Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Harry Potter Spins the Creativity Wheel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Harry Potter Spins the Creativity Wheel

Article excerpt

When I first read "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" to my seven-year-old son, Noah, last fall, he fell head over heels into book love.

Reading the first, then second and third Harry Potter books immediately became the highlight of our days. Neither of us could wait for that peaceful time before bed reserved for reading, and neither of us had an easy time putting the book down when it was time for Noah to go to sleep.

"One more page, pleeeeze" often led to one more chapter, and on weekend mornings, we would start reading as soon as he woke up. This reading frenzy went on until we reached the last half of the third book.

This was when Noah began doling out a few pages a night in order to make the book last longer. To this day, we have not read the last five pages of the third book in the series. We can't, Noah says, until the fourth book (due out this summer) is in his hands.

Harry Potter became the main subject of Noah's conversation and imagination. After the revelation in the first book that the character who appears bad isn't necessarily the culprit, Noah was on the lookout for plot twists and turns, propelling himself into critical thinking. We re-read earlier sections of the book in order to search for missed details and clues.

When Noah wasn't gabbing about Harry Potter, he was using the books as a basis for creative playtime.

He drew the characters on cardboard and cut them out. He and his friends built their own stories around his new playthings. Harry, Hagrid, and Dumbledore did many a turn around the dining-room table.

One day, Noah announced that it was time for "someone" to make a movie out of the book. "May I use the video camera?" he asked. Then, he continued, would it be possible to sell his film to theaters so that he could make money to buy more toys?

When I told him that Time Warner had bought the film rights to the book (an interesting concept to explain to a child), he said "Well, I'll write a play." Eventually, he and his friend Rebecca settled on a Harry Potter puppet show. They created incredible drawings of the entire cast of characters on cardboard. …

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