As I have mentioned before, six out of the seven Harry Potter books have found their place on the Top 100 Children’s Books list. The only one left off is book number six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In speaking with some friends, there are a few ideas that we came up with as to why, but that’s not what I want to discuss today. To be honest, I was surprised to find the first book in the series ranked highest on the list. Not that I expected my favorite, Goblet of Fire, to rank highest, but I was just surprised. Thank goodness that I had the chance to speak with my supervisor about this exact topic.
One day at work, I was reading HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the break room. Enter Heather, my supervisor. She sees that I’m reading it and her face lights up. We get into a conversation about the series and what her midnight releases looked like. She admits that she is a HP nerd and obviously not just an emotional fanatic, but a thoughtful, critically-minded fan. She takes great care in explaining her love for this series and it’s characters, so I ask her why she thinks the first book made the highest ranking on the list. She admits that, in re-reading, the first book is not her favorite at all, but she understands that this book would greatly appeal to younger children, around the age that this list is trying to target. Think about it. Harry has just turned eleven when this book begins and J.K. Rowling took great care to write it with eleven-year-olds in mind. The teasing and playfulness of the students reflect pre-adolescence. The true evil nature of the characters has not even begun to be revealed. As the series moves on, Rowling uses the books to pinpoint the age group that Harry falls in. Brilliant, I say. Brilliant.
by J.K. Rowling
Originally published in 1997