Saturday, July 09, 2011

Harry Potter

Waves of Harry Potter nostalgia are washing over me this weekend. This lovely article "How J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter Saved Reading" By Norman Lebrecht in the Wall Street Journal today tributes the school library for introducing the book to his family.
My family experience traces the phenomenon to the school library. Our youngest daughter brought home a copy around year four, when she was 9. Her elder sisters commandeered it and insisted that the parents read as well. What Ms. Rowling achieved—long before Warner Bros. adapted her work into films, the last of which will be released next week—was a children-led read-in that crossed all age barriers, uniting families in a primal fireside act of sharing an unfolding story, page by page.
I remember that summer when I started reading Sorceror's Stone with entling no. 3. After two afternoons of reading aloud, together, she took the book upstairs and finished it on her own and pronounced it a grand read. I credit JK Rowling with her reading fluency to this day.

I was very fortunate at the start of my school librarian career. My first year as a school librarian saw the stampede for books about the Titanic, thanks to the movie. At that point we only had Exploring the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard and a picture book biography about Molly Brown, Heroine of the Titanic by Elaine Landau.  Publishers soon got up to speed. (I remember the almost mele at the Little Brown booth for Inside the Titanic.)

Then there was Harry, wonderful Harry. I met a former student, not long ago, who recalled that I handed him a copy of the first book and he became a reader from that day forward. Rowling's books made every librarian look good as children clamored for the books.

As I look forward to the final film chapter of Harry's story on Friday I am reminded of how exciting it was to anticipate the very first movie along with my students. Seeing photo stills of Hogwarts with the floating candles in the great hall was thrilling. As the end of his film journey is at hand, I am cheered to see the books still being checked out by a new generation of readers in school libraries today. I am so happy the my family and I were there for the first grand ride.

3 comments:

tanita davis said...

::nostalgic sigh::

I love the magic.
I want more.
I want to see what JK does NEXT. As a writer, I really hope she doesn't let this become her entire legacy - there are worlds within worlds inside of her - and we want to see MORE!

- Greedy Reader

Camille said...

T--
I know exactly what you mean. They've been running all the movies this weekend in a run-up to the final movie's release and I was reminded again how much I HATED the way they depicted the stairs in Hogwarts moving. It was so magical in the book and so mechanical in the movies. I wonder if Rowling thinks she can never equal this? Will Pottermore.com mean more stories? I am really not interested in a lexicon. LOVED Rowling's dress at the movie premier in London. Did you see it?

PJ Binns said...

I have to say that as a child I used to love to read. Once I graduated from college and started working, I found it difficult to find any books of any interest. Once the first Potter book came to my attention I was hooked. I have reread all of them a couple times and love the writing of Rowling. As a fan I also loved the movies. I glad kids are getting back into reading with the help of Harry.