Little Jedi and I are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He’s 5 and a half, so this is quite an adventure. We get through about half a chapter on the nights we read, generally about 6 or 8 pages.
He asks about a million questions, and we have to stop to talk about all kinds of things from major plot point reminders to what a new word means. But he laughs in the right spots. And not only was he the one who chose the book the first time, but he’s the one who continues to choose it.
Of course, he’s heard almost as many people talk about Harry Potter as Star Wars. And he loves Star Wars. I suppose, then, that it shouldn’t have been a surprise when he wanted to start reading the books.
And I did hesitate. I just wasn’t sure if he was quite old enough. The reading level is certainly higher than his own. It’s not until book 4 that we get what seems like a departure between children’s literature and young adult literature. (The death of Cedric and the Yule Ball mark the turn for me.) But early on, the books have their share of dark moments. Just in the initial book, Harry’s parents are killed; he lives in a dark closet under the stairs because his aunt and uncle neglect him; he has to fight a teacher to prevent the return of the evil wizard who killed his parents.
And so I debated with myself some more. I knew that he could sit through a chapter book and mostly follow the story-thread from night to night. We’ve read a few other chapter books–the Winnie the Pooh books have been his favorites so far. There hasn’t been anything on this scale, though.
I started to think about all the things he currently enjoys: Batman, the Ninja Turtles, Legos, superheroes of all sorts. (And Star Wars.) I knew what sort of stories he was used to and enjoyed–Harry Potter fits the bill. I decided to trust his interest. There are some things that I might overrule him on, sure—but Harry Potter wasn’t going to be one of them, even at a young age.
We’re taking our time. We’ve been reading the book since before Christmas, and we’re only halfway through it. Harry has just had his first potions lesson. At this rate, Little Jedi will be 15 by the time we’re on the last one.
And if I’m still reading Harry Potter books with with Little Jedi when I’m 45, that’ll be just fine with me.