I’ve heard both negative and positive feedback about the books. But I don’t think that I should stop my kids from reading the Harry Potter books, if that is what they want to do and if they pose no serious threat to their souls. Although I haven’t heard any really positive feedback about the books except that they encourage reading. And I have no interest in reading them myself.
So far my kids haven’t expressed any interest in reading them either, but maybe because they are waiting for my approval. I’ve been waiting til the series was completed.
So my question is to all those who have read the books, when is the best time for kids to read the book? 7 yrs, 10 yrs, 13 yrs or older - high school.
I think the only kids who have problems with being overly influenced by these books are those who don’t have a good faith formation and those who may be very, very imaginative.
My oldest son fits this highly imaginative model. When he was younger and something caught his imagination, he would role play that thing for hours every day for weeks or even months. So, I decided to wait on Harry Potter. I didn’t want him to be playing wizard all day. He’s 13 now and is reading the Harry Potter books this summer. My 10 year old is reading them, too–he is not as imaginative, so I thought it would be okay.
Also, I think kids who haven’t really read much can get into trouble with a Harry Potter obsession. It’s important to be a wide reader.
On an overnight trip to Washington, D.C. for the Right to Life March a few years back, my husband and son brought a Harry Potter tape to watch on the bus’s VCR to help pass the time. We left home at about 9 PM to get in to D.C. about 7 AM the next morning. One lady on the bus brought her young children (younger than school age) with her and pitched an absolute fit about the movie. We ended up watching cartoon tapes the WHOLE trip.
I started reading them to my kids when my daughter was in the 2nd grade. My oldest son was in preschool. As this last book has come out, my daughter is now going to be a junior in high school. Even though she is an avid reader and an honors student, she still wanted me to read it with her. My oldest son has read all of the books three times, and he used to be a reluctant reader.
I think the things to hilight with your kids are that in the Harry Potter books, love is the strongest magic of all, much stronger than any dark magic. That is a truth that is straight out of the Gospel and applies to their daily life. It is never really some magical incantation that saves the day for Harry Potter, it is his belief in standing up for what is right and looking out for others, no matter how impossible the odds. I’m surprised that you haven’t heard that there is a positive message in Harry Potter.
I was very cautious with Harry Potter, too. Until recently, I didn’t let my kids read it. A lot of very intelligent, well respected Catholics in the media have warned against it. And, I’ve heard of kids being drawn into the occult because of it. In fact, one of my friends overheard a preteen asking the librarian where the witchcraft books were located. :eek:
But, I think that the kids that are drawn influenced in this way have not had any faith formation. They probably don’t go to Church or do not have catechesis in their homes. And, they probably haven’t read other fantasy novels such as Narnia or Lord of the Rings.
Just recently, we’ve been reading them. I was surprised at the benignity of them. I’m glad that we waited though because of my oldest son’s temperament. As I mentioned, he really gets “captured” by fiction that taps his imagination. In fact, right now, he’s up to his eyeballs in comic books. I’m kind of glad that Harry Potter is breaking up the conversation topics a little. I’m tired of hearing comparisons about Wolverine and Spiderman and alternate universes…
I have to admit that I’ve had to restrain myself from telling my kids to keep the Harry Potter reading under wraps. :o I’m sure that we will get some “looks” from our crowd.
About the witchcraft thing, it has been popular among preteens and teens(and seems more for political reasons), one I met recently did it because she hated her parents. Most will get over it eventually. My friend tried being a wicca(and has tried contless other faiths), but it wasn’t right for her so she is an agnostic.
They don’t pose any threat to your childrens souls. That being said, I’d say 10 or 11 would be a good start. Your 7 year old might be able to take the first 3, but they do start to become darker with the 4th book. More deaths. I would definately not let any child under 11 read the new one, VERY SAD.
The first two books are fairly simple, but the story gets darker in book three and begins to get very complicated as well. It depends on how good a reader your child is. Some older children who are not good readers will be frustrated by the complex plot and the many, many characters, while good readers will sail on through it.
I read the first books to my kids when they first came out. My oldest was then in 1st grade, with 2 youngers. This time around, I read it to my 12 year old and the older 2 read on there own. All 3 have read (or have been read to) all 7 books now. Current ages 12, 14, and 15.
As far as HP bringing them to the occult…ah, no. No chance of that happening!
Yeah, I remember being 13. I was quite interested in new agey-occult stuff. Harry Potter was several years away at that point, and I was enrolled in Catholic school at an orthodox parish. It was interesting to me because it was so completely different from anything else: real people claiming to use magic. The Harry Potter books are so obviously fiction and different from the Wiccan stuff I was looking at back then. Even at that age I certainly would have been able to tell the difference.
That said, I don’t think the last three or four books are appropriate for kids under middle-school age. Those are pretty dark and heavy in spots.
She’s now 24. She bought the last HP book on Saturday and finished it by Sunday afternoon. She said she started crying at page 600 and didn’t stop until she finished, not because of the plot, but because it was the “Last” HP book!
She also reads annually: 1) the Little House books (all the ones written by Laura Ingalls Wilder) and 2) all the Anne of Green Gables books.
And she reads at least a novel or two a week.
She’s what you would call a true bookworm. Even reads while she drives (at stoplights).
I’m personally kind of glad that Rowling couldn’t find a publisher for HP until my kids were grownup! I think she enjoyed them more because she’s an adult now. But that’s JMO.
My other daughter (21) has absolutely no interest in reading the HP novels or any novels.
I think anyone who canNOT seperate fiction from truth should skip reading these books. I don’t find anything wrong with them, I read them and love them. BUT some people have a hard time breaking away back to reality.
The books were written years apart, so the people who started reading them as kids are now teens and adults. So I think your kids should grow with the books.
I don’t think kids under the age of 15 should read past book 3. After they are 15 you should have taught them how to differenciate truth and fantasy.
I also don’t get how it’s any different than LORT or the David Edding’s books. There are wizards and witches in all kinds of fantasy books, but because HP is new and fresh…it gets all the blame. whatever
Frankly, AmberDale, in the last few years since 9/11, I have a difficult time coming back from fantasy to reality. It’s a hateful world at times. I don’t blame kids for wanting to escape from it once in a while.
And is Harry Potter (or any other good work of fantasy) really an “escape”? It seems to me that it portrays all the evils of our world, but in an imaginatively transfigured way that makes them easier to deal with. Good fantasy sends us back into the “real world” with renewed courage and understanding. The point isn’t to get away from evil and suffering but to learn how to deal with them.
I’m sorry you feel that way. Children (don’t know what age range your saying) really don’t know the horrors of this world. At least my kids don’t. They weren’t born anywhere near 9/11, we don’t watch much T.V. They are only 4 and 2.
If my 10 year old comes up to me “wanting to escape reality” I’m afraid I would probably seek counseling for them. That is a very sad sign.
I personally, am a gamer. I understand wanting to delve into fantasy or things like that. But once the book is over or the game is done, it’s time to let the character go.
If you can’t do that, I feel sad for you.