The Magic of Reading Harry Potter as a Family

My family started reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling over the last month, and we are all enjoying the series.

I know what you are thinking. “Sheesh, April! You are 10 to 15 years late to the HP party! What took you so long?” In response, all I can say is… I know, I know! We definitely shouldn’t have waited so long to join the Potter frenzy.

Muggle Resistance          

What took us so long to join the ranks of HP fans? Well, this Muggle mother (me) have several excuses. Albeit, none of them are very good reasons.

Our entire family is reading the Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling, and we definitely shouldn't have waited so long to read it! We were such Muggles! | Harry Potter Books | J.K. Rowling | Jim Kay | Sorcerer's Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban | Goblet of Fire | Order of the Phoenix | Half-Blood Prince | Deathly Hallows | HogwartsAlthough I am an avid reader that generally reads 3-6 books each month, I have just never found time (or more accurately, made time) for the Harry Potter series. My favorite book genres are historical fiction, memoirs and classic literature. (Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters rule!) Reading a popular fantasy book series for young adults just wasn’t a priority for me. I didn’t have any interest in reading about wizards and witches. I was such a Muggle!

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In further defense of my inexcusable muggleness… The first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, came out in 1997. I was in college at that time and did very little extracurricular reading. I was too busy with my studies and working (plus a few dates and parties) to read much of anything that wasn’t assigned reading for a class. The first movie was released in 2001, and truth be told, I fell asleep while watching it. (Please don’t judge me! I was pregnant at the time and growing babies is exhausting work!) Thus, I never caught the HP fever.

Over the years, I suggested the book series to my oldest son a few times but he showed no interest (probably because the suggestion was coming from his mother). It wasn’t until his cousins recommended the Harry Potter series to him that he actually picked up a Harry Potter book. Always looking for ways to bond with my children, I thought “Maybe I should read it, too.” Then, I thought “Maybe I should read these books to the little kids.”

And, that is how we finally came to start reading these books!

Our Bewitching Harry Potter Experience

We are all reading along at our own pace. Our teen finishes books faster than the rest of us. The younger children and I are reading the books aloud before bed each night, and that takes some time. Once everyone has completed a book from the series, our family watches the movie together. My husband is just enjoying the movies with us.

    

Currently, my teenager is reading the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The books are an easy and engaging read for him.

My eight-year-old son and I are almost done reading aloud the second book, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets.  He has attempted to read parts of the books on his own, and even though he is an exceptional reader, much of it has proven to be too difficult for him to process without help. For instance, Hagrid (a frequent recurring character) speaks with a heavy accent that is difficult for a child to translate, many of the names are difficult to pronounce like McGonagall and Hermione, and there are a lot of big words throughout.

My five-year-old daughter is just learning to read and these thick chapter books held very little interest for her until we discovered some  special editions illustrated by Jim Kay. Now, as I read aloud, she wanders over occasionally to check out the pictures.  She is especially intrigued by a few scenes, especially when Harry and Ron have to escape from the clutches of a whomping willow tree. (She thought that scene was so funny!)

And of course, the entire family is enjoying watching the movies together. We always enjoy a good family movie night! We have already watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and we intend to watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this weekend.

Our Favorite Editions of the Harry Potter Books

As I mentioned before, my youngest child didn’t have much interest in the Harry Potter books until we stumbled upon some special illustrated editions. These special editions are large hard cover books illustrated by Jim Kay. Big and colorful, Kay’s illustrations are filled with imagination and interesting details. Both of my young children spend a considerable amount of time flipping through the pages and commenting on the pictures. (To be honest, I spend a lot of time examining these illustrations myself.)

So far, only the first three books are available with illustrations by Jim Kay. I have my fingers crossed that the remainder of the series is in the works as well. (SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR JIM KAY AND J.K. ROWLING: If you happen to read this blog post, please tell me that you will be illustrating the rest of the Harry Potter books, too. Please.)

Check out these beautiful editions for yourself!

Click here to view the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Amazon.

Click here to view the illustrated Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on Amazon.

Click here to view the illustrated Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on Amazon.

(Hint, hint! These books would make wonderful gifts for any Harry Potter fan.)

Like Magic, My Little Wizards Are Learning Stuff

One thing that pleasantly surprised me about the Harry Potter books is how much my little wizards (and witch) are learning as we read. Like magic, they have picked up new vocabulary from the reading and made interesting connections between what we have read and the world around us. It is so much fun to see!

Last week, we saw an owl on a tv show and my five-year-old said, “Hey, that’s a snowy owl just like Hedwig!” And just the other day, my eight-year-old pointed to our globe and said “There’s Romania. That’s where Ron Weasley’s brother lives… you know, the brother that studies dragons.”

Oh, and such imaginations! I love to see how reading Harry Potter has affected their imaginative play. It’s so much fun to watch my little ones go on a “troll hunt” or wander the house under a blanket pretending it is an Invisibility Cloak. And, the “spells” they make up are especially adorable!

        

Muggles No More!

In conclusion, we are no longer a family of Muggles. I am officially a fan of the Harry Potter series, and so are my children. My apologies to anyone I blew off when they suggested the book series to me in the past.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must sign off. I have a Harry Potter movie to watch with my family!

Does your family love the Harry Potter books, too?

Amazon Picks for Harry Potter Fans:

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6 comments

  1. I just get “feels” reading about your family reading together! It’s SO great! I’m anxiously awaiting my daughter’s interest in these books. We have the illustrated version as well….but so far no luck….

    Personally, I didn’t start reading (actually listening) these books until 2001. I had a massive commute (80 miles one way) during my first few years working and listening to these books on CD actually made me excited for the drive.

    1. Yes, I agree – the secret is to find a book (or book series) that everyone can enjoy. The Harry Potter series has worked exceptionally well for us. We’ve also read the Narnia series together in the past.

  2. I am one of the few people left in the world who has not read a Harry Potter book or watched one of the movies. My reasons have been similar to yours; I’ve just never had much interest in the fantasy genre, and haven’t made the time for it. But my oldest has read the books and loves them, so one of these days, I will have to make an effort to read the series!

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