Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Harry Potter Factor

(Cross-posted at Midlife Mama)

My new column is up, and it comes with a spoiler warning. So if you haven't finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but you think one day you might want to--and you don't want to know ANYTHING about it--well, then, don't click on this link. (I don't give it all away, by any means, but I just couldn't keep it all to myself.)

Here's a spoiler-free taste:

17 years. That's how long I've been a mother. It's also how long J.K. Rowling has been living with Harry Potter. She started the series while pregnant with her first daughter, Jessica, in 1990; my daughter, Mariah, must be a little older than Jessica, then, as she's rapidly approaching her 18th birthday at the end of this year.

10 years. That's how long I've been the mother of two: Nick's tenth birthday was this month. It's also how long Harry Potter novels have been out in the world available to read. My mothering life, then, has tracked the Harry Potter series in more ways than one.

Mariah and I began reading the books some time in 1998 or 1999, I think, before the biggest hype but after the first book was available in my public library. At first I didn't know I'd be buying them all (in multiple copies, no less!). I just thought I was sharing another fun book with my daughter.

We read the first few books together, sprawled on a couch, each wedged into a corner with our feet meeting in the middle. As we continued reading, she grew taller -- and her reading got faster -- so we read them sequentially, talking about them over meals...

Read the rest here...


  1. Damn it! I hate crying first thing in the morning. Great piece, Libby.

  2. Great essay! I was following the mother love theme too. Isn't it interesting how we get such different things from the stories at different ages. What a fabulous depth and range Rowling achieved!