, she wasn’t too interested. By the second chapter though, she was hooked. At every occasion, she begs for me to read Harry Potter to her, and many of our conversations are reviews of the plot and mystery. She even reads to me as well, and some times will advance a chapter or two without me when the suspense gets too great.

As a dad, I’d say the books are marginally good. They are not “great” fiction, but are well-written and creative enough to hold an older person’s interest. The big draw, I now realize, though, is the wonder of watching your child have their first real immersive literary experience. My daughter can imagine this world, all through our reading it together.

We’ve now watched the movie together as well, and I’ve been happy that most of my character name pronunciations were correct. I also did a pretty good impersonation of Hagrid, a giant, who has the most distinctive accent so far.

I’ve been told that the tales get “darker” as they go along, with plenty of betrayal and violence. We’re proceeding cautiously at this point, which will increasingly become a challenge, as my daughter asks every afternoon when she gets home from school, “Can we read just a little bit?.” As dads of daughters can attest. it’s always hard to say, “no.”