Some of you probably aren’t aware that thousands of good Christian homeschooling moms around the world forbade their children from reading J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books because they contain magic and wizards. I know this because I was one of the moms in that late 90s explosion of homeschooling popularity .
Now that I’m much older and wiser, ha!, I can look back on those early, experimental years and see how we made so many well-intentioned mistakes.
Thankfully my kids turned out pretty smart despite my failures, but they do have some holes in their education thanks to my personal weaknesses, namely my Adhd. But that’s another topic.
As for Harry Potter and magic, I just finished reading the book this morning. The full title is Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, published in 1997, and I thought it was very good. I understand now why it’s so popular! I feel pretty silly for never reading it before.
What’s the deal with forbidding it? In those days, and for some people even now, we believed that this book was about evil magic, witchcraft and the occult which THE BIBLE SAYS TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH.
Some of us Christian homeschool moms were trying very hard to do everything right . When “someone” decided that Harry Potter, along with Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Dungeons and Dragons and similar things, were dangerous and off limits, we believed it.
This article on Got Questions explains the dilemma well . Now that my kids are older , as in adults, I can look back and see that these stories would have been fine for them since they did have a good foundation in the Bible. They would have seen as a story, not an instructional book.
The reality is that the Harry Potter story, in the first book at least, is more about kids growing up and life and the magic that’s used is more of a practical sort than a “power” source .
The main plot is relatively simple . Harry and his friends must thwart the plans of the evil wizard Voldemort. There are other storylines such as Harry’s family difficulties, a sports theme, tests and grades, bullies, and normal kids stuff .
The Bible tells us not to consult with spirits to speak to the dead and it refers to magicians trying to figure out the future or prove their power by demonstrating signs and tricks .
The Harry Potter book is about these kids who go to a school to learn magic , potions, flying on broomsticks , etc. but they aren’t allowed to use the magic among non-wizards, who are called Muggles, and they don’t use it for evil.
In my opinion the story uses magic more as a platform for the deeper themes of friendship, doing the right thing, and growing through trials . These are good things for kids to read about. They’ll be able to relate to these characters.
I was impressed with the writing , as well. It was very engaging and interesting. I feel bad for assuming that it would not be. Read it yourself and decide.
Edit: I feel like I should clarify that none of my kids actually ever wanted to read the Harry Potter books. I didn’t mean to sound like it was a major issue in our lives. And I realized that my timing is a little off because my kids were pretty young when these books were popular and we were actually reading other books like The Boxcar Children and Animorphs among many others . But the anti-magic culture was definitely a thing that I was aware of. I agree with the comments below that most kids are perfectly fine reading most books as long as they have parental guidance and conversation about a wide range of topics , including God, good and evil, etc.