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Have your kids read Harry Potter yet? The Harry Potter series holds a huge place in book, cinema and pop culture history. It’s in bookstores, theme parks, and even Walmart. And if your family hasn’t jumped on the Harry Potter bandwagon, or if your kids have and you haven’t, GET ON IT! Harry Potter can be a huge bonding experience for your whole family!
When my oldest son Nick was in second grade, he started J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. We didn’t know anything about Harry Potter, so my husband Alan decided to read the books first, because we thought they might be too advanced for a 7 year old. And so began Alan and Nick’s journey into the world of Harry Potter. They gobbled up the books, talked about them non-stop and watched the movies together.
One night, my husband wouldn’t come to bed because he was at a good part and he couldn’t put the book down. I actually said to him ‘Just so I’m clear, you’d rather stay up reading about a teenage wizard than come to bed with you wife?’. AND HE SAID YES. I don’t know if that says more about me or the power of Harry Potter.
Fast forward 2 years and my sweet Nick is about to leave for a week to go to his first summer sleep away camp. Before he leaves, he tells me that he really wants me to read the Harry Potter books over the summer. Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. I mean, I had been making fun of my husband for reading these books for the last 2 years. I had no desire to read a kids book about wizards. But when your child asks you to read a book, you don’t say no.
So I read the first book. In a day and a half. And I cried at the end. And then I immediately started the second one. By the end of the summer, I had read the entire series. I drank the Harry Potter Kool-Aid and fell in love with Harry and all of his friends.
When my twins started 2nd grade, we were SO excited for them to start reading Harry Potter. But there was a problem. They knew all the plot lines and surprises because their friends from school told them. Yep. I don’t typically speak ill of children, but I had some choice words in my heads for these ‘friends’. Even though they knew some of the plot twists, they still read the books and they fell in love with all things Harry Potter just like we had.
Our family’s journey into the world of Harry Potter started 9 years ago and it is STILL a big part of our family life. Maybe that sounds cheesy to you. How can a bunch of books about teenage wizards be that big of a deal?
Look, you know as well as I do that family life can be tedious, frustrating and exhausting. And that’s on a good day. Harry Potter brought a fun fantasy world into our home. It was a place we could all escape to TOGETHER. Here’s just a few of the ways that Harry Potter brought our family together:
I cannot begin to tell you how many Halloween’s our kids have dressed up as a Harry Potter character. They’ve been Harry, Ron, Draco, Voldemort and a Death Eater (if you haven’t read HP yet, you’ll learn who these characters are). My favorite Halloween was when we went to Disney’s Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. The whole family dressed up as Harry Potter characters!
Freeform runs a Harry Potter movie marathon at least once a month. Here’s the thing. We own all 8 movies Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection. We’ve all seen them 15 times each. At least. But if one of those movies comes on, everyone sits down on the couch and watches it. With 3 teenage boys, getting all 5 of us to agree on any movie is a challenge. But nothing makes me happier than my whole crew huddled together watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Special Edition). AGAIN.
Can you take a vacation to the world of Harry Potter? YES YOU CAN! If you read my About Me, you know that I live in Florida. It is the land of theme parks and beaches and it is wonderful. Every other year, as a family Christmas gift, we buy passes to Universal Studios. Both of their parks have a Harry Potter World and that is the main reason that we go!
Islands of Adventure has Hogsmeade and Universal Studios (the main theme park) has Diagon Alley. Their theme parks are like walking onto the actual movie set. They’re so realistic! And we all get so excited to drink Butterbeer, visit Gringott’s and use our wands to cast spells around the parks.
The best thing about the Harry Potter theme parks is that it doesn’t matter how old your kids are. We took our boys for the first time when the twins were in only 1st grade. Our oldest is now a junior in high school and he still loves to go. Here’s a few pictures of the fun we’ve had as a family over the years
My husband and I have always been big readers. We read to the boys when I was pregnant with them and when they were little. But nothing fueled their love of reading like Harry Potter. There are 7 books in the series and the books get progressively longer. When they first started them, I wasn’t sure they’d be able to stick with it, but they did! And not only did they read them, they re-read them. Many times. So many times that we’ve bought the Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) TWICE! Josh is by far our biggest Harry Potter fan and he walks around with an HP book in his hand at all times.
And once they saw that they could read big books like that, they moved on to other series, like The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1), Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1), The Hunger Games (Book 1), and The Maze Runner (Book 1) series. Harry Potter was a launching point for what I hope will be a lifelong love of reading.
The Harry Potter books are more than just fantasy stories about a bunch of wizards. The books delve into a lot of different topics, like friendship, losing a parent, good versus evil, unconditional love and even racism. And they opened up a door for us to be able to talk to our kids about these topics in a way that they could relate to. It might seem crazy to think that a fantasy book can lead to deep discussions with your child, but it really can!
The Harry Potter books are truly loved by people of all ages. Not only did Nick convince me to read these books, he got my mom to as well! He gave her the same challenge that he gave me and she quickly fell under their spell (pun intended). She read all the books and then she and the boys watched the movies together. And Alan’s parents got in on the Harry Potter action too! When we went to the Not So Scary Christmas party at Disney, they dressed up with us and the kids loved it!
So if you’re on the fence about whether your child should read Harry Potter or if they love the books and movies and you haven’t gotten into them, let me encourage you to do so. Start with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and see what you think. You might be surprised to find that it will open up a new world of fun for your whole family!
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