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Topic: how old were you kids when they start reading Harry Potter?

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Subject: how old were you kids when they start reading Harry Potter?
Date Posted: 9/4/2008 10:33 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 90
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My daughter read her first Harry Potter this summer and she is 8.   She loves the book, but I was told that she is too young to read Harry Potter because the series has too much killing in later books.  I would like to know what everyone think of this?  Should I just let her read the first three for now?

Date Posted: 9/5/2008 2:56 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 295
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My youngest sister started reading them at 9 and has faithfully read them ever since.  As far as if your daughter is too young, no one knows her and what she can handle as well as you do.  I have never stopped my sisters from reading anything they want to (but I know that if a book is too intense for them that they will simply stop reading it and find something else to read).  When the later Harry Potter books came out I made sure to read them first so that we could talk about anything in the books that bothered the girls, but the only time they had a problem was when Dobby dies in the final book (but sadly enough, I think I was more upset by it than they were).  The final book is really intense, but I think the series prepares children for the level of choas which comes to pass (remember, Harry Potter, although wonderful, is still a traditional Cinderelly story).  As long as you are communicating about the books with your daughter, you will know if and when you might need to pull some other book out to change her literary focus and put the Harry Potter on the backburner.

Now that I'm rereading this, I'm afraid I haven't been of much help.  I suppose the best advice I can give is simply to follow your instincts and perhaps to have another good fantasy on hand just in case (I kept The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander on hand during from books 5 on just to be safe, and now they have finished that series as well).  I hope I managed to help instead of making your decision more difficult.

Date Posted: 9/5/2008 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
Posts: 90
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Thank you for your respond.  I like to hear other people's thinking.

I am pretty close to what you feel, just when different advice comes up, it makes me think more.

English is not my first language, so helping my daughter to find right books to read is a little bit hard for me. (I have to say I am getting a lot of help here.)  Right now she is reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden since she felt  although Harry Potter is fun, the storys are pretty long.  I guess, as you say, they will know when they are ready.

Date Posted: 9/7/2008 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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I wouldn't let my daughter read the series until probably around 12.  Eight is very young for the subject matter.  You could try checking out the books on cd from the library and listen to them to decide for yourself. But I would choose something else for an eight year old.  She may like "The Indian in the Cupboard" Series by Lynn Reid Banks.  Lots of adventure but not scary.

In answer to your question my kids were teenagers when they showed interest in reading Harry Potter.

Last Edited on: 9/8/08 11:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/9/2008 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2007
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My son (now 11) listened to the 1st Harry Potter on tape the summer between kindergarten and 1st  grade.  He LOVED it so much that I then got the book and started reading to him. By the end of 1st grade he was reading them on his own.

Now, of course, you have to know your own child.  My son was never afraid of scary movies, always had a good sense of real vs. made up.  Chronologically, your daughter is not too young.  It has more to do with if she'll be scared or upset.

The HP books are terrific.  My son and I have both read them all and listened to them all on cd.  The cd's are fantastic, and maybe you want to try listening together, then your daughter could read the book afterward.


Date Posted: 9/15/2008 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 4/22/2007
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I wouldn't reccomend letting her read the last four until she's older, they do get pretty intense.  I'm in charge of my little sisters' reading, and I let them read them as the year of the book (11-book 1, 12-book 2, etc.), and I didn't start to read them until I was 16.   

I guess my best advice would be for you to read them first, then decide if they're ok for her.  Especially book 4.  That's the real turning point, where it goes from 'fun' to 'intense'. ;-)


Date Posted: 9/18/2008 2:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2008
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What I wish I had done was to follow Harry's age as to when to let them read the books.  Book1 (Sorcerer's Stone) starts when he turns 11 years old. 

Child #1 is an avid reader.  She read Book 1 and 2 when she was 10 (and did it over the course of 2 days).  She would have kept reading the series if I hadn't stopped her.   I agree with the previous posts about the dark qualities of the last 4 books and wanted to keep her from those elements.  And now we have instituted a policy of one book per year.  She thinks it's the best birthday present ever.   She's off track with the 1 Book/1 HP Year.  Darn.

Child #2 is not an avid reader.  I want her to read Harry Potter NOW with the hope that she will WANT to read more -- however, at 9yo she refuses to have anything to do with HP. 

Date Posted: 9/18/2008 9:37 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
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I read the first one to my son when he was 8.  He read it to himself after that and then continued on.  He is now 9 (he will be 10 on Sunday) and has read them all twice!!   I read them in front of him and we discussed together what was happening. 

Last Edited on: 9/18/08 9:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/19/2008 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Well, I started reading the series at 12 but it was also brand new back then. :)  My sister started at 9 and finished the series at 17.

The books do get darker as they progress.  I think a 12-13 year old could handle all the books with no problem, but it might be tougher on younger children, especially as there is a lot of loss.  I wouldn't rule it out for an 8-year-old, but I would probably want to be aware of the subject matter so we could talk about it.

Date Posted: 9/20/2008 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2008
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Thank you everyone.   I have read all the Harry Potter books and been talking about the story with my daughter.  It seems that she is not scare of the story.  She pretty much know what is real what is not real.   Right now she is reading other books, but she did request the whole set of HP and we have bought them for her.  I thik when she is ready, she will keep reading them. 

Date Posted: 10/3/2008 12:59 AM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 681
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I would use your own judgement on this, if you think that your child is old enough and you approve of what they are reading then I would let them explore that avenue of reading.  My oldest never did get into Harry Potter books or movies. 

My best friend is 30 and LOVES them, started reading them a few months ago to her 5 yr old (wish I would have known that before I off'd my whole mint condition box set since my son refused to read them ! I could have made her day!  )

So I guess as being the parent it would be whatever age you think is okay.

Subject: growing up with harry, ron and hermione
Date Posted: 10/21/2008 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2008
Posts: 1
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I started reading them when I was in Middle School when they first came out. I am now in my 20's and feel like I've really grown with the series. It does get heavier as you go along. They deal with death and some serious and confusing issues. The fact that the books were released every year or so gave most of it's readers the chance to mature with the characters. If you have a mature kid, they will be able to handle the 'big, scary issues' and gain so much from this series. I hope that helps!

Date Posted: 10/21/2008 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
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Date Posted: 10/29/2008 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2006
Posts: 39
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My daughter started reading them in 2nd grade.  She was a super reader.  My son is in 2nd grade and I don't think he could handle that much BUT I have read them to him.  We are on the 3rd one and we started reading them when he was 6.  He has already seen all the movies so I have to remind him NOT to tell me what will happen next. 

Date Posted: 10/31/2008 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 316
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I do think it really depends on the child.  My son read the whole seriestwice when he was 8 and just started it again (he's now 9).  When he first read it there were parts of the book that were sad to him (when Cedric died) and he cried and we talked about it.  He did not have nightmares and wanted to keep reading, so we let him keep reading.  We discussed it with him occasionally. 


We do not let him watch very violent movies and we don't even suscribe to cable since we simply do not watch much TV and don't like much of what is on cable (once there is cable where one can select the channels one wants we'll possibly consider it for a few channels).  We take him to G and PG movies.  I say this because it seems he was able to handle it and I don't think he is de-sensitized.