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Harry Potter concerns

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I'll start this off by admitting that this is silly, in some ways.  I know that people let their kids watch and read wildly inappropriate things, and in the grand scheme of things, this isn't so bad.


But I'm going to ask about it anyway.  smile.gif


DD just turned 6.  We have read the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd HP books with her.  She is DEFINITELY not ready to see any of the movies.  (We have not even gotten through Toy Story yet--she can't deal with the torture of the toys scene.)  


I just discovered that she has been reading the 4th book.  I hadn't hidden it or anything, but I was not planning on reading it with her--I was just going to steer her towards another series.


Commonsensemedia.org, which I usually trust, says age 10 for this book.  I know that often kids will just filter out what they don't understand, and I hope that's what's happening.  DD will not talk about things that upset her, although we work hard to encourage her to do so.


What do you all think?  Leave her alone and let her read?  Or make the book disappear?  I know I read some really inappropriate things as a kid.  Some of them weren't a problem, but some of them disturbed me quite a bit.  Is there any predictor of how this will be for DD?

post #2 of 38

I can only share how my kids handled Harry Potter. My eldest read the first two books at 5. She started the 3rd and put it down because it was "too full of despair." She didn't return to the series until 4th grade (which was 8-years-old for her.) At that point, she read all that were published and continued to read the rest as they came out.  My youngest read the first 2 with daddy at like 6 or 7. He watched all the movies as they came out. He has always handled fantasy stuff well. He's my kid that would freak out over the news instead of fiction. At 12, he JUST picked up the books again and is halfway through 5.... quite delighting in all the "extras" that weren't included in the movies. 


If your DD picked up the book on her own and is reading... I'd trust that she'll put it down if it gets too much. Remember that even kids with high comprehension are limited by their own lack of experiences. They are going to understand whats going on at the level they can understand it. I remember freaking out when my 8-year-old picked up "To Kill a Mockingbird" but it wasn't until she re-read the book many years later that she understood what the accusation actually was. 

post #3 of 38

I would let her read the books and discuss with her as needed (if she needs to talk to you about it or there's something from one of the books you want to discuss with her). My now-12 year old read the series when he was seven and handled it well.


With the fourth book, you may want to "spoil" the part at the end where Cedric dies by warning her that someone is killed in the book and that it's a sad part. 

post #4 of 38
Thread Starter 



whatsnextmom, I remember reading a few books wayyyy too young, and doing that same thing--getting through the whole thing without really understanding everything.  You're right that DD will probably do the same.  I think she will enjoy going back to them one day, and actually "getting" it.


phathui5, that's a great idea.  I will definitely tell her about Cedric.  She is sensitive to death in books; she cried for a long time when the dog died in the Little House series.  I'll make sure she knows what's coming.


I removed books 5 and up from the house.  If they are here, she will find them and read them.  I think it's best that they are not available to her yet.  I suppose I'm letting her read 4 (she read quite a bit of it this afternoon), but I'm drawing the line there--she will have to read the rest when she's older.  


Any idea about what to tempt her with when she finishes this one?  What is there after HP??  :)

post #5 of 38
A Wizard at Work

She's too young for So You Want to be a Wizard series, if I recall correctly. There's death, etc in those books. Ditto Deltora Quest. I'll talk to my son and get back to you.
post #6 of 38

DD self regulates very well, and at times, is a little too over protective of her psyche.  DS isn't quite so cautious, and he's prone to nightmares from images he sees.  We also spoiled the ending of #4, and drew the line there.  We did not make the book disappear, but instead we spoke to him directly about how things develop in #5 and why we felt it was inappropriate for his to read it, and that we'd revisit it in a year. 


Some books read since:

Mrs Frisby


Peter and the Starcatchers

post #7 of 38
Content age level -- Secrets of Droon (early ones); Jigsaw Jones (detective) ; Cam Jansen (detective); Blast to the Past (time travel adventures); Babysitters Club series; Encyclopedia Brown books; High Rise Private Eyes

Detective series with a boy and girl, boy Hawkeye, who was a sketch artist

Little House, except for first, aren't bad, and other authors have written about ancestors

When older -- later Secrets of Droon; Bionicles (C.A. Hopka first; and Farshety's early ones, then quality goes down); A to Z Mysteries ; Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew; Crime Through Time ; Deltora Quest; Bailey School Kids

Even older -- So You Want to be a Wizard books

Check other reading list threads, too!
post #8 of 38

My daughter read the whole series the summer after she turned 7. She started at the end of first grade and fell in love. I was a bit concerned about her ability to handle them because she's got a lively imagination and is prone to nightmares as well. I was surprised by her ability to handle them. No, she didn't get everything, but she got a lot of it. She's re-read them at least once since then.


Overall, I've been impressed by her ability to handle tough content. She's read books that I would consider difficult (Becoming Naomi Leon) and really gotten a lot of out of them. If your daughter is sneaking it, she might be ready.


We didn't do the movies at all until she turned 8. Even then, it was touch and go. The Dementors really freaked her out. My kids are much more able to handle books than movies.

post #9 of 38
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Little House, except for first, aren't bad, and other authors have written about ancestors



Haha, my eldest started the 1st when she was 5 and my little vegetarian was SO distraught by the description of hog boiling that she would never pick up another Little House book after... and she's 16 now!

post #10 of 38

My DD loved the Molly Moon series. Very "Potter-ish" but with a heroin who discovers an amazing ability to hypnotize. 

post #11 of 38
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Haha, my eldest started the 1st when she was 5 and my little vegetarian was SO distraught by the description of hog boiling that she would never pick up another Little House book after... and she's 16 now!

I'm sorry that happened. I think she toned down that sort of thing in the later books. There was also a reference to two deer which had been killed, but I think that was also in the first one.

In the ones by other authors, about the ancestors, one of the Caroline years books references a deer which was killed, and another talks about shooting pigeons. I think that was it as far as the hunting. The Scottish series, the Martha years?, didn't have anything like that that I recall.

Hopefully this info can help other parents decide if these books are going to upset their children.
post #12 of 38
I want to throw in my experience. I am not gifted but I was an early advanced reader. My parents never regulated what I read and I think they should have. I read mature themes far too early and they negatively impacted me. For example, I read lots f micheal Crichton and Stven King books in elementary school. They are filled with death, grotesque imagery (horror), tense situations, and even some sex, I was not ready for that at all but they stories were interesting so I kept reading them.
post #13 of 38

I think that's the basic point many of us have been making:  Some kids can self-monitor, and so you can largely leave them be, expecting them to drop a book that they find is beyond what they can handle.  Others cannot, and it doesn't become evident until later that a book carried too weighty a theme for that child. 


The key is to know your child, and decide whether or not they are ready to fully judge for themselves what's appropriate and what's not.  For those not yet ready, then guide and discuss as necessary.


I have one of each type of kid.  We've taken vary different approaches with each as a result.

post #14 of 38

I may not articulate this well, but I am less worried about innocence/upsetting content then them simply not getting from a book what they could.


My kids didn't have the emotional maturity & life experience to get the most out of Harry Potter books until about the ages they were written for, which is to say age 10+.  That's apart from their intellectual level.


The first HP book is okay for most ages, it's charming & not too complicated.  My 8yo has read it.  But he wouldn't follow the plotlines in later books at all, for another 3-5 yrs.


I read The Painted Bird when I was 7.  Bestiality, incest, genocide.  It didn't upset me but I would have actually gotten a huge more out of it if I had waited until age 12+.  I would have understood the context so much better about racism, how the horrors of war & ignorance drive even good people to do bad things, etc.

post #15 of 38
Originally Posted by Cavy View Post

It didn't upset me but I would have actually gotten a huge more out of it if I had waited until age 12+.  I would have understood the context so much better about racism, how the horrors of war & ignorance drive even good people to do bad things, etc.


But do you never re-read books? My kids (and I) re-read books all the time. My eldest dd read the Harry Potter books as they were released, starting with the first three at age 5, and has re-read them every 2-5 years ever since. Same deal with Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" books (though she was 11 or so when she first encountered those) and the Narnia books. I've read my way through Narnia at least once every decade of my life. A lot of really great literature works on multiple levels, meaning you can get different but equally valuable things out of it at different levels of maturity and understanding. 



post #16 of 38

Add my family to a list rereaders.


Great example:  DD read the Sister's Grimm series when she was 6.  It was great.  We were looking for something fairy, something series, and something a bit more than the Rainbow Fairy Crack Cocaine she'd been reading.


IT was so evident that she identified with the younger sister, and yet it was obvious to me that the reader was supposed to identify with the older sister.  She was closer in age to the younger sister, and she just made more sense. 


DD got something completely different out of the books than what was intended as a result.


She recently reread them and made a comment about the older sister.  Now, 4 years later, her perspective has changed to the point where it was a different series of books to her this time around.

post #17 of 38

We started the Harry Potter series with DS when he was 6. We got him the first book & movie for his birthday, and he loooooved them. I had heard from friends that they get darker as time goes on, so we started a tradition where we give him the next HP book/movie every year on his birthday. So when he turned 8 last year, he got the 3rd book/movie. It's a really fun tradition -- he knows it's coming, so in the weeks leading up to his birthday he always rereads the previous book so he'll be up to speed on everything once we start the next one. 


Now, at the rate we're going, he'd be 12 by the time he finally got to read/watch the final HP, so we'll obviously let him advance a little faster at some point, but for now this one-per-year thing is working really well for us. DD (who just turned 5) is already talking about how next year she gets to read/watch the first Harry Potter. It's funny, because we've never really mentioned our tradition to her, so DS must have told her about it, which I think is sweet. love.gif


Other series he has really loved are Peter and the Starcatchers, Little House, and the first few books of The Chronicles of Narnia. 

post #18 of 38
The Borrowers

Bedknobs and Broomsticks. (The movie with Angela Lanburys is good, too!)

Maybe Boxcar Children

Different types of books appeal to different kids. My son didn't like Boxcar Children or Borrowers.

He just recommended Gordon Korman books. He wrote the Abracadabra, I think, for young reader's. On The Run series and Everest series would be better when she's older.

Mad Science series was also good.

Neither my son nor I cared for the last Harry Potter, and weren't all that crazy about the sixth, either. Did you all like them all equally?
post #19 of 38

My daughter read the series at age 7-8 (second grade), but it was interesting...as the content got heavier, she asked us to read more and more of the books with her (although she was able to read them, she wanted us to do it). We also did a lot of spoilers, which she requested. That said, she loved the series. I'm sure she'll revisit them in the future.


Sisters Grimm is great (although the last two books are very dark), our daughter is now 9 and is loving the Percy Jackson series too. We also enjoyed the Molly Moon books - we read them to her when she was 5 or 6. She also just finished the Pseudomyous (sp?) Bosch books, which are wacky and weird and a little bit scary. 

post #20 of 38

I needed to limit when DD read HP book 5 and beyond.  She did well up through 4 (in 2nd grade), but once she started reading #5, she started having nightmares, so I told her she need to take a break from reading HP (and I think we waited about a year for her to resume the series).


DD is a big time reader, and a big time re-reader!  She had loved/ renewed her love for the Warrior Series by Erin Hunter, and just re-read a few (they were AR books!, and she wanted to just get her required points done, and so did I - I intensely DISLIKE the whole AR concept/school requirement for those who love to read and read/comprehend well), and discovered there were a few new ones she hadn't read. 

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