When my daughter was young, she was a ball of energy. Always wanted to be playing outside, running around with her friends, getting in the kind of trouble that only a 12-year-old girl can.
That all changed when a boy came into her life. My daughter isn’t the first to be distracted by boys, but this was not just any boy. He was brave. He was adventurous. He wasn’t afraid to stand up for his friends. He was willing to get into a little trouble himself. And he knew magic. Of course, I’m talking about Harry Potter.
My youngest started reading Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone during the summer before she turned 12 years old. By that point, the books had already been out for quite some time, but she never showed any interest in reading them. You know, too busy playing. But once she picked them up, like millions and millions of other kids and adults, she couldn’t put them down.
She would describe in great detail all of the adventures that Harry, Ron, and Hermione would go on. She would talk about what a slime ball Severus Snape was. And she would talk about all the chaos that Fred and George Weasley, her two favorite characters, would cause. My wife and I would listen to her go on and on and on for what seemed like hours. Like so many other parents, we were just happy that Harry Potter made our precocious daughter, who couldn’t sit still, want to read.
So today, on International Harry Potter Day, on behalf of the other parents out there, I was to say thank you to Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Dumbledore, Snape, and even Voldemort. Most importantly, I want to say thank you to J.K. Rowling. Politics aside, she created a world that my daughter never wanted to leave.
Even now, I’ll catch her re-reading the books from cover to cover or at least re-reading some of her favorite passages. I don’t think an author has created a universe so immersive since Tolkien imagined Frodo leaving the Shire for Mount Doom. Sorry, George R.R. Martin, but your world just doesn’t compare quite yet. So raise up your wands on International Harry Potter and pay homage to the characters who inspired our kids to read. That really is magic.
Dan Romito is the Assistant News Director for KOLR10 and Ozarks Fox. Dan has worked in TV news for more than 20 years. He is married with two daughters and two dogs.