When I'm Young
Updated: Feb 11, 2019
When Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published, I was graduating high school. I didn't read it until a few years later, as a CEGEP student. This is when I realized how interested I was in children's literature. Reading it made me go back to the books I loved so much as a child, and I re-read them all.
I was almost jealous not to be a kid anymore because I could not experience the book as a child. I loved it, no doubt, but I was enjoying it as an adult, and the freshness and adventure were perhaps less sparkling than they might be for a child.
Fast forward to today where I am reading the novel again, for the first time in at least ten years. I am reading it to my eight-year-old son. As I read, he lights up, laughs, questions, and feels the adventure Harry is experiencing. For me, I'm getting what I missed out on as a child. The story is new again, and as I watch my son bite his nails as Harry wrestles a troll, I am young. I see the words in the eyes and mind of a child, and it is so right. It is so perfect. It is so rich.
I forgot how awe-worthy Harry Potter really was.
At Christmas my sister-in-law, who works with elementary school children, showed me a bracelet she got herself with a charm of the Deathly Hollows (an important symbol in the Harry Potter series) on it. I knew she was a fan of the books, but for it to merit a piece of jewelry was exceptional. She reminded me that the love of Harry Potter was not just for herself. She made it so clear:
These books got kids reading again. Every day these books get young kids reading, and that is so special and meaningful.
I knew she was right, but before watching my son read the book, I didn't quite get it. I do now.
Harry Potter is more than a character in a book: he is every kid. He's awkward, afraid, trying to grasp who he is a new world, learning loyalty, learning right from wrong, and that sometimes all you need is a little magic. All kids can relate to that.
So, if you're an adult, and have not yet read Harry Potter, you should. If you have a child you could read it to, that would be even better. Enjoy being a kid again.