I’ve been keeping this blog for a few months now. While I’ve written about everything from chickens to children to recipes, I’ve yet to write about books, and books are a very important part of who I am as a person and a mom.
Even though I’m no longer a full-time professor, I still teach part-time, and I think, maybe, because I’ve been teaching writing since I was 22 years old, I’ll always consider myself a literacy teacher. It’s just a part of who I am, and I don’t think that will ever change.
So it seems like it’s about time I wrote about books. And Harry Potter inspires me!
This weekend, on July 31st, a new Harry Potter book will be released, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And, chances are, somewhere near you, there are going to be parties and celebrations in honor of this important release.
Here’s why I think you should take some time to celebrate this book, especially if you’re a parent: We need to make a big deal out of books!
I taught college freshmen for a long time, and it would break my heart to learn how many students had never read a single book for fun—or had never read a single book at all, opting for Cliff’s Notes or online summaries when assigned reading in high school. These students were always the students who struggled most with both their reading and their writing, and I would always worry that, somehow, these students had missed an opportunity in their lives. Not only does reading improve your writing skills, it can make you a more thoughtful and empathetic person. There’s research to support this.
As a teacher and a mom, I feel it’s important to make a big deal out of books. Look what we do for athletes and celebrities. If we want our children to grow up as readers, let’s celebrate authors and books as well.
Thankfully, I think our culture has done a good job with this when it comes to JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. A new book by JK Rowling is a big deal, and your local library or bookstore is bound to be doing something to honor this occasion. I think it’s important that we take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate writing and literature and get our children to these events. It really can inspire them to read and certainly helps teach them that reading is important.
In the Bangor area, our local children’s bookstore, The Briar Patch, is celebrating the book release with a midnight Harry Potter release party. My husband was hesitant to keep our seven year old out that late, but I’ve made the case that this is important.
Well, of course, I want to go too, and I’m sure there are many grownups who can’t wait for the new Harry Potter book. But that’s beside the point. Think of the children!
Here’s what The Briar Patch has planned.
On Saturday, July 30, from 10:00 PM until midnight, The Briar Patch will be hosting a party in honor of the book’s release. The event will feature a variety of fun Harry Potter activities, and other shops downtown are getting in on the action.
Specialty Sweets will serve as the official Honeydukes of Diagon Alley, and Central Street Farmhouse will be serving up some non-alcoholic Butter Beer as The Leaky Cauldron. ‘Nique Imaging will be taking photos as The Daily Prophet, and Hot Topic will be coming to downtown to serve as Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions and will offer a variety of Harry Potter merchandise for sale. But I think I’m most excited that the Temple of the Feminine Divine will be serving as Olivander’s Wand Shop and will have wands for sale! And there’s more—too much to list.
It’s going to be a big deal! Part of Central Street will be closed down, and the whole area will be transformed. The night will culminate with the release of the book at 12:01 AM, and you never know what kind of fun will erupt when you get a bunch of Harry Potter fans together!
My oldest son, who is now in college, grew up on Harry Potter. I took him to a few release parties, dressed him in costume, and we always had a blast. He also learned to love reading, and like so many of his contemporaries, had his nose in a Harry Potter book for many of his childhood years. The best part is that it led to him having his nose in all kinds of books. This love of reading has served him well.
Now, I have passed on the Harry Potter tradition to my youngest son. When he was four, I tried to read Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone to him, but he wasn’t quite ready. Last year, with the release of the beautiful illustrated version of The Sorcerer’s Stone, I tried again. It was a success! He was only six years old, but I managed to hook him. He loved the story, and we ended up making dragon eggs this Easter.
Making a big deal out of books is a great way to make reading seem fun and important, and it’s a great bonding experience as well. Our whole family will be at the Briar Patch’s Harry Potter party this weekend, celebrating books and one of the most important authors of our time. We hope to see you there!
The Briar Patch is located on Central Street in downtown Bangor. For more information about the Harry Potter event, check out the store’s beautiful Facebook page. There are still a limited number of books available for pre-order. You can order over the phone at 207.941.0255 or stop by their location at 27 Central Street.