Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Opening at the Close

A Christmas present from my brilliant hubby
Yesterday was a significant day in our house. I finished reading the entire Harry Potter series (for the second time) out loud for the whole family. And then, of course, we had to watch movies 7 and 8 back to back and discuss theatrical omissions and additions. Because that's how we are :)

We started in the spring, reading together at night. At first I thought it would just be for my 11yo daughter. I had already read the series with my son when he was in 6th grade, and read books 1-4 to my husband when they originally came out. Now it was Jasmine's turn. But my husband and son always managed to be in the room when I was reading and complained bitterly if we started without them. It became a family activity. During our road trip over the summer we finished book four. Since I didn't think we'd get through the whole thing, I hadn't brought book five with us. They insisted I purchase another copy because they couldn't go the rest of the trip without hearing more.

By the time we got to book seven, we slowed down. Not because we'd lost interest, more because we didn't want it to end. Reading together as a family has opened the door to some wonderful discussions and given us a shared reference point for viewing the world. Now when my husband answers telemarketing calls, he can be Stan Shunpike or Vernon Dudley. When we enter a dark room, someone will inevitably say "lumos" as they turn on the light. Next month when the kids have a week long break we're headed to Orlando. Not for the beaches or Disneyworld. We can't wait to revisit Harry Potter World to stock up on butter beer, chocolate frogs and Ollivander's wands.

There are people who have burned Rowling's books, claimed that they encourage kids to experiment with the occult. Obviously, they haven't read the books for themselves. They've missed the whole point. To me, those books are about love. They celebrate the love between parents and children, between friends, between teachers and students. The wonderful messages woven into the fabric of these amazing stories are so much bigger than the books themselves.

Now at the close of this series, I feel like I've opened my kids up to a deeper understanding of so many things: racism (mudbloods), looking past surface actions to deeper motivations (Snape), always standing up for what they know to be right. Rowling is a genius. It's no wonder her books are cherished and adored. And I'm so glad that I've been able to be able to share that with my kids.

8 comments:

Faith E. Hough said...

This is so great! My husband and I have read the books to each other a few times (some more than others), and we'll do it again when our kids are a bit older. Can't wait. :)

Barbara Watson said...

I, too, read the HP's myself and then aloud with my kids. And you're so right -- they ARE about love.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Faith: I was so excited the first time I read these through with my son. Every time I read them I find new details that I missed before. They're such great fun to experience with the kids.

Barbara: Great minds think alike :)

Rosi said...

What a lovely chance to bond the whole family with this oral reading. I may be the only person on the planet who has not read the books (I've only read book one), so maybe I will share this experience with my granddaughter. Thanks for a lovely post.

Sherrie Petersen said...

Rosi, I'm an avid reader, like a book a day when I'm not actively writing. But experiencing the book with the kids is totally different than reading it on my own. So I would definitely recommend re-reading it with your granddaughter. It'll be fun for both of you!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I wish I could do this with my kids. They love the movies but have no interest in reading the books. The only exception is my 14 yo. He read the books first.

Sherrie Petersen said...

This is part of our love of road trips. Even for a thirty minute drive they want me to bring along a book to read :)

Kristan Hoffman said...

"There are people who have burned Rowling's books, claimed that they encourage kids to experiment with the occult. Obviously, they haven't read the books for themselves."

I imagine this is true for MOST people calling for books to be banned or burned.

Completely agree with your take on Rowling's messages. So glad you could share such a wonderful series with your family -- and in doing so, create special memories with them. :)

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