November 16th brings yet another Harry Potter movie to theaters everywhere. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will delight fans once again. The world of Harry Potter just keeps getting bigger and bigger!
It was my personal delight, to find that summer readers recommended Harry Potter books more than any other in the Dillsburg Public Library. I’m a big fan, and when I started working here at the library I wasn’t sure if kids would have moved on to other stories. The first book in the series was published in 1997, and that seems like ancient history in a world that moves at gigabytes per second. Would this generation of readers still be interested in reading about a time before they were born?
The answer was a resonding YES! Kids love to read these books. Long books! Books that keep them reading (often above grade level) for hours on end.
Some parents don’t like Harry Potter for their kids, and that’s fine. His world is not for everyone. Other parents are more concerned about starting their kids too young. There are some dark themes and plenty of scary things. Spoiler alert – people die. Half of the movies are rated PG-13 and the books have a 5th-7th grade reading level. Even so, we put the books in the hands of 3rd and 4th graders, knowing that they will love the story. They will love using their imaginations and believing that kids can make a difference.
The answer to the question of how young is too young often resides in the readers themselves. Readers of all ages have an amazing power to self regulate. If a child is given the freedom to read what he wants to read, he will put a book down if he isn’t ready for it yet. Trust the reader to read for herself, and she will enjoy reading for a lifetime. That’s part of the magic of books…especially fantasy books!
So off to the the theaters we go. Enjoy the world of Harry Potter in the books and on the big screen yet again this month.