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J.K. Rowling Starts A Harry Potter Reading Club For Kids; Are We Too Old For This?

This is just like magic!

As Harry Potter fans worldwide know, today is J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday! In order to celebrate, Rowling has announced a Harry Potter Reading Club hosted by Scholastic, which will culminate in a live webcast with the author at noon on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 that will allow kids to ask her questions, the first event of its kind since 2007. So, uh, are we too old for this?

According to Scholastic, the Harry Potter Reading Club will provide educators, librarians, after school program coordinators and parents the tools they need to add a little magic to the lives of this generation of children: “The first 10,000 registrants for the Club will receive a welcome kit including bookmarks, stickers and nametags.” So, it’s all on you to buy a copy of the series (or borrow it from someone, trust me children, you know someone with all seven books) but at least they’ll give you some free goodies!

The reading club website will also feature a comprehensive discussion guide for each of the seven Harry Potter novels, which will “provide questions to help club members start an insightful conversation about the themes and events in the books and, in certain instances, how the books may relate to readers’ own lives and the world today.” Scholastic will encourage Twitter discussions by featuring a live feed at Twitter utilizing the tag #hpREADS, in addition to adding monthly events that tie in Pottermore experiences, making this probably the most high-tech children’s book club ever.

I know this sounds utterly impossible to those of us who grew up reading these books, but it looks like this is an effort on the part of Rowling and Scholastic to make Harry Potter relevant to a younger generation. I know, I, too, thought that kids grew up reading her groundbreaking series by default in this post-HP world, but according to Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, this book club is an attempt to bring the series to new readers “in new and exciting ways,” specifically, by providing “an entry point through which the thrill of these books can be shared with new generations of Harry Potter fans both within and beyond the classroom.”

Considering that it has now been 15 years since the first novel was published, perhaps it is high time to encourage younger readers to dream about getting a Hogwarts letter. And honestly, I don’t think there’s a better way to do so — I can’t even imagine reading the series for the first time, not only with the knowledge that I might be able to ask J.K. Rowling my burning questions directly, but also knowing that I’m sharing the experience with a bunch of cool adults who also fell in love with the trio and their trials and tribulations.

The October 11 webcast will be broadcast live from J.K. Rowling’s hometown of Edinburgh, Scotland.

To all you kids who are new to the series that shaped me and so many of my peers, I envy you, but I also sincerely hope this story impacts you like it did so many of us slightly older folks. Good luck with your book clubs, and ignore any annoying adults that try to feed you questions to ask J.K Rowling — ask whatever you’d like, and let Harry Potter make your world as magical as you’d like it to be.

(via Scholastic.)

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