Hard to believe, but ten years ago today a little book came out that changed the face of children’s literature and book publishing forever. I must admit, I didn’t even read it until there was a sequel, and of all people was inspired by hearing Rosie O’Donnell wax rhapsodic over the protagonist on her now-defunct daily talk show.
As a lifelong bookworm, I was thrilled that there was something out there that got children interested in reading again, and that a book had been written that not only had kids begging their parents to take them to the bookstore but also was a work of art that didn’t speak down to the kids. There is nothing more insulting that children’s literature that doesn’t inspire you to think, encourage creativity, and stir imagination. Drivel that meets these three categories are the reason why many kids hate reading–my own brother included. But this little book not only changed that, it also allowed reading to become a family affair as it was just as enjoyable for adults as it was for their children, and as battles over who’s turn was next in the rotation reached a frenzy I know of more than one family that ended up purchasing more than one copy.
Better yet, as the sequels kept coming, the voice of the protagonist kept aging. Reading the final installation is a different world from the initial introduction, as the writer smartly assumed that the readers were growing with her books and that things could evolve and get more intricate, detailed, fanciful, and complicated.
So here’s to you, Harry Potter, and may your Sorcerer’s Stone always bring good fortune to those that read it. And also to the author–may JK Rowling be known as not only the richest woman in England but also as someone that took the chance that someone would enjoy reading about an eleven year old bespectacled scrawny kid and how the misfit and friends was the one that saved the world.