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The iHP.net News Archives » Books: General
11. 2

 £11k for one inch HP book

- [ Vickie @ 11:25 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

The leather bound one inch Harry Potter book, which included pictures of Harry's witch's hat, broomstick and wire-rimmed spectacles was sold as part of a charity auction at Sothebys.
The item was the third most expensive lot, Rowling being outdone only by contributions from Muhammad Ali and Sir Paul McCartney.
The auction raised £125,000 for a homeless charity.
Read more at the Sun Newspaper online.


10.24

 Why translate Harry Potter to Ancient Greek?

- [ iruhkoi @ 09:13 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

An article from the Wall Street Journal Editorial page considers the reasons for the upcoming release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Ancient Greek translation:

In one sense, the mere act of translating Harry Potter into dead languages helps to breathe some life into them. The translation is "probably the longest bit of Ancient Greek that's been put together for the last few hundred years," and maybe longer than that--possibly "a millennium or more," Mr. Wilson notes. And if nothing else, "Hareios Poter Kai he tou Philosophou Lithos," will give struggling students of classical languages something to read besides Aeschylus and Aristotle.

Read more at the link above! Thanks to Mugglenet for the heads up.


10. 3

 Minerva Mcgonagall's Birthday

- [ Deb @ 11:42 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

According to JKR's official site Today, October 4th, is Professor Minerva McGonagall's birthday!


09.17

 Mary GrandPré To Draw 2005 Minnesota State Fair Poster

- [ Jasen @ 05:42 PM . GMT . Books: General, General News ]

MINNESOTA STATE FAIRGROUDS - Mary GrandPré will create the original art for the 2005 Minnesota State Fair commemorative poster.

GrandPré, best known for her illustrations of the Harry Potter books, has been illustrating books for 25 years, including children's books, magazine covers for Business Week, Atlantic Monthly and Time Magazine and book covers for publishers Harcourt Brace, McGraw Hill and Dell Books.

In agreeing to visually interpret "The Great Minnesota Get-Together 2005," GrandPré said she "feels a real connection to the fair, especially with the animals and the people who show them. I think it's an exciting project to work on because it not only tugs at my Minnesota roots, but it's all about having fun. The imagery of the Minnesota State Fair has so much to do with nostalgia, yet there are always new things to see and do there, no matter how many times you go back."

Grand Forks Herald has more -- and if you're a local Minnesotan able to attend the fair, we'd love if you sent us some pictures!


09. 9

 Harry Potter bewitches NIU

- [ Bunny @ 04:43 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

When Matt Birchler bought his textbooks at the beginning of the semester, he was surprised when he found his English books were from the Harry Potter series.

“I had never read any of the books or seen the movies before this class,” Birchler, a freshman communications major, said. “If I knew the class was using Harry Potter as a text, I probably would not have taken the class, but having actually read one of the books now, I have to say they’re way better than I ever expected.”

Many students, like Birchler, walked into English 105 skeptical.


“I was never interested in Harry Potter before this class began. To me, Harry Potter was always a little kid type of entertainment,” Veronica Butts, a freshman public health administration major, said. “But it is actually interesting.”

Though some may question the books’ ability to challenge advanced English students, Angela Schult, a freshman elementary education major, said she believes they are working at a college level.

“Just because the books may be an easy read doesn’t mean that they cannot benefit us,” she said. “We were told at the beginning of the semester that reading anything makes us better writers, whether it’s Shakespeare or a copy of the Enquirer.”

However, not all students think the books are college material.

“I feel that Harry Potter is a children’s book and should stay a children’s book,” said Sheila Vance, a freshman political science and Spanish double-major. “I was reading more advanced stuff freshman year in high school.”

The class’ teacher, Karley Adney, believes focusing on these books is useful because it exposes students to popular fiction, which is a type of writing that they may or many not have had the chance to read in a classroom setting.

“It is valuable that students are exposed to all genres of writing because then they are able to make their own educated decisions about what constitutes good writing,” Adney said.

Adney chose the Harry Potter books because the series is packed with themes and issues she says we can all relate to. “There is classicism and racism, and other issues like loss, rejection, popularity, family and acceptance - all of which are issues that we have dealt with and still do deal with on a daily basis,” Adney said.

The class syllabus includes a reading log, an argumentative paper and summarizing exercises, Adney said. She teaches two sections of the class, and all books used are either from the series itself or deal with analyzing the Harry Potter books.

Although the course has many educational goals, some students are looking forward to more than just grammar and writing.

“I should say I want to become a better writer [in the class], but really, right now I just want to see what happens next in the Harry Potter story,” Birchler said.

Source: Northern Star Online


09. 6

 Apologies from The Sunday Mail

- [ Jasen @ 01:49 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

In response to an earlier publication, in which they claimed J.K. Rowling based the character of Gilderoy Lockhart on her ex-husband, Jorge Arantes, The Sunday Mail has issued an apology:

ON August 22 we published an article headlined 'JK: My revenge' in which we mistakenly stated that JK Rowling had revealed that she had based her Harry Potter character Gilderoy Lockhart on her ex-husband Jorge Arantes.

Subsequently, we were contacted by Ms Rowling's solicitors and, as a result, we are happy to accept that she made no such revelation and that the character is not based on Mr Arantes in any way. We apologise for any embarrassment caused.


09. 5

 Art Exhibit Showcases International Potter

- [ M17 @ 05:45 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

The work of children's book authors is on display at the Northwestern University library in Chicago. Included are international translations of Harry Potter books.


The featured artwork includes 27 nominees for the 2004 Hans Christian Andersen Award... the exhibit includes children's books published in more than 25 languages, including editions of Harry Potter in Turkish and Finnish.

Harry Potter eta Sorgin-Harria, the Basque translation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, is on the International Board on Books for Young People's Honour List.

Source: Chicago Tribune. Subscription may be required.

Click here to see Northwestern University's website on the exhibit.


08.25

 Got £20,000 to Spare?

- [ Claire @ 04:38 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

BBC News is reporting that eBay has a hardback first edition of POA for sale. The highest bid currently stands at £1,200, but with three days still to go sources believe this could rise to as much as £20,000!


08.23

 JKR Denies Character is Ex

- [ Claire @ 04:46 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Despite reports to the contrary, JKR's publicist has said that the character of Lockhart is NOT based on the author's ex-husband. The Big News Network has the full story.


08.22

 Ever wonder who inspired JKR to create Lockhart?

- [ Kristina @ 12:30 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

JK has revealed that the only character she has created after a real person is Gilderoy Lockhart. Who could be as horrible as he is? Why, that's her first husband of course - Portuguese journalist Arantes. In the article she says:



'I have to say that the living model is worse. He was a real shocker.

'The lies that he told about adventures that he'd had, things he'd done and impressive acts that he had committed - he was a shocking man.

'I can say this quite freely, because he will never in a million years dream that he is Gilderoy Lockhart.'

JK told fans: 'The only character I sat down and thought I would base on someone is Gilderoy Lockhart.

She also commented:
'It made up for having to endure him for two solid years.

'You might think it was mean of me to depict him as Gilderoy but you can rest assured he will never, ever guess.

'He's probably out there now telling everybody that he inspired the character of Dumbledore. Or that he wrote the books and lets me take the credit out of kindness.'

Some avid HP fans might notice how she modeled Hermione after herself, and Hermione had quite a crush on Lockhart before discovering what a fraud he was.

Check out the full article here
Thanks for the tip Wizard News


08.19

 Harry Potter Aur Paras Patthar Sells Slowly

- [ M17 @ 01:30 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Hindi translation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter Aur Paras Patthar) hit the market in November last year, not many copies have moved, at least in our English-speaking urban city.

More at The Times of India.


08.11

 Harry Potter Ane Parasmani

- [ M17 @ 09:27 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

Gryffindor becomes Garuddwar, and Slytherin is Nagshakti, in the Gujurati translation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The book was translated into this Indian dialect, and many of the children in the area are glad to have it:

And for Potter's young fans? "Mummy won't have to read it out to me now. I can run through the book myself because I can connect to the magic world in my mother tongue -- the dungeons are 'bhonyaru,' herbology is 'jadibootiyon ka gyan'," says an excited Yuvraj Patel, a standard four student.

Source: The Times of India via WizardNews


08.10

 Report: The Rare-Book Market

- [ M17 @ 08:11 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

The rare-book market has become increasingly accessible to novices in the past 10 years, not least due to a boom in internet trading. The sums commanded by books like Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone are unprecedented among book dealers, but whether the trend will hold remains to be seen.

Source: Belfast Telegraph


08. 6

 Harry and the Potters!

- [ Kristina @ 08:01 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

It seems that "Harry and the Potters" is actually, a band!

From HPANA

Sarah Blair and Amanda Ash of the International Society of Potter Obsessed Losers (ISPOL) recently attended a free "Harry and the Potters" concert in Kansas and were nice enough to share some pictures and insight into the event.

Read the full article here!

You can check out Harry and the Potters website and you can even listen to some of their songs, including songs about Sirius, Umbridge and Hermione!


08. 5

 Potter Among "Works Re-read Most Often"

- [ iruhkoi @ 08:41 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

According to mlive.com, a study by the American Library Association found that the books (among novels, plays, and short stories) reread most often include the Harry Potter books, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Shakespeare's plays.

"I think books that get re-read have characters or scenes or lessons that people want to go back to again and again," says Neal Wyatt, the head of an ad hoc ALA committee that analyzed what books are re-read.

"Some books need repetitive readings just to feel like you got it. And sometimes it's not even fair to say the books are re-read because you're a different person each time you read them," Wyatt said.

Read more at the link above!


07.30

 Happy Birthday, Neville!

- [ Jasen @ 09:27 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

Thanks to forum member Shruti for informing us that according to J.K. Rowling official site, today is indeed Neville Longbottom's birthday!


07.29

 Half-Bloods and Pure Bloods Draw Nazi Parallel

- [ Jasen @ 01:35 PM . GMT . Books: General, J.K. Rowling ]

JK ROWLING made the "chilling" discovery that villains in her books used the same twisted logic as the Nazis when she visited a Holocaust museum, the author has revealed.

Ms Rowling was asked by a fan to explain why some people in the stories - including the hero Harry Potter - are referred to as "half-blood" wizards.

She replied that the terms "half-blood" and "pure-blood" were used by prejudiced characters such as the evil Lucius Malfoy and the Death Eaters, servants of arch-villain Lord Voldemort.

Ms Rowling said she had invented the idea that some wizards were not considered to be "pure", and realised the similarities with the Nazis’ beliefs only afterwards when she visited a museum dedicated to the Holocaust, in which six million Jewish people died.

Her decision to talk about such a sensitive issue was welcomed by an education officer at The Jewish Museum, who said the stories could be used to help children deal with racism in the playground.

Read on at scotsman!


07.25

 Harry Potter Inspires Christian Alternative

- [ Jasen @ 02:00 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

G. P. Taylor, an Anglican vicar, onetime roadie for the Sex Pistols and former all-around sinner, was roaring across the Yorkshire moors on his Yamaha XV1100 in a lightning storm when the idea for his hit Christian children's book, "Shadowmancer," came to him.

Like some other committed Christians, he had been disturbed by the amount of witchcraft and the occult in children's literature. "Harry Potter," for instance. The best-selling author J. K. Rowling gives too much power to the forces of evil in her books, he told parishioners. Well, one congregant replied, why not write your own book then?

Continue reading at The NY Times!

Thanks to Avalon1 for the tip!


07.20

 Ancient Greek Edition Release Looms Closer

- [ iruhkoi @ 09:10 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

Amazon.com has announced that they will now be accepting orders for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Ancient Greek Edition), currently scheduled for release on October 15, 2004. The site helpfully notes that customers who have ordered this version of the book have also bought Athenaze: An Introduction to Ancient Greek by M.G. Balme, et al.

Just in case anyone needs something to do while we wait for the Half Blood Prince.


07.16

 Arthur A. Levine Speaks About Children's Literature

- [ iruhkoi @ 08:21 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

Arthur A. Levine, the American publisher of the US versions of the Harry Potter books (as an imprint of Scholastic Inc.), spoke to The Oregonian about the writing of children's literature, and plans on visiting the Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR at 7:30 PM on Monday, July 19, 2004 and giving a speech called "Aiming for Excellence: What You Can Learn From the Most Honored Books of 2003."

Excerpts from the article reveal some deatails about how the "translation" is made from British manuscript of the Potter novels to the published American version.


"There is a great misapprehension that it's easy to write a children's book," Arthur Levine said. "It's widely held in all forms of literature -- that it's somehow easy to do -- but it often seems that people read to their kids and make the leap that they could write something that connects in the same way as the book they're reading."

Levine should know. He has his own imprint at Scholastic Inc. and has edited two books that won the Caldecott Medal ("Officer Buckle and Gloria" by Peggy Rathman and "Mirette on the High Wire" by Emily Arnold McCully). His main claim to fame these days is that he is J.K. Rowling's American editor and works with her on the "Harry Potter" series. It says "Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic" on the spine of Rowling's books, visibility that attracts anyone with a manuscript.

Levine's imprint publishes about 15 books every year. He edits all of them himself.

OK, what can you learn from the most-honored books of 2003?

"Well, I don't want to give my whole talk away, but it's always useful and interesting to look at the books that won the major awards in our field to see what you can learn," he said. "It's not always the case, though, that the books that were universally acclaimed or got the best reviews turn out to be the best books in any year. 'Charlotte's Web' is the classic case. It did not win the Newbery Medal the year it was published."

The "Harry Potter" series has won a few awards and lost a few, too. The title for the sixth book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince," recently was announced by Rowling on her (very cool) new Web site, www.jkrowling.com/en/thankyou.cfm. No publication date has been announced. (The paperback edition of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" will be published on Aug. 10.)

When Rowling completes her manuscript, Levine will read it, make notes, fly to London and meet with his counterpart at Rowling's British publisher, Bloomsbury, then discuss the novel with Rowling.

"I'm happy to talk about Harry Potter," Levine said. "I love working on the books."

Read more at the link above!


07.15

 Ottakar's Sales Rise

- [ M17 @ 09:08 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

Half-year sales at Ottakar's have been strong and gross margins have been in line with its expectations, the British bookseller said. Total sales were up 19.9% with like-for-like sales up 4.1%... They cited the success of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books as one of the reasons sales were rising.

Read more about the British bookseller here. (Via WizardNews)


07.14

 Potter Spoofs Becoming Bestsellers

- [ M17 @ 03:27 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

123Bharath reports...

Spoof books parodying hits like 'Harry Potter' and 'The Lord of The Rings' are also becoming bestsellers. According to The Sun, a new chart that came out yesterday shows that the sales of such publications is rapidly increasing.

Included on this chart are two 'Barry Trotter' books, The Shameless Parody and The Unnecessary Sequel.

200,000 copies of 'Barry Trotter And The Shameless Parody' have been sold in UK in just three years, whereas its follow-up, 'Barry Trotter And The Unnecessary Sequel' has sold 110,000 books.


07. 8

 More Potter Books, Less American Readers?

- [ M17 @ 08:52 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

While there isn't a direct link between Harry Potter and the amount Americans read, a new survey has this interesting bit:

Fewer than half of adult Americans read novels, short stories, plays or poetry, according to a new survey released that details a dramatic decline in literary reading habits. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) report, "Reading at Risk," showed an overall drop of 10 percentage points - representing a loss of 20 million potential readers - from 1982 to 2002...

Despite the much-touted influence of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books and Oprah Winfrey's Book Club in reviving reading among children and adults, the NEA survey showed the rate of decline in readers had actually accelerated from five percent to 14 percent since 1992.

More from AFP via Yahoo! News.


07. 8

 New Interesting Ponderings Page Online

- [ Jasen @ 07:48 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

After several months of collecting, we finally have enough questions to add to our new Interesting Ponderings page. Check it out at the link!


07. 7

 What's In A Name?

- [ Jasen @ 03:15 PM . GMT . Books: General, J.K. Rowling ]

From Daily Record:

HARRY Potter author JK Rowling has admitted she gets most of her characters' names from phone directories, baby-naming books and even war memorials.

The writer said she likes collecting unusual words and names.

She explained: 'I take them from all sorts of different places. I really enjoy reading lists of them. For me, its like casting an eye over a pile of unwrapped presents.'

She also revealed she never wastes words, as she'll use one of the first Potter chapters she ever wrote, but didn't use up till now, in the next book.


07. 4

 New British Adult Edition Covers

- [ iruhkoi @ 08:09 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

CBBC Newsround reports that Bloomsbury, which publishes the British versions of the Harry Potter books, will be releasing new "Adult" edition Potter novels featuring new covers. The article says that the changes to the covers are "to make them look more like the recent Order of the Phoenix one."

The new versions are expected to be on sale July 10, 2004. See them at the link above! Thanks to Darkmark for the tip!


06.25

 Rowling refuses to write Potter with US accent

- [ Vickie @ 10:31 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

The Scotsman.com has an article on JKs refusal to put an American character into the Potter series.

JK ROWLING has rejected pleas from fans in the United States to put an American character into her Harry Potter stories.

The multi-millionaire author - said to have amassed a £430 million fortune - said her stories were set in a British school and she saw "no logical reason to insert foreigners". In an entry on her new website, www.jkrowling.com which she set up to answer fans’ questions and correct false rumours about her or the Harry Potter tales, Rowling, 38, stated that if there was anyone who wanted stories about American wizards they were "free to write their own book".

The author also revealed that she stopped smoking by chewing gum and playing a computer game instead. She quit cigarettes four years ago and has now become so good at the Minesweeper game that she is close to being one of the world’s top 100 players on the internet.

In response to a question asking if she will put Americans or characters of other nationalities into the books, Rowling said: "I’m afraid the answer to this question is ‘no’, although you have glimpsed Americans and other nationalities at the Quidditch World Cup.

Click here to read the full article.


06.22

 Clinton's Memoir No Match for the Wizard

- [ M17 @ 12:25 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Bill Clinton's been called a lot of things, but one thing local booksellers aren't calling him is a boy wizard.

Even with the former leader of the free world, a reported $10 million advance and a media maelstrom behind it, President Clinton's "My Life" doesn't match the stir brought on with books by J.K. Rowling.

More from the Citizen-Times! (Thanks to GotPotter!)


06.21

 Harry Potter: Classic Literature Material?

- [ M17 @ 03:08 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Harry Potter is the smash hit movie of the season. That isn’t surprising given the enormous popularity of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The fantasy novels may never find a niche among the great works of literature, at least in the opinion of academics...

More from The Joplin Globe.


06.18

 Another Point of View of the Books

- [ Jasen @ 03:54 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Adam Rickel of Human Events has this:

I heard the allegations that they teach children witchcraft and wanted to know for myself whether this is suitable reading for my children. As a Christian and a father I was concerned that my children would be exposed to these influences. So, I read the first book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Are there spells? Yes. Do people fly around on broomsticks and carry magic wands? Yes. Is this something I would let my children read--or, in this case, view? Yes.

Read the full here.


06.11

 Popularity of Harry Potter

- [ Vickie @ 05:04 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

What, exactly, makes the Potter books so universally popular? Peter Craven examines their ingredients.

It sometimes seems that Harry Potter is going to take over the world. Here I am in the immediate wake of the preview of the third Harry Potter film at Village. It's 1pm on Sunday and every one of the cinemas has been full to the brim with children of all ages eager to see how the latest film - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, directed by Alfonso Cuaron of Y Tu Mama Tambien fame - will stand up.

The Age have an article on the popularity of the Harry Potter books. To read this in full click here.

Thanks to TLC.


06.10

 HP Audio Books ROCK

- [ Deb @ 12:19 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Congratulations to the Listening Library and Jim Dale!
Thanks to THP for the scoop.

Listening Library received 3 “Audie Awards” for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling read by Jim Dale.


The awards were for Package Design, Children’s Title for Ages 8+ and, most importantly, it won Audiobook of the Year.

Random House tells us that the Audiobook of the Year Award (the first one ever) was selected by a “Blue Ribbon” panel of judges who reviewed entries on the basis of “excellence in production quality; compelling packaging and overall design; marketing campaign support; suitability of format and inspired narration; marketplace response to the product; and how the product advances the role of audiobooks.”


06. 9

 Potter Doesn't Make it into Muggle Classrooms

- [ Vickie @ 02:02 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

Harry Potter has made it in the movies and onto every kind of product imaginable -- lunch boxes to boxer shorts -- but has he flown his Firebolt into muggle classrooms?

Not exactly, according to teachers and reading experts. Not, at least, in elementary, middle and high schools. (This may be just as well, but more on that later.) On the other hand, the subject of Harry is no stranger in college course catalogs.

Read more here.

Thanks to Wizard News for the info.


06. 4

 Merchants Hoping PoA Movie Will Help Book Sales

- [ Jasen @ 01:48 PM . GMT . Books: General, Movie: PoA ]

Howell merchants are hoping for more Harry Potter mania as they plan a party next week celebrating the release of the movie "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."

Again, the life of the party is Aria Booksellers owner Mary Ellen Ahmad. She planned the last Howell Harry party that drew 4,000 people downtown. This year's event is from 6-10 p.m. on June 11.

Ann Arbor News has the rest.


06. 3

 New Editions This Summer!

- [ Jasen @ 02:33 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

CNW reports:

VANCOUVER, June 2 /CNW/ - The summer of 2004 will see the world's best-selling books reaching new audiences. Recognized jointly by Amazon and the Economist as the best-selling books worldwide, the Harry Potter series has truly become a global phenomenon. In Canada, Raincoast Books has sold over 7 million copies. Now with five of the seven books in the series published, Raincoast is happy to announce new plans for the summer to target new fans of
the boy wizard.

- May 3: Raincoast releases Harry Potter Magic Editions in paperback, boasting fun and appealing cover designs and economical prices.

- July 8: prepare for the release of the first four books of the Harry Potter series in new adult format paperbacks. The packaging and covers for these books will target a more mature audience.

- August 10: the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in paperback!


06. 3

 Will PoA's Box Office Success Help Scholastic?

- [ Jasen @ 02:22 PM . GMT . Books: General ]

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) -- If Harry Potter villain Lord Voldemort were an investor, he'd probably be a short seller.

And if You-Know-Who shorted Scholastic this year, the publisher of the Harry Potter books in the U.S., he and his loyal Death Eaters would have a lot of money to finance their evil crusade against Harry and the rest of his Hogwarts crew. Shares of Scholastic (SCHL: Research, Estimates) have tumbled more than 17 percent year-to-date due to disappointing sales and earnings.

Read on.


06. 2

 Harry Potter Tops Children's Poll

- [ Vickie @ 02:29 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

More than half of children named a Harry Potter title in their top three favourite books in a survey.

Children's classics, such as The Lord of the Rings, books by Roald Dahl, The Jungle Book and Winnie the Pooh were also popular.

The survey, for the Prince of Wales Arts and Kids Foundation, questioned children aged between seven and 14.

Read the full story on the BBC website.


05.30

 Harry Potter...Too Hard?

- [ Scott @ 05:59 AM . GMT . Books: General ]

The Chicago Sun Times has an interesting take on why children shouldn't read the Harry Potter books:

I know that young audiences are being charmed by screenings of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban." The tots are entertained, adolescence never looked so appealing, good has temporarily triumphed over evil and all that.

But parents, about these books: Do you really know what your kids are reading?

Inspired by the release of "Azkaban," I've finally gotten through the five books in the series, and I must say I'm appalled.

It's not a question of the occult. I have no problem with the occult. Believe me, if I truly thought that witchcraft would help me smite my enemies, I'd be slaving over a hot cauldron right now.

No, the problem with these books is that they're -- how to say this? -- they're hard




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