Thursday, September 27, 2012

Harry potter and the five year old fan

Anjali called me yesterday when I was rushing to a meeting.

 "Anjali, I am busy right now, can I call you back"

 "But I want to talk to you. I will not take long."

 "Ok. tell me"

 "Where did you put the Harry Potter book?"

 "Which Harry potter book?"

 "Harry potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"

"Look in the bookshelf"

 "Which bookshelf?"

 "The big one."

 "Okay bye!"

 When i returned home, I asked her why she needed the Harry potter book.She showed me this.
A detailed view of the drawing is below. It shows Harry with his bangs covering the lightning bolt scar, Ron and Hermione holding a wand.
Let me start off by saying that three months ago, when i began to read Harry potter to Anjali, it was more of an experiment. I needed something to take with me, something that was long and exciting to take my mind and her mind off things during the long hours at the hospital.

We began by reading Philosopher's stone. To my surprise, Sophia too took to the story. After the philosopher's stone, we moved on to Chamber of secrets. Husband introduced the movies to them, but they were mostly supplementary, and we always ensured that the girls read a particular part of the book first before watching the movie. That way, they would retain their appreciation for the literature and plot of the book rather than the special effects in the movie.

We recently finished Prosoner of Azkaban and have now begun Harry potter and the Goblet of fire. I hesitated a lot before beginning the goblet of fire. That book marks a change in the subject, a transition for Harry from childhood to adulthood. Yet, the transition doesnt come until the end of the story. So I decided to begin the goblet of fire.

When we began the first chapter of the goblet of fire, both girls cuddled very close to me as I read it. They were, I am sure, pretty frightened of the story. Then, when I finished, i asked them whether they wanted to continue, and the answer was an unanimous "yes!"

We are at the chapter on "Bagman and Crouch" and we have a lot of Potter related conversations, where the girls amaze and astound me with the depth of their understanding of a story with a complex plot.

Here are some interesting conversations.
We were talking one day about wands and I told Anjali that Fawkes had given the feaher of Harry and Voldemort's wand. Anjali said

"I am confused"


"Fawkes is Dumbledore's pet. So why did Dumbledore give his feather to make the wand of Tom Riddle whom he doesnt like?"

Questions like these reflect deep thinking
At the chapter on the Portkey, the Weasleys, Harry and Hermione meet Amos Diggory. I paused at this stage and asked the girls

"Do you know anyone in the story by the name of Diggory" (Remember that Cedric is a very minir character in PoA)

"No..."said Anjali and then.. "wait.. I remember the name, but I dont know who it is"

I continued to read.. and reached the part about Cedric.

"I know Cedric Diggory", saiid Sophia.

"You do?", I asked.

"Yes", said Sophia. "Hufflepuff,. HufflePuff"

"Yes", said Anjali. "He got petrified"

"Nope", I said "Justin Finch Fetchley got petrified"

"He caught the snitch once", said Sophia.

Remember that Sophia is three years old. I usually get the impression that she only pays half attention to the chapter books and that we read Prisoner of Azkaban for a period of a month and probably the scene with the quidditch match about a month ago.

We often think that children have a limited comprehension capacity and we populate their world with picture books. While there is a lot of beauty in children's picture books - considering works like fancy Nancy, Eloise, the gruffallo, Pirate Pete, the circus ship, Berenstein Bears - these are some of the books that have very much captured our imagination and many of these books have been asked by the girls time and time again - as parents who read aloud to kids, we have to realize that the reading age of chhildren is much lower than their comprehension age. Perhaps this is why Waldorf education system, and Mirambika system puts such little emphasis on reading and a lot more on story telling.

1 comment:

  1. I very much agree! I had one group of buddies that I would read books like Charlotte's Web, The Chocolate Factory and Peter Pan to. Though they were in the 3 - 5 year range, they enjoyed listening and were captivated. I'm not a great Harry Potter fan myself, but if I was, and those books were out, I might have considered them.


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