Harry Potter: Growing Brains One Kid At A Time

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I have this quirk. (Actually, I'm told I have a lot of quirks, but that's another blog post or two). The quirk I want to share is this: When the entire universe is reading a book, I refuse to read it. I have it set in my mind that if everybody and their brother is reading it, then it must not be too good. I have no idea how I came to this way of thinking, but it almost caused me to miss out on a series that engaged adults and children in reading en masses and altered the global literary culture.

I'm talking about J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Yes, I almost poo-pooed Harry Potter. I begrudingly began reading the series several years after everyone else on the planet. Mostly, I cracked the spine of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone because I was bored. And by the end of the first page, I wasn't bored. I devoured every single volume. Whether you like it or not, the series has solidified a spot on the world's bookshelf. In effect, it is part of our world cultural.

About a month ago, Groupon ran on offer for the full set of Harry Potter DVDs for a ridiculously low price. Although I wasn't a big fan of the movies (I stopped watching them at Order of the Phoenix), I thought my daughters might enjoy them at some point. You see, together with their dad they play this old school fantasy computer game called NetHack. The girls love it because they get to create characters, make decision, and interact with all kinds of fantasy creatures, including Mindflayers and the Floating Eye. Strangely enough, it's enhanced their reading skills and critical thinking skills. It also feeds their amazing imaginative brains.

Enter the Harry Potter movies. The special effects, fantastical beasts, and variety of characters blow their six-year-old brains and propel them to levels of creativity that blow mine. We have great discussions about themes, our favorite parts and what motivates each character. Audrey's running commentary of the convoluted plot lines is astounding, and Ruthie's freehand drawings of Harry and his friends are detailed and fun.

I showed them my set of Harry Potter books. They held each one, thumbed through the pages, and wanted to sleep with them. I know they will love reading these tomes as they grow older and more capable of handling print text.

I do have to say that we have only watched the first four movies in the series. We started the fifth one, but that one hasn't captured the girls' attention like the first quartet. And, I'm well aware at how dark the movies become as the series progresses. So, we will likely take a break for a bit. Maybe hit the books from the beginning.

Perhaps Joe Q. Public knows good lit after all.

Thanks for reading. It keeps your Mind Full of Literacy!


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