Every person who’s ever met me knows how much I like the Harry Potter series. They also know that I’ve learned to recite the seven books word by word. Yet my passion for the series goes very deep.
When I was in Fourth Grade (aged 9) I absolutely despised school, and would cry myself to sleep every night before returning. At the time there were also other issues outside of school that were giving me extreme anxiety.
Yet one day my teacher approached me and said that she’d come across a new book series, called Harry Potter. She asked me if I’d heard anything about it, and my answer was that I hadn’t. Back in the late ‘90s hardly anyone in our relatively sleepy part of the world had heard of Harry Potter. I was then encouraged to read the books. Initially I was skeptical about liking them because I never took to fiction books. My favourite kind were atlases and encyclopaedias. Yet I finally agreed to ‘read one chapter’ during a recess break. I ended up surprising myself by reading not just one chapter, but two and a half chapters. It also didn’t stop there. I continued to read and re-read all of the Harry Potter chapters for every day of my life since.
The world of Harry Potter became an enjoyable place where my imagination could escape to. I would draw pictures of all the characters in the ways in which they were described in the books, as well as all of the places and items mentioned in the series. Drawing and colouring the characters, places and items (including wands, magical broomsticks etc.) enables me to engage my imagination so intensely that I feel (emotionally) like I’ve entered the world of Harry Potter. That magical world is a great place for me to ‘escape’ to whenever life gets too stressful.
Also, while I’m reading the Harry Potter books I feel like my imagination travels into that world. This enabled me to sleep much better at night, and made it far less likely for me to go to school without any sleep. The only downside was that reading the books required me to have my eyes open. Thus I came up with the idea of learning to recite the words, so that I could ‘read’ the Harry Potter books while I was in the process of sending myself to sleep. Audiobooks were plentifully available during my school years. However merely listening to books being read doesn’t enable my mind to travel as deeply into them. It all works so much better for me when I’m actively reading out the words to myself, either from actually reading the words or reciting them.
Something very important that I learned from my introduction to the Harry Potter series is that fictional stories (involving things that we don’t see in everyday life) are extremely beneficial for our emotional well being. Whenever life gets tough or boring, it always helps to allow our imagination to take us on a little adventure to a world that’s completely unrealistic or different. In my own case I found this out through Harry Potter, and in my youngest brother’s case he found this out through Star Wars.
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