Two siblings: one who loves to read and gets grounded from the library and the other who loves being active, watching TV, and playing computer games.
You might assume that the first sibling was the one who got the entire family into the Harry Potter series, but that was not the case for my family!
My brother’s third grade teacher started reading the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in her classroom. She read it chapter by chapter out loud to his class in the 1999-2000 school year. J came home talking about the book and I, well I could have cared less.
All of the sudden he wanted to buy the book and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Now he had my attention, maybe I should read these books…I mean J doesn’t have the patience for reading and he is willing sitting down and reading. So I asked to borrow his books when he was done. I struggled getting through the first one as it is the set up for an entire series I found it dragged a little but it not a bad start.
I impatiently waited for him to finish the second book so I could continue the series.
My mom bought Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azakaban. J had first dibs on it but I might have stolen it whenever he wasn’t home so I could read it instead of waiting for him to finish (sorry J, just know I love you). Each book pulled us in a little more and we couldn’t wait for the next to come out. Granted by the time we made it to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J had discovered that there were audio books. For him this was icing on the cake and made the longer books more accessible for him; plus Jim Dale is an excellent narrator. The audio books helped with some of the pronunciations of names and places-sometimes sounding them out just didn’t work out.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix came out right in time for me to be in the hospital getting my radius straightened out after a rollerblading adventure gone wrong (let’s just say pads would have been a good idea…sorry Mom, lesson learned). Bright side I got to have dibs on reading the book while J was in school and I was in the hospital! This one was the angsty teen coming out, I wasn’t a big fan, and it was the first one that I felt a connection to the character who died.
I wept towards the end of the book without shame.
This is also about the time I was talking about Harry Potter with my neighbor and found out she didn’t like them because Harry always broke the rules but got rewarded every time. It frustrated her that there seemed to be little to no consequence for his actions. For her that really detracted from the story and for me it wasn’t something that I explored until she mentioned it.
After Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were released, our family bought the books and the CD’s. J listened and I finished the series tears in my eyes both at the deaths and the fact the series had come to a close.
The stories didn’t end for us; every road trip for years afterwards included the series on tape or CD. We watched the movies and I can’t say how many TV marathons of the movies. My brother and I didn’t always see eye to eye, in fact we still don’t, but these books were something that we have in common. I like to believe it led to conversations I don’t believe we would have had otherwise and I am truly thankful for that.
Fast forward all these years later, he is the one who has Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I am here without it (insert my head hanging with a little bit of shame and a lot of a bit of baby prep). J never became a big reader but these books he still connects with. I am so proud that he knows what he likes and what he doesn’t. I love the fact that there are books that get non-readers reading and this series is one of them in my book. I saw it work for my brother and I wonder how many others this was a series they enjoyed even if they didn’t/don’t enjoy reading and how many this series was a gateway to the world of reading.