13 September 2011

Enough with the Harry Potter

ACTUALLY, I DON'T mean that at all -- though I must say this summer has been the Summer of Harry. Perhaps I should have expected this since there are 12 year-old twins living in the house, but the lengths to which Patrick and Julia will go to read Harry Potter books is incredible. Just this summer, Julia started and finished the entire 7 book series -- concluding the final book last night in bed. Patrick is about a book-and-a-half behind -- though he is quick to point out that he is "getting more exercise" than Julia and also reading quite a few sports-related books by John Feinstein and Mike Lupica. Fair point.

On several occasions this summer I went to bed at more normal time -- about 11:00 or 11:30 -- only to find the lights on in the P and J's room. Sometimes they were still reading, but more often they were fast asleep, head comfortably resting on the open pages of one of the Potter books. During our trip to England they didn't even pull out the portable DVD players because the books were too good to put down. One afternoon a couple weeks ago, Julia reclined on the couch with one of the books for more than 5 hours, remaining motionless the entire time -- except for the right hand that would extend every couple of minutes to turn the page. That same day, Patrick nearly collapsed as he exited the bathroom, having not realized that his legs were completely asleep after nearly 45 minutes of reading while on the toilet.

By how can we complain? It is really hard to tell a child to stop reading. Both kids are fairly good readers on the whole -- meaning that they seem to enjoy reading Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, etc. -- but we've never seen the kind of passionate reading that the Harry Potter books brought out. That's something new. I know the books have been around for over 10 years and many parents have experienced the 'Potter Effect', but this was our first encounter and it was truly amazing.

School has started now and the first book they are reading is the Diary of Anne Frank. I hope they like it, but somehow I don't think it's going to meet their now very loft standards.


Anne said...

You might enjoy this: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM200310303491821

My kids have read all 7 books multiple times so don't think you're done yet.

frenchforawhile said...

I know, I think the next plan is to read them all again in French.

Anonymous said...

We also had the summer of Harry Potter, although it was the umpteenth time through the series for my son. When he started using lines from the book on us like, "I'm only yanking your wand", I knew it was time to hide them. He's into the Artemis Fowl series now but I still find him hiding under the covers of his bed reading the Potter books now and then. I think the reading of familiar English text is a relief for him after the long day of French school.


Anonymous said...

My teen preferred reading them all in V.O. over French translations. In fact, so much she has read 4 aloud to her little brother, who has been converted to a fan.
J in Grenoble
PS She has read the 1st in Swedish but the required reading of another English book, "Great Expectations", definately slowed her down!

Penny said...

Yes, it was the summer of Potter here too! My daughter reads the first 3 over and over in english and french. She likes to see the difference in the names etc. She has read the 4th one once in english but is not yet ready to tackle the 5th, which is fine with me given her age. I'm trying to get her interested in Narnia now but somehow they can't quite compete with Harry and friends!

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