Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Book 1 Harry Potter Series
 Author: JK Rowling
My recommended age: 9 and up
Lexile Level: 880L
Fantasy Fiction 
Guided Reading Level: V

I was living in Alaska with two YOUNG children when I first heard of Harry Potter. A friend of mine, knowing how much I enjoyed reading, suggested it as a great "escape" from the grinds of motherhood. So I picked it up... and I loved it! I could not believe how quickly I escaped into Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Privet Drive. J.K Rowling is amazing! As much as I loved it, and went straight to the second, I do NOT recommend it for children of all ages!!!!
Like so many other juvenile fiction novels, our hero deals with "heavy" more mature issues. For example, Harry's parents are killed by an evil wizard whom Harry has to try and defeat...kill, really, and Harry's guardians do not love him and treat him like a servant rather than a son. Overall, things to be aware of include: our hero and his friends breaking lots of rules; some tense moments in the book where as an adult, I was a bit scared; and a gruesome ending which leaves the reader with icky mental images and a very bad "bad guy".
Harry Potter is a great read for kids especially as they move past the simple chapter books and are looking to find a story with more complex characters. However, hold off starting the series until you are ready for your kids to jump into all seven books. It is not easy to read the first and second books, which are mild fun reads, and then have to stop reading the series for a few years, because the books get darker.
A couple of additional recommendations: First, in our house, you have to read the book before you see the movie. This goes with all the Harry Potters. When you jump right into the movies, you end up missing so much from the books and really it is a shame. Second, try listening to Harry Potter on audiobook. Jim Dale is the reader and he is absolutely amazing!!!! All of my kids would prefer listening to him read the book than watch the movie ANY DAY. He brings the book to life in so many ways and brings you right in. It is time well spent.
Happy Reading

Becky says:

So... living in the Bible belt of America I have heard many different reactions to Harry Potter, even going so far as to be told I was a heathen for ruining my son by sending him to school with a Harry Potter backpack. That much being said, I LOVE THIS SERIES!! I have read and listened to this book many times, and I enjoy it every time. It's a book about a boy faced with a choice between good and evil... and he chooses good. He's not perfect, but he does genuinely try to do what is right. He cares more about helping others than saving himself.

Those who have concerns with the fact that there is "sorcery" in the series, need only to realize that this book is no different from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Bewitched, and many other books out there. The author doesn't "promote" dark magic, make it cool to do bad things, or encourage the reader to run out and try witchcraft. It's just a fun story with a good message.

The best thing that came from reading Harry Potter is that it made me cool to my kids and other people's kids. I was even hip enough to go to the midnight movie premiers with my teenagers. The thing that bothered me on first reading was the character that drinks unicorn blood (even though it is silver) which was a bit much for me.


1 comment:

  1. This is a wonderful read. The author does an excellent job transporting the reader to a different time and place. It is masterful writing.

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