Staff Picks: Books

Staff-recommended reading from the KPL catalog.

Is There Life After Harry?

(taken from Brian Kenney’s editorial in School Library Journal, November 2007)

At the risk of posting a dated entry, I’ll base my reasoning on a rumor that I heard not too long ago, being that there will not be a Harry Potter movie for each of the seven books written!  And, the latest movie has been postponed until 2009!  Oh, no!  Or, OK, then I’ll read something from the library while I’m waiting.  Yes!

“We all remember in our own lives a time when a book has become for us a signpost, a continuing presence in our lives.”  (Coles, Robert.  The Call of the Stories, Houghton-Mifflin, 1989)  For me, books became my friends at an early age, friends that I wouldn’t part with for any reason.

The gist of the School Library Journal editorial is that now that the Harry Potter series has ended, it’s feared that kids will never read again!  To quote the editorial's author, “Librarians know this is nonsense.  Connecting kids and books doesn’t often have the advantage of a huge media frenzy; it’s more often a one-on-one affair that involves both knowing books and knowing readers.”

I’m reminded of titles I first read in elementary and junior high school:  Little Women, Bright Island, and Anne of Green Gables…I could fill pages with titles, I’m sure.  Books I’ve read and loved since becoming an adult are A Wrinkle in Time, Mandy, The Orphan Train, Matilda Bone, The Midwife’s Apprentice…again, the list could go on and on!

Many of the above books are considered classics by youth librarians and other book lovers.  Some are by contemporary authors and a few are by foreign authors.  A classic title is often defined as “a book everyone has heard of but no one has read!”  A contemporary title would be one written relatively recently, or one that has a more modern story line, or a multicultural cast of characters.

Librarians talk with kids about interests and experiences and then recommend or suggest books that will be enjoyed by yet another generation.  It is hoped that today’s kids and those of the future will continue to be exposed to such characters as Meg and Charles Wallace, Mandy, the March girls, Thankful Curtis, Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger as well as those not yet thought of who will live on in their lives for years.

Book

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
9780545010221
AnnF

Comments

Harry Potter was a series that literally changed the world for kids. I started reading it in middle school, got the 4th one at midnight, got the next two shipped to me the day they came out (due to my work schedule), and got the last one at midnight at Portage B&N. I loved the books because they were written on two levels. The plot was one that children could love and understand, but there was so much foreshadowing and so many allusions that adults could pick up on. I for one predicted before the 7th book that Harry was a horcrux (don't believe my that's fine- but you can ask my friends. I was talking about it for weeks when I realized how much sense it made). I'm now a teacher and am saddened by the students who say they have not read Harry Potter but have seen the movies. I do hope at least some children will read the books before they see the movies. I'm also saddened by the amount of spoilers out there for kids who want to read the books. No one will ever be able to debate with their friends about if Harry lives or dies, what the horcruxs are, or who really is Mark Evans ever again. As for turning kids on to reading. There are so many WONDERFUL single titles out there, as you stated in your blog. I had an experience last year of sharing "The Invention of Hugo Cabaret" with an inner city child with behavior problems and watching him walk down the hallway, in school, with his nose in the book the whole way back to his class! We can always turn kids on to reading, but it's unfortunate that there won't be such a large scale love of reading for a long time- until another literary genius comes about.
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