I finished reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when I was traveling on a train in England fourteen years ago. I remember seeing a little girl’s expression when she noticed the cover of the book I was holding. She had read it, too. I could tell. We had exchanged smiles, even though we were sitting a few seats away. I had wished I could have tapped her on the shoulder and asked, “Didn’t you love reading this one? What was your favorite part? What do you think happens next?” But I couldn’t. I was an American traveling abroad with my husband and a friend, and she was sitting with her mother (who looked very serious), the train was packed, and I was a stranger.
I told Chris he must read this book, even though it was written for children. He was hesitant. I babbled on and on about the story of Harry, an 11-year-old boy who is living with his miserable uncle and aunt. His life changes when he discovers he is a wizard and becomes a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
I lost interest after the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Life got in the way for me – with twins, autism, another baby, endless therapy appointments, special diets, part-time work, etc. I love reading and read every chance I get. Other books seemed to call more loudly to me -- most about health and autism -- and I never finished the last three in the series. I saw the first two Harry Potter movies and nearly fell asleep in the theater both times.
When the books were introduced to Noah, he read all seven (4,195 pages) in two weeks. He has reread the series four times. Henry has read them all, too. He started reading the first book when he was in first grade, after he had seen the movies. Up until that point, he had never found anything he loved to read. Harry changed that, and I’m grateful to author J.K. Rowling for her incredible gift.
Yesterday morning Chris, Noah, and Henry attended a Harry Potter Tea at the Snowden House, which is part of the Grout Museum District. They made Harry Potter glasses out of pipe cleaners, created their own wands, and each made a golden snitch.
The organizers passed out Marauder’s maps. The kids played Harry Potter trivia.
They drank tea and ate little sandwiches. They feasted on pumpkin turnovers, fudge, and sugar cookies. They nibbled on rock cakes, which are half-giant Hagrid’s favorites.
Henry said, “It was really fun to go to something that was all about Harry Potter.”
Noah chimed in, “And there was no explaining to do because everyone knew about Harry Potter. It just felt right.”
This might be my motivation to finally open up the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If I do, I’m sure one of my boys will catch my eye, give me a smile from across the room, and say, “Mom, what’s your favorite part? What do you think will happen next?” I'll smile back, knowing they have read the book. This time I'll be able to have a conversation.