The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 29, 1999


Why I'm Just Wild About J.K. Rowling

Dear Ms. Rowling,

This is a first for me. I've never written a fan letter to anyone before, and some might say I'm a little too old to be starting now, but that's one of the reasons why I'm writing this: your books have made me feel like a kid again. Reading about the orphaned Harry and his wizard-in-training friends has taken me back to a time in my youth when the fantastic seemed possible. Every child harbors doubts occasionally as to whether her parents really are her parents, so when Harry discovers that his horrible aunt and uncle and cousin aren't the limits of his familythat he is descended from a fabulous family of wizards, and is considered to be something of a hero in the community of magic, it is a childhood fantasy come true. Harry, who has to wear glasses, has a scarred forehead and struggles with schoolwork, turns out to be a star at Quidditch, a magical game played on flying broomsticks, proving yet another one of my childhood beliefsthat everyone, no matter how much of a geek, has a superstar lurking just beneath the surface.

Everyone who knows I've read your books has asked me why they are so phenomenally popular. I've noticed that in interviews you find it hard to answer that question, so I certainly won't presume to do so, but I have my suspicions that it has as much to do with your humanity as it does with your writing talents. Harry is an Everyman for children. He makes mistakes, argues with his friends, refuses to trust authority figures; in other words, he's a real kid. But Harry owns up to and learns from his mistakes; he apologizes to and leans on his friends, and, for a boy who didn't know a kind and loving adult for his first ten years, he struggles to value adult relationships.

Almost anyone, I'll wager, can see himself in Harry and his school experiences because you have proven yourself to be a wizard at blending reality and fantasy. While Harry may go to school in a labyrinthine castle, complete with resident ghosts and talking portraits and surrounded by a Forbidden Forest, he also must deal with demanding teachers, school bullies and enormous homework assignmentswhat child couldn't relate? While you anchor the amazing in the ordinary, you do so with such humor and wit that adults as well as children cannot help but be enthralled. (I understand that, because your book is so popular with adults in England, the British publisher also printed a version with a more "adult" cover, so that grown-ups could read it in public without embarrassment.)

Which brings me to the main reason why I admire you so much, Ms. Rowling. You have given me hope. Because my daughter is seventeen now, I had resigned myself to the fact that she was long past the age for me to read to her, an act which has brought me great pleasure with both my children. But ever since last spring, when we discovered that your books were too funny to read quietly to ourselves and were best devoured aloud, I have realized that, since you promise us four more books, I might not have seen the last of our reading-together days just yet.

You have given me hope on a broader level, too. Here we are, at the close of a millennium, and everywhere I go, people are talking about a bookand a children's book, at that! Weren't those things with pages predicted to barely survive this century? With your tightly plotted, beautifully written stories, you have reminded us that books occupy a cranny in our hearts that cannot be filled by a computer screen. It gives me hope for the future of the newspaper, too.

I heard people talking about Harry Potter. I bought one of the books. It was suspenseful and funny. Now I know why people like Harry Potter so much.

I find the Harry Potter series interesting because of their intriguing suspense, amazing adventures and mysterious mysteries.

The main characters, Ron, Harry, and Hermione, all have their own unique characteristics and type of thinking. I like Neville because he always makes minor mistakes that turn out major.

Everything in the Harry Potter book mixes so well together it's hard to believe that J. K. Rowling isn't a wizard! I recommend this book to anyone who likes a mix of adventure and mystery. I can't wait to read the next six books Rowling is going to write.

I LOVE Harry Potter!

Every once in a great while a writer creates a world so complete, so detailed, so compelling that I feel abandoned when I fall off the line of words on the last page. When I finish such a book, I go back to the first page and start again, just so I don't have to leave the magic hidden between the covers. Harry Potter is one of the best such worlds I have visited in many years.

The world of Wizards and Muggles, of Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, of owls and the Whomping Willow, of Quidditch matches and the car that runs away to live wild in the woodsit's as real as Carlisle and the people and places I see every day. Or perhaps more so, while I'm under the spell of Rowling's masterful words.

I grew up with Alice in Wonderland, read over and over. As an adult, I discovered Lewis' Narnia and Out of the Silent Planet. I proudly share the birthday of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. Those works all create worlds that carve out a permanent place in the imagination. Harry is right up there with Alice and Frodo.

In my point of view, the Harry Potter series are really exciting.

Why? Well, first of all, the plot of the book is actually interesting! I mean, it's not every day you hear of Lord Voldemort, Quidditch or Hogwarts. I think that J. K. Rowling makes books more intense. There're sections that are frightening, and some parts where there's only one way to go. The books of Harry Potter are addictive and extremely hard to put down! (Luckily it's not a bad thing to tell your friends, "I'm addicted to reading!") Rowling makes books seem more like something important, not just ink, paper, and glue. I enjoy reading the marvelous Harry Potter books and hope that J. K. Rowling will write a different story that will be just as appealing.

"It was quite easy, really..." So begins my favorite part of a great series of books. Harry Potter and his wizard friends are incredibly amazing and at the same time believably real. I think this makes the books great. My favorite parts are when the bad guys have Harry in their clutches and reveal everything about the plot to him. I always think it is very clever how J.K.Rowling thought up these plots for the villains to carry out. Professor Snape is usually close behind, saying something like, "Very suspicious, Potter, I'll have to confiscate that, you know," and "Potter? What are you doing here? Five points from Gryffindor and get back to your tower now!" I can't wait for books 4, 5, 6 and 7. I just know they're going to be great!

'When in doubt, go to the library.'

I like the Harry Potter books because they are getting kids to read and to be excited about reading. I work in Carlisle's school library, and I am thrilled to tell how we were besieged in September by students in grades 2 through 7. Before the library even opened for book borrowing, students were sneaking in to find out if we had any of the books. Luckily Sandy Kelly, the new librarian, had anticipated the demand and had ordered several copies of each book. It would be a gross understatement to say that the books aren't gathering dust: they never even make it back onto the shelves. While we check the books in and out, there's a moment to chat with the kids about their favorite characters and twists in the plot. (The students seem to get a kick out of adults reading books written for kids.) When we're out of stock, we recommend other classics such as the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, Tolkien's Hobbit and the Ring trilogy, and anything by Roald Dahl. Sometimes the kids actually dive in and discover other fantastic worlds.

Personally, I like the part where Harry Potter and his friends go to their school library and unabashedly pore over books searching for answers. It's fantastic! Thank you, Harry!

Harry Potter books are one of those books that you can't put down. I have read all three books and I am rereading them now. Sometimes I have to force myself to stop reading because I have to go to bed but they are too exciting and suspenseful to stop.

I think J.K. Rowling is an excellent author. She is very creative and has a very large imagination. I don't know how she could have thought up Quidditch. I only wish there was such a game. I also like the characters including, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and of course Harry. I also like Bernie's Every Flavor Beans. The flavors include bugger, spinach, lima bean and lots more. Another reason I like Harry Potter books is that they are very descriptive. I have a total picture in my mind of what is going on. I sometimes feel like I am right there at Hogwarts.

Harry Potter books are my favorite books. I am very anxious for the fourth book to come out because J.K. Rowling always leaves you wondering and wanting to know more.

Harry Potter is special to me because it has magic in it. I especially liked Hagrid because he's funny.

My mom thinks she is a witch! Don't tell anyone!!!!!!!!!!

Harry Potter is comfort reading: the characters are like family, the plots a bit formulaic, but who cares? It is one of those books, like The Hobbit, that I refuse to see as a movie because the screen version could never match what I have in my mind's eye. It's a book that I can read aloud to all of my children (11, 8 and 6) at the same time, but we all end up on different pages because everybody is reading ahead. My favorite parts juxtapose common events like a playground brawl with weird but appropriate consequences like ending up in the hospital wing with leeks sprouting out of your ears. What I could have done with a magic wand in middle school! (Actually, forget middle school; I could use one now.) I've even predicted what will happen to Harry when he graduates from Hogwarts. Does anyone else think he'd make a great Defense Against the Dark Arts professor?

Harry Potter are my favorite books because they really make me feel like I am there when they tell the story. For example, when Harry, Ron and Hermione were on the train going to Hogwarts, I felt like I was there eating candy and talking with them. When Harry got a Firebolt broomstick, I was excited (so was he), and then disappointed when he got it taken away.

I also like the Harry Potter books because they were fascinating adventures. For instance, at the Quidditch matches, right before Harry was going to catch the golden

snitch, I felt excited. When Harry was sneaking out of bed in the middle of the night I wondered what was going to happen. When Harry was rescuing Sirius Black, I was both excited and scared! The time when Harry Potter was sneaking through the secret passage way to get to Hoggsmead, and surprising Ron and Hermione made me laugh out loud! I also was fascinated when Harry, Ron, and Hermione were fighting against Black (an enemy) and found out the most amazing secret!

I was so absorbed in the first and second books, that by the time I got to the third book I was only stopping to eat. I read the third book in two and a half days! As you might be able to tell I like Harry Potter books a lot! I can't wait for them to make a movie of it!

20 Reasons For Why I Love Harry Potter Books

1. You can never tell what's going to happen.

2. They are very creative.

3. They are exciting.

4. They are funny.

5. They are written by the best author (J. K. Rowling)

6. They are just good books.

7. There are so many.

8. They have magic in them.

9. They have cool characters.

10. They have a lot of imagination in them.

11. They are long.

12. They are different from other books.

13. They take place in cool places.

14. Everyone likes them.

15. They are the kind of books you can read over and over.

16. They are very well told.

17. They are interesting.

18. You can't stop reading them.

19. They have happy parts, funny parts, sad parts and exciting parts in them.

20. The characters take a lot of chances. (They are very daring.)

I like Harry Potter because it is very exciting and it is very funny. I thought the part when he could not get through the border of 9 and 3 quarters in the second book was exciting. You can never tell what will happen. I wonder when the fourth Harry Potter book will come out.

Before J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, I didn't have a favorite book, but now my favorite book might just be Harry Potter. One of the reasons people like it so much is because it has a little of everything in it. It's humorous, some parts are sad, exciting, suspenseful and the story turns out to be a mystery. One of the reasons it's suspenseful is because J. K. Rowling leaves clues throughout the book which help to solve the mystery at the end. I have read all three books and I can recommend all of them to anyone. As soon as the fourth book comes out, I'll be at the bookstore ready to buy it.

I like Harry Potter because of the way J.K. Rowling sorts the books out. It takes a very good writer to write something and talk about that later in the book or in another book in the series. When I read her books, I feel like I am in her books. I like how she explains her characters so that I can imagine them clearly in my mind. I wonder how we could even think about going through a barrier and getting to a train station platform. I now have a feeling in school that we are going to have Quidditch practice after lunch, and that I should have met Harry, Hermione and Ron at the beginning of school this year. I got the idea of reading Harry Potter from my friend. I now know it is very popular, and I think because of the magic J.K. Rowling put into the book. The thing I like most about Harry Potter is the way he gets into trouble and then gets himself out of trouble.

What Does Harry Potter Mean to Me?

I look at my counter, and what do I see?

Reading for my children, papers and bills for me.

There among newspapers, a Space Book, a Horse Magazine,

There in the mess, a Potter book can be seen.

And what do I reach for? Not the papers or bills,

But the pages of Potter for the next mishap and thrills.

I want to be with him, through his highs and his lows,

He's a soft spoken wizard kid with some awesome foes.

I feel his worries, I feel his distress.

For I too would hate to be in his mess.

He gets into dilemmas through no fault of his own.

Yet escapes with his friends and some magic known.

Harry takes us to a world more exciting

Our childhood fears alive and sometimes inviting.

Witches, spells, cauldrons and brew,

Football on broomsticks, could it be true?

Didn't all of us in our childhood years,

Have some envy of witches and maybe some fears?

Didn't we all want to fly off on a broomstick or two,

And make the bad kid next door into a toothpick and chew?

And here's Harry, living the life

Of our childhood dreams and to our delight

His misfortunes are turned into heroics and fame

And just maybe we feel a bit of the same.

So, Rowling, keep writing, I'll keep buying your books,

For I want to follow Harry through crannies and nooks.

I want to keep feeling the thrills and the chills

Of Harry's big moments on Hogwarts' hills.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito