Weekends like these call for hyperbolic tag lines like “…end of an era!” In the case of Harry Potter (with the worldwide theatrical release of the series’ final film adaptation, The Deathly Hallows Part Two) it ends not only a cinematic era, but palpably re-ends a literary era.
The 7-book series about the boy wizard’s adventures was and remains a pop-cultural force to be reckoned with, sprung from its universal appeal: reaching children, to families, even to adults who felt a giddy galvanization of their inner-child. (Harry Potter is Entertainment Champ of the World – from Today).
The Detroit Free Press ran a spread this morning documenting both the generation that grew up with Potter, as well as the collective wistfulness felt throughout the world, (yes, I know, they are just books aren’t they?), with the film effectively “closing the book” on the series.
Remarkable points highlighted in the Free Press – that these books have been translated into 60 languages (including Ancient Greek) and have sold 450 million copies worldwide. The New York Times had to create a special best-seller list for children’s books because of the dominance of Potter books “crowding out other works of fiction.”
Now…turn the page through the Free Press and you find an update on the current woes of local bookselling business, Borders (…on brink of liquidation). It seems a sort of disconnect from the statistic that the last four Potter books set records as the fastest-selling books in history. (One wonders how much the movies, at that point, helped spur sales. And, then, of course, one wonders how much good those lines of midnight costumed mega fans at stores nationwide helped gird, if at all, Borders, against the ravages of both a devastating Recession and the rise of E-books).
The Potter magic (or curse?) for parents and educators was it’s phenomenal kick to kids to pick up books. From the Dover-New Philadelphia Times Reporter: ‘Harry Potter’ made reading cool – Four years ago, as the final book was debuting, the Washington Post bemoaned: ‘Harry Potter and the Death of Reading’
Having worked in a library, here, there, or somewhere, during much of this last decade – my own take is that it was a mostly harmless phenomenon that gave kids a hearty escape and sufficiently kept their eyes glued to the pages (for however long it took them to blitz through 700 pages). Just like Harry, the generation of children who read through his adventures, also grew up. Their tastes and literary perspectives refine and mature as they go through school – but hopefully they stay engaged with reading –hopefully they do go back and reread these Potter books. It’d be better for anyone, rather than seeing the film twice, or in 3-D, or what-have-you. Maybe the Hunger Games series keeps them interested? Thankfully Twilight will be out of our hair soon.
Not to get preachy.
Another interesting Free Press tid-bit: Through the 2000’s decade, books in the Potter series were “No. 1 on the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged books” because of parents protests claiming it “promoted witchcraft.”
NPR has offered Back-To-School Reads: 13 Big Books To Read While The Leaves Fall – which is in reference to the “season” and age-spanning “learning energy that everyone seems to have when the leaves change.
Parents and young readers should take note: Ferndale Public Library offers Reading Recommendations via the new Teen Spot blog, where you can also learn about special teen-reader events, including the Teen Remix – July 26 features a gathering of our Animanga Club–
Part of our Teen Summer Reading Program. Watch great anime, discuss your favorite manga with other fans, and experience the unique aspects of Japanese culture.