Happy anniversary, Harry Potter! Twenty years ago today, on June 26, 1997, the first Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling was first published. It was called Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, and the named changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone when it was released in the U.S.
The novel worked a lot of magic on a lot of people, muggles and wizards alike. Here are 12 fun ways to celebrate Harry Potter's 20th anniversary.
* Reread the book! There's so very much in them that rereading them almost always leads to a new revelation. Also, what you take from the books can vary quite a bit depending on what stage of life you are in when you read them.
* Take the ultimate quiz about the book on Pottermore here.
* Listen, or relisten, to the audio book. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry have both recorded the whole series, and they do an amazing job performing them. I would say "reading" or "narrating," but what they do in their recordings goes way beyond either of those. Maggie McGuire is a Vice President at Scholastic, mom of two tween boys, and former middle school language arts teacher, recommends them because it gives a very different perspective on the books. She says that while audio books shouldn’t replace reading, they can be a great way to build children’s skills in discussing books and a wonderful way to make a road trip lots of fun, too.
* Host Harry Potter movie night! Start by watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, of course, but Harry Potter marathons are never a bad idea if you want to keep going. Unfortunately, the movies are not on Netflix. You can get it from Amazon here. Or see if your local library has it.
* Raise a glass of butterbeer. You can find recipes here.
* Spend some time with the Sorting Hat on Pottermore to learn which house it would put you in. Have each family member take the quiz. Even if you've done it before, it's interesting to see if it's changed and discuss why, or why not. It can also be a great conversation starter with your tweens and teens. It's a good way to talk about their strengths. Also, does it surprise them that family members often end up in different houses. Is that a good thing, or does it make more sense to them that everyone would be all in one house like the Weasleys family?
* Play some Quidditch! Although the brooms may not be airborne, you can read how to do it in your backyard here.
* Pick up the Harry Potter coloring book, grab some markers or colored pencils, and get to work.
* Bake a cake! Harry Pottery's birthday may not be until July 31, but it is in the first book that Hagrid brings Harry a chocolate cake with "Happy birthday Harry" written in green frosting on it. Or you could make Harry's favorite treacle tart.
* Of course we wouldn't have the wizarding world without author J.K. Rowling. Her remarkable imagination brought magic to millions, and her wonderful writing skills made so many children and adults love reading that one thinks she may be a wizard herself. She has certainly faced some struggles, and she has a remarkable story that inspires everyone to persevere. Start with this Biography.com article about her.
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