As we get ready to celebrate 25 years of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Bloomsbury Publishing wants to hear YOUR memories of your first reading experiences of Harry Potter. On 26th June 2022 (the anniversary itself) Bloomsbury will release a video of fans’ first memories of reading Harry Potter.
Get your entries to Bloomsbury for a chance to be featured in the video AND for a chance to win a signed copy by J.K. Rowling of the anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (publishing 9th June).
It seems hardly any time at all since I reflected on 20 years of HP and yet, here we are, at the start of a huge year of silver anniversary celebrations for what is, to my mind at least, the most successful fiction series of all time. Many of you will have already got the heads up about the many events planned but if not, do make sure you check them out and sign up for newsletters and activity packs. I am hugely excited for the upcoming release of the illustrated Tales of Beedle the Bard and, in my new library, starting up yet another PotterHeads group as well as beginning plans for a Harry Potter Night event later in the year.
There is also a great Miles of Magic competition which might excite your kiddos – I’ve been sharing it with mine, as well as my staff and library groups.
In the meantime, given it is the anniversary and, no doubt, as I have done you have a regular re-purchase of titles as they get shabby and worn out (how many others can you say that about!?), you might like to consider buying the anniversary edition, either paperback or hardback as a special – or even to offer up as the ultimate desirable prize for a celebratory competition of your own.
My own HP collection continues to expand. Besides jewelry, clothing, accessories, and the pieces I have at school in my library, I’ve just re-organised my ‘home’ collection as it had outgrown its space on the regular bookshelf. My latest acquisition is the adorable handmade mandrake ‘Cadfael’ – he’s just so cute! But also quite new from Xmas: the Sorting Hat, the Pensieve kit and the Hufflepuff wax seal set – from my equally HP crazed middle daughter – thanks Kimmy, fellow Hufflepuff! 🙂
The Kid just shakes her head each time something new in the HP line comes into the house (where did I go wrong? WHY is she so resistant to the charms of HP et al?) but that’s unlikely to stop the flow any time soon.
Happy Silver Anniversary Harry and congratulations to J. K., Bloomsbury and the artists and creators who have added so much to the original stories – and special thanks to the lovely Sonia at Bloomsbury Australia, who understands my obsession very well. Some of us will never be too old for Harry!
Fifty young wizards and witches from Year 4 to Year 8 had plenty of magical fun at our big HP Night event yesterday afternoon. On arrival the kids all got a sealed envelope containing their Hogwarts letter, a laminated house themed bookmark (which neatly gave me the groups for the activity rotations) and a temporary tattoo of a lightning bolt.
Making butterbeer and decorating HP-themed biscuits
Wand making/decorating and also completing wand permits
Potions brewing (colour changing tea plus mini-potion bottles)
Papercrafts such as Cubees (Harry Potter & Voldemort), I Spy, Harry Potter ABC, House colour bows and rosettes,
Mini-Quidditch game and chocolate leapfrog game
Trivia and photo ops
Lucky door prizes – every student got a prize, from pencils to figurines, lanyards to badges, loads of bits and pieces I had accumulated during the year from various sources, and then one final draw for a copy of HP and the Half-Blood Prince which I had spare.
We had 3 tables of collectibles most of which belonged to myself, my junior school t-l and my library tech but one of our IT staff also lent us his Lego Diagon Alley for display. My own Lego group had already built the Great Hall during the term to form part of our display – we had some of our new HP books for perusal and a couple of static displays – Flourish & Blotts – with an amazing moving wizard photo of Gilderoy Lockhart (created by my library tech) as well as a Gringotts table.
It was exhausting, noisy, chaotic but hugely fun and exciting for all the kiddos.
Omg, I can’t tell you how much I loved this read during the week!! It completely reminds me of two much-loved favourites, Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (both of which I own and have re-read many times), but with its whole new take on the situation of evacuee children in WWII.
Jimmy and his little brother have been evacuated from London to a Welsh valley – traditional, coal-mining families and either open welcomes or suspicion of ‘foreigners’. Mr and Mrs Thomas are warm and caring, and little Ronnie is quickly comfortable with both, but Jimmy is both distrustful and resentful. He’s already lost his mum, who took off leaving the brothers with their dad and grandmother, and he’s certainly not ready to treat this temporary stay as ‘home’. The entire London contingent seem different here. Jimmy’s best friend, now lodged with the local minister’s family, has turned into a nasty bully like the Reverend’s son and Florence, uncared for and abused at home, blossoms into a true friend.
Jimmy is to realise that even a temporary family can be a solace but first there are difficulties to overcome and these are complicated when the boy discovers a human skull hidden in the hollow of an old tree. Enough to scare even an adult, this find has Jimmy scrambling for someone to trust and sometimes an ally can be found in the most unlikely quarter. The secrets of the valley are gradually revealed as Jimmy and his little tribe work together to solve a decades old mystery, and bring much needed comfort to a long-held grief.
We do know, of course, that not all the evacuated children had happy experiences and we cannot begin to comprehend how overwhelming or unnerving the whole exercise would have been even for those who did. In those times, many city children had never had any experience of wide open spaces, nature and the reality of rural living – some didn’t even know that milk came from cows!
Young readers, particularly those who are fond of such stories set in wartime, will find much to love about this narrative. The strong themes of family, friendship and bravery are very inspirational and will give many children finding our current circumstances difficult some insight in dealing with similar events.
Highly recommended for your readers from around ten years upwards.