It’s difficult to believe that twenty years ago today, a small boy crept into the hearts of millions of children (and adults) all over the world. Even if you’ve never understood the Harry Potter craze, there is no denying that he and his creator, J.K. Rowling changed how many view children’s literature, and even more importantly how it engaged young readers, even reluctant ones. While it wasn’t released here in America until September 1st, 1998, once it made it’s debut, it was an instant hit. I was still working as a children’s librarian at the time and hadn’t heard of of the book until kids started coming in to the library imploring me to read it. From the very first chapter I was instantly captivated, as well as convinced that this book would become a classic. So thank you J.K. Rowling for creating such a richly drawn, magical world with characters that children and adults can relate to!
…A breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Privet Drive, which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky, the very last place you would expect astonishing things to happen. Harry Potter rolled over inside his blankets without waking up. One small hand closed on the letter beside him and he slept on, not knowing he was special, not knowing he was famous, not knowing he would be woken in a few hours’ time by Mrs. Dursley’s scream as she opened the front door to put out the milk bottles, nor that he would spend the next few weeks being prodded and pinched by his cousin Dudley…He couldn’t know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: ‘To Harry Potter–the boy who lived!’