Months of Magical Reading

A few months ago, I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my son, Ben. When we finished, I thought that we could go back to smaller, more manageable books. But Ben was adamant: “Daddy, let’s read the next one.” So we did.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

During scary parts, I would pause and ask Ben if he was scared and if he wanted me to stop or continue, to which he would usually reply, “I’m not scared. Well, maybe just a little scared. But keep reading, Dad. Keep reading!” So I kept reading. And reading. We just completed book 6, The Half-Blood Prince, a couple weeks ago.

The books were such a joy to read to him, even though at times I wasn’t sure if Ben was old enough or mature enough to hear about what was going on in there. I did skip over little bits of the book, The Order of the Phoenix, because Harry’s incessant whining became intolerable to me and all the characters’ use of words such as “stupid” and “bloody hell” was not something I wanted to repeatedly inflict on my son. And I had to be especially careful during those times when Lucy would come into the room from time to time for her three-and-a-half-year-old dose of Harry and friends. All in all, though, the books were surprisingly suitable.

Ever since we started the series, Ben has, perhaps understandably, become obsessed with all things Harry Potter — listening to the books on CD, playing with Harry Potter action figures that his Auntie Tash got him from Good Will, watching the movie versions of the first four books. He even borrowed a costume from his older cousin and plans to go trick-or-treating as Harry Potter. (Lucy is still trying to decide between Hermione and a princess).

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve decided to start writing my own novel. I plan to call it Harvey Porter. In this totally original book, a young boy grows up with his mean neighbors after his parents die in a suspicious murder until one day he gets a letter at age 12 telling him that, as a superhero, he is invited to attend a special school for superheroes. Astonished by the news, he walks through the kitchen wall, soars thirty feet into the air and trains his x-ray vision on his next-door neighbors’ house to see if the children who live there are playing some kind of practical joke on him. Seeing that they are safely ensconced in their beds, he floats back to earth, throws his few belongings into a duffle bag, and strikes out to Pigfarts school of superheroism and gallantry. And that is where the adventure begins.

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9 Responses to Months of Magical Reading

  1. Dad says:

    I am struck by your description of what will be an important element of your relationship with your son years from now. How wonderful for him that you are interested in doing this with him, and for you that he is receptive to it.
    As for your own novel, maybe Ben can be your editor.
    Question: did you mean to say “inflict” or “inflect”?

  2. Mom/Cynthia says:

    Oh for goodness’ sake – I wondered the same thing about “inflect”.

    I think the reading time you offer your children is the Big Thing, Karl, as much as what you’re reading. I also appreciate your on-the-spot editing of inappropriate language.

    When you publish that novel, send me a copy – I’ll love to read it. (Would you believe I haven’t read a single Harry Potter yet? Couldn’t relate. Maybe I should have a pep talk from Ben.)

  3. StealthKD says:

    Having just watched the Veggie Tales knock-off of Lord of the Rings (title: Lord of the Beans), I think that your Harry Porter book will take off – and not just because the main character would be the namesake of a very fine beer (or do you mean to suggest that he is a tormented doorman?). One question: Who plays the “mean neighbors”? Just wondering.

  4. Diane says:

    Okay, you know i think you are great, and that Ben is and will continue to be great, as will Lucy. This is regardless of what you read to your children, and whether you read to them everyday for two hours or once in a blue moon.
    But really what I want to suggest here is that you consider diversifying the literary world by jazzing up the main character. I was so happy with J.K. when she gave Harry a multi-cultural girlfriend, instead of bland old Hermoine. (Okay, i like Hermoine, let’s not get stuck on that.) (Although talk about whiny. . .) How about a nice Hebraic name like Hillel Posner, or why not a nice Spanish name like Haritz Posada? Let me know if you need any other helpful advice on your way to publishing stardom.

  5. Karl says:

    Dad and Mom/Cynthia,
    Oops! That was supposed to be “inflicted.” Fixed now. Thanks for the catch.
    The challenge now is to provide ample reading time for Lucy. With Sara’s vocal problems and Ben’s voracious appetite for books and my general distractedness, it has been hard to give Lucy her due.
    StealthKD, (1) it’s Harvey Porter. (2) Let’s go with the doorman angle. (3) I haven’t thought about casting the movie version yet, but any suggestions would be welcome.
    Diane, as usual, you’ve made a very important point. How does Hazad Mohammed el’Potterdae sound? I do believe it’s important in these days of terrorism and state-sponsored torture that we reach out to other cultures, especially our Muslim brothers and sisters, in a spirit of super-heroic reconciliation.

  6. Debbi says:

    Cute idea… don’t quit the day job just yet! Since your visit, I have been racked with guilt (sort of) about time spent reading. I have relented and agreed to read “The Places You’ll Go.,” on a school night. Do you know what I noticed? It is not just me who thinks it’s too long, Dylan doesn’t even pay attention and ends up picking up another book while I am reading! Which proves the point I made the other night; that book was meant for high school graduates! For now, I think we’ll stick to “Lil Critter!” I can’t wait to see the Halloween costumes!

  7. aunt ginny says:

    Pigfarts? I think you’re on to somethin’ here, Karl! You could probably parody every fantasy book of the last 50 years if you put your mind to it! There’s gold in them thar’ digs!
    You’re not foolin’ me, I know you’re Peter Parker.

  8. Hi, my name is Hillel Posner and I do so wish I had been used in Harry Potter but mostly I am dying to know who Dianne is and how she came up with my name in the blog on Sep 26, 2006 ; 1:30 PM where she wrote. How about a nice Hebraic name like Hillel Posner. I mean nobody ever puts those two names together. One is Hebrew the other Russian. Who is Dianne?

  9. Kyle says:

    My dad read the Harry Potter books to me when I was young. I’m now 22, so the first book was released when I was seven years old. It was something we shared together and I look back and really appreciate him taking the time to do that. You have no idea how much that will mean to your son in future years! The series played a large part in instilling me with a passion for reading and writing.

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