Harry Potter - Banned Books Week 2013

I don't think we can talk about banned and challenged book without at least mentioning Harry Potter. Personally, I love the Harry Potter books. They are so much fun, and the characters are endearing. Although there are some world building problems, I love the world of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and the rest of the magical community. Now, if I just loved Harry Potter for personal reasons, I wouldn't be mentioning it here. I think Harry Potter is important, because he and JK Rowling got people who weren't reading to read and got families reading together. Harry Potter and JK Rowling made reading cool.

Let me tell you a few Harry Potter related stories.

I used to babysit a very rambunctious child. We will call him Frank. Frank was very hyperactive and always in trouble. He had so much energy and never seemed to sit still. Frank was not a reader. Granted, there are lots of energetic kids who like to read; however, Frank was not a reader. When Frank discovered Harry Potter, he started reading. I would see him at the community pool sitting on a chair and reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was so wonderful to see a kid who used to have no books in his bedroom become a kid who loved to read and carried a 500+ page book around with him. He did go swimming later, just in case you were wondering. Frank didn't stop reading after Harry Potter, Harry Potter instilled a love of reading in him.

My friend's grad school adviser listened to the Harry Potter audio books with her family. Harry Potter brought parents and children together. They were all so excited to find out what happened in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but the four of them listened to the audio book together. No one bought the physical book and read it privately. I love the idea of a family listening to a book together. This gives the family an opportunity to pause the book and discuss any questions or concerns in the moment. Granted, the parents took a gamble that the book would be age-appropriate; however, it apparently turned out okay.

Finally, we need to discuss midnight book releases. Do you remember midnight book releases prior to the Harry Potter craze? I don't. I went to a midnight book release for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was filled with adults, teenagers, and families. It was so great to see such different people getting together and bonding over Harry Potter.

So, why does Harry Potter get banned and challenged all the time? There are a lot of reasons; however, the main ones tend to be child abuse (Harry lives in a closet in the first book) and magic. These are facts in these books, and I can't change them. I would like to point out that there are a ton of positive themes in these books including friendship and learning to believe in yourself.

I know I can't change people's minds about Harry Potter. People have all sorts of reasons that they don't like Harry Potter, and I know that I can't change people's minds. I just want to share some of the positive stories that have come out of Harry Potter.

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