"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is it real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his figure.
"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
Reading is important. Books are real. The stories inside them might be made up, but for the time that our minds are engaged in the characters and their world, it feels real.
One of my favorite things to do with my sons is read. We still read a picture book when I'm in the mood even though they're 10, 10, 12, and 16. When the Skippy John Jones books came out, my boys gathered on the bed together as the oldest read aloud, and the others clapped along to the interactive part. Even Miss Matilda (cat) wanted in on the action. (She's trying to figure out if Curious George is more curious than she is.)
I was the first one in our family to read the Harry Potter books. I'd heard about them at writer's conferences and the buzz around the bookstore, but what got me curious was seeing 6th grade boys lugging those big, fat books around, shutting out the world, even sitting long in a cold car in the middle of a Minnesota winter to finish a chapter. Hmm? What kind of magic is this J.K. Rowling creating?
From the first chapter of the first book, I discovered it. Rowling created a character that we care about. We're rooting for him from the start, the boy who lived. We feel the injustice of him locked in the cupboard under the stairs. We're annoyed at his so-called family. We can't wait to ride The Hogwarts Express with him to a new school and a chance to discover who he really is.
In the end, this is a book about friendship, self-discovery, and good triumphing over evil. And, the magic that Ms. Rowling created is wonderful, clever, and engaging. Before the first movie was made, kids were dressing up for Halloween as characters from her book! We were waiting in line at midnight for the next release. We sat together and read the book. We've passed our copies from family member to family member until they're tattered and torn. The first one is under my bed. The second one lost it's middle and had to be discarded. Dust jackets are long gone. But, the stories live on.
Thank you, J.K. Rowling, for your marvelous imagination and the magic you created in readers.
Journaling Prompt: What books or stories do you pass around the family? Or, tell your Harry Potter stories.