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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Reflections on Rowling

Life lessons from children's books

A few years ago my granddaughters, Katherine and Anne (then 10 and 12), announced that I simply must read their latest children’s book. “You’ll like this one, Grandpa,” they insisted.

Now they’ve read seven books by the same writer. So has the rest of the world—and so have I. Why? What makes these stories so captivating? What has kept us, young and old, wading through 4,224 pages of children’s fantasy fiction?

The appeal of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series lies not only in the adventure, wizardry, humor and interaction of characters. Rowling, at heart, is a teacher. In these stories young people (and old) are learning—or being reminded of—a certain way of thinking about the world, life, ourselves. Amid the action we hear things Rowling—whose Christian training and sympathies become more apparent with each book—believes we need to hear:

• As we grow we make good and bad choices. We learn equally from both.


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