It's hard to believe that it's been 19 years since HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S (or Philosopher's) STONE was first published in 1997. My oldest daughter was not quite four years old. My oldest son had just been born. It would be several more years before I would snuggle up with my daughter to read it to her, and a couple years after that before I'd read it to my son.
I hate to admit it, but until 2015, I had only ever read book I and most of book V in the series (I had to read book V as assigned reading in my graduate children's lit class). However, I was a devoted fan of the movies since the moment THE SORCERER'S STONE came out in theaters in 2001. Every year since then, my kids and I have held our annul Harry Potter Fest, complete with watching all the films over the course of several days, eating tons of popcorn and candy, and wearing all the Harry Potter stuff we can get our hands on.
When I finally introduced my youngest (of 5) child to Harry Potter a little over a year ago (he had just turned 7 and was finally old enough to handle it), he and I watched all 8 movies. And we started reading THE SORCERER'S STONE every night at bedtime. Over the course of the past year, we have also read THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS and THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. We started THE GOBLET OF FIRE on New Year's Day.
Harry Potter is that kind of story for me. I love reading them to my kids, and I've already decided that when I start having grand kids, I plan to gift each a set of Harry Potter books the moment they are old enough to read.
Why do I love Harry Potter so much? Because Harry could be anyone of us. He is, on the outside, rather ordinary. He's not much different than most other kids his age. And yet he is extraordinary, just like each of us deep down long to be extraordinary too. Harry keeps our dreams alive. And, quite simply, Harry's stories are plain old fun and unforgettable.
I've noticed that my paperbacks are getting rather worn out. I've decided it is time to replace them with hardcovers, something that might stand a chance at lasting as long as my love for Harry Potter will.