Harry Potter, eleven years old, is an orphan living with his terrible aunt and uncle, and even more terrible cousin Dudley. The Dursleys (Harry’s family) mistreat and ignore Harry, whose bedroom is not really a bedroom, but a cupboard under the stairs. One day, however, is visited by a giant named Hagrid and given an invitation to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It turns out Harry’s parents were a witch and wizard and Harry is a wizard himself. He enrolls in Hogwarts as a year one student and later learns that he, known as “the boy who lived,” is famous in the magical community. Harry is only person to have ever survived an attack by Lord Voldemort, an evil sorcerer who killed Harry’s parents and left him with a lightning shaped scar on his forehead. Unfortunately, Voldemort is not pleased that Harry is alive and it looks as though Harry must face him once again.
When J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published, my dad bought it for me, having heard about it on the radio. I was reluctant to read it, thinking, “it’s a boy’s book!” Or, “I’m not really into fantasy or science fiction!” However, I gave it a chance (maybe I had nothing else new to read) and wound up loving it! Harry Potter is a truly magical book! The plot in complex, expanding with each addition to the series, and the writing incredibly detailed. Rowling creates an entirely new world with the series, leaving no stone unturned. The book has everything readers could want (fantasy, adventure, mystery, humor, heartache, etc.) and even captured the attention of my brother, a very reluctant reader.
Reading/interest level: ages 9 and up
Publisher’s Weekly Best Book, 1998
ALA Best Books for Young Adults, 1999
Parenting Book of the Year Award, 1999
American Booksellers Book of the Year, 1999
ALA Notable Children’s Book, 1999
(and many many more!)
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