In June 1997 five hundred copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone were published in the United Kingdom.
Fifteen years later there is hardly a home in Britain – or around the world – that has not caught a glimpse into the world of wizards and muggles. Many children have been totally transported by J K Rowling’s books and even the youngest member of the Kideeko family (aged 4 ¾) has already been asking how old he has to be before he too will receive an owl-delivered letter from Hogwarts!
So, why should Harry Potter’s magic matter to a muggle family?
For decades now, each new generation has grown up with a series of books that have become a part of their culture. Those that have stood the test of time seem to have something about them that young readers connect to. A sense of belonging, and an ability to provide an escape to a world where the reader can live along side the characters and experience their adventures.
Having characters that readers can relate to - we all know a quirky, mean or wise teacher even if they can't teach us how to make someone disappear - and characters that we love to hate or love to cheer for, can capture a child and hook them into becoming an avid reader.
Creating a world that has parallels with ours but with distinct differences also makes the books easy to connect with, for example we all know what banks are, but our banks don’t have Goblins running them – do they?
Harry Potter appeals to both girls and boys and many children that have grown up with the books have become keen readers as a result, inspiring some to even put pen to paper and write, perhaps with hopes of one day becoming authors themselves.
The Harry Potter books have reached far beyond the pages and as well as the many movies, attractions and merchandise, there are also clubs and societies for a whole generation that have unwrapped the wonder of Harry Potter’s world.
Even reluctant fiction readers, once tempted to read a chapter or two, have discovered the magic that can hide inside their own imaginations. Giving a child the opportunity to see just how the words on the page can come alive in their minds is an important step in building creativity and a true love of reading that will last a lifetime. Uncovering an imagination and sparking it to life with just words on a page is what really makes books like J K Rowling’s Harry Potter series special.
So, as all of us at Kideeko Headquarters have been fans for the past fifteen years, we would like to thank J K Rowling for her hard work and for sharing her wonderful wizarding world with so many of us and wish her and Harry Potter a very Happy Anniversary.
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