Reading & Literacy Opinion

20 Years of Harry Potter and Me

By Starr Sackstein — July 04, 2017 3 min read
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Fantastical worlds filled with magic and intrigue, yet safely hidden behind the shroud of our reality, mingling with the muggle world seamlessly for just the chosen few who know.

Muggle or magical, within each of us is a spark that is unique and worthy of uncovering.

Favorite literature follows us throughout our lives providing our imaginations an escape and a safe haven.

The Harry Potter series captured my heart from the first time I read each part of the saga, waiting patiently for the next installment to arrive and heartbroken when it was all over. Since then I’ve re-read the novels both alone and with my son, shared my love of the epic adventure with students and watched the movies at midnight and marathon style for days at a time.

Whether making friends, being inspired by teachers or creating magic with the wisdom learned through the enduring war against evil, Harry Potter has taught me a few things that continue bringing me back for more.

Here are some of the special experiences:

Making friends for the first time: Although awkward at first, you never know where your best friends will come from. If we keep ourselves open to meeting new people anything is possible. So we need to be friendly, help folks and do the right thing because we don’t which folks will be in our lives for 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years. Strong friendships start when we aren’t looking.

Finding something special about ourselves: Harry never knew he was magic even though strange things often happened. Much like Harry each of us have magic that we may not have had the opportunity to unleash or notice. Sometimes all it takes is having someone else recognize it and share what they see. Once we know what to name what we have we can start to develop our special gifts to make the world a better place.

Although teachers know stuff, we are all flawed: As a teacher, I’ve been greatly inspired by the likes of Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, Hagrid and Snape but for many different reasons. Each one of them does something special for Harry or the other students but have their own back story which makes them less than perfect. And Dumbledore helps us remember that “Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic.” As a writing teacher, I completely agree. That’s why using our words appropriately and wisely is so important.

We all need a little help from our friends: We can’t accomplish anything of importance alone. We need help and there is no harm in asking for it when we need it. Harry isn’t always good at asking. Despite his want to not get his friends involved so they won’t get hurt, real friends don’t let us go it alone. It’s all for one and one for all.

Knowledge comes from books and experience: Hermione learns a lot from the library but it can only take her so far. Working together with Harry and Ron offers learning experiences that no book could have provided. We must be able to take the learning we have from books and then apply them to real world situations like Harry suggests in the fifth novel. They all need to work together to vanquish the evils of the world.

Breaking the rules is necessary sometimes for the good of the whole: Although rules are necessary for safety and order, there are good reasons to sometime to bend the rules. Harry and his friends often get in trouble trying to do what’s right. Their intentions are always in the right place, but their methods aren’t always the best. All of us break the rules sometimes to do what we know is right.

When we read our favorite literature, we connect in a way that brings us back to a safe and happy place.

What lessons have you learned from your favorite books? please share

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