Tuesday, July 12, 2005

A Potter problem

Happy National Day in Sao Tome. Parabéns! Saúde! (Congratulations! God Bless you!)

I’m on my lunch break. Right now we have mist falling, and 37 degrees. We had a little snow earlier. We expect more later.

I received a letter earlier from a worried mother.

Her son and daughter are big fans of the Harry Potter books. There is a new one coming out this Saturday.

She is concerned about the positive view of magic and witchcraft in the books.

I’ve heard from many people about this.

I can understand the concern.

Here is a summary of what I wrote back to her

My view is that it these books are fiction, just like any other novels or stories. Do we worry if a child is reading a story about a talking dinosaur, for example? No. The young child may “believe” that a dinosaur can talk, but as that child gets older he is able to judge what is real and what is not based on what he has learned.

As long as it is clear that the Harry Potter books are not real, not true, then there is no problem. In fact, they teach important lessons about courage, friendship, and right and wrong.

The only danger is that if the child has no sense of faith or belief in her own life to compare the stories to, then the child might start to believe the stories are based in a reality where magic of this sort exists. That is bad.

So to parents who are worried, I say the books are fine – as long as you make it clear to the child that the books are fictional.

I also suggest that you read them at the same time as the child. Then you can show interest in what is important to the child, you have something you two can talk about, you can share your adult insights, and you set an example by reading.

I’m all for anything that encourages parents and children to talk and read!


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