Good Morning! Happy Banned Book Week Tuesday! I am having such a blast and there is more to come each day! I have a sticky post on the top of the blog this week for the banned book posts and giveaways that fellow book reviewers are posting about the banned! Please check it out as that will have the full list of those participating – great posts and great giveaways too.
Today two more posts go up from:
Tracy at Uncharted Parent is talking about The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and there is a giveaway!
Jennifer at The Book Den talks about her experience reading The Great Gatsby!
Please show both of these reviewers comment love, as well as the other that are linked to Banned book Week (top sticky post on Book Journey).
Harry Potter. If you read me… you know. You know of my unquenchable love of these books and my constant gushing about Dumbledore’s logic, Harry’s capacity for friendship in the worst of situations, JK Rowling’s brilliance from book one to book seven… every time I read them I pick up on something new and clever that ties in later down the story line….
Did you know the Potter books are banned books?
On a website I was reading called info please, I thought they put it very well when they said:
The most prominent objections to Harry Potter fall into three categories: they promote witchcraft; they set bad examples; and they’re too dark. Let’s take a look at each of those.
The Trouble with Magic
One school to ban Harry Potter was St. Mary’s Island Church of England school in Chatham, Kent. Head teacher Carol Rockwood explained that “The Bible is very clear and consistent in its teachings that wizards, devils and demons exist and are very real, powerful and dangerous and God’s people are told to have nothing to do with them.” She added that “I believe it is confusing to children when something wicked is being made to look fun.”
Rockwood is not alone. Her opinion is shared by others who believe that real witchcraft exists, and that all witches are evil. They fear that any books which have good witches or good magic—like the Harry Potter series—will lead people not to take the threat of real witchcraft seriously, and possibly lead them to take the Bible’s teachings in general more lightly. They might even lead readers to become witches themselves.
Others disagree. Some point out that Harry Potter is a fantasy, not a true story, and claim that even children know the difference between the two. Whether or not there is such a thing as evil magic in real life, it has nothing at all to do with the made-up spells and potions found in the books. As an editorial in Christian Century put it, “…critics are right in thinking that fantasy writing is powerful and needs to be taken seriously. But we strongly doubt that it fosters an attachment to evil powers. Harry’s world, in any case, is a moral one.”
Setting a Bad Example
Some people find the Harry Potter books to be inappropriate reading because of the way Harry and his friends behave. Some note that Harry “lies, breaks rules, and disobeys authority figures, including the professors at Hogwarts,” and that he ends up being rewarded and praised for his actions. They feel that heroes should be entirely good people who do as they’re told and respect others.
Others feel that Harry’s rule infractions are part of a long tradition in storytelling. A bit of rule-bending is necessary to get to a story outside of the ordinary, they say, but children can understand that behavior that makes a good story is different from behavior that’s good in general. They also point out that Harry’s rule-breaking does not go without any punishment. And some note, as Mike Hertenstein does in his review of the first Potter film, that “much of Harry’s rule-breaking… involves the principle of disobeying a lower law to keep a higher one—not to say he’s Rosa Parks, but who could criticize Harry’s violation of the no-fly rule to broom his way over a bully and stand up for his friends?”
Finally, some believe that even heroes aren’t perfect; Harry and his friends may do some things wrong, but they are positive role models on the whole, working selflessly for all that’s good and noble.
Some people think that the Harry Potter books—especially the later ones—are too dark and scary for children to handle. The series begins as Harry is orphaned, and he soon learns his parents were violently killed. There are intense battles. Good people die, suddenly and horribly. This, some say, is the stuff of nightmares, not something to be handed to kids as entertainment.
Ahhh…. Harry. What they do not mention of course is how many kids came to love books and reading because of these books. Both of my boys read the books. I read the books to see what my boys were reading and soon, as the series went on – we had three copies of each book in the house as we could not wait to read them.
My favorite Harry Potter story is when we were reading the final book, I was ahead of my son Justin but wanted so badly to be able to discuss the book with him as soon as he read significant parts….
So… I went through his copy and put a post it note on the next page of each BIG MOMENT with something like “Oh wow! Can you believe she just said that?”
When Justin arrived at the first post it note he looked at me (we were both still reading) and said, “Did you do this through my entire book?”
No Harry Potter books. No super cool memories like that one. I am just saying 🙂
The year that final book came out I had a contest here for someone to sing a song about the ending of the series. I can not sing… but I can write. SO I wrote the words, and put it out there for someone to sing it. Danielle responded to my plea:
I still love that…. that sums it up. Harry Potter was for many of us the books our kids read, the books we read… the books we loved. They are the new classics… and I for one, am so glad I was part of the first generation of Potter readers.
Banned shmanned. You can not put a label on that.
Thanks for letting me rant and rave. Any Harry Potter memories for you? Your kids? Your grand kids? The crazy neighbor next door who looks a lot like Snape?
Pretty sure I am re-reading the whole series over the winter.
Comment on this post as well as any of the banned book related posts here this week and you will be entered into my giveaway for the week. One chance per comment.