So Your Kid is Reading Harry Potter…. A Christian Family’s Response

Please note: this is a personal account of one family’s actual experience, NOT a Redeemed Reader staff-wide recommendation that you read Harry Potter. This post is about how to handle books your kids want to read that have potential issues, not a discussion of the merits or demerits of the Harry Potter books in particular.

As soon as my daughter turned 11, she began asking when she could start the Harry Potter books. Why 11? That’s the age Harry is when he first attends Hogwarts in the first book of the series. We’d long stipulated that she’d have to be at least 11 before starting the books.

Our Family Rules for Harry Potter

My husband and I’ve both read and listened to the entire Harry Potter series. We knew how the series ended (a fantastic ending), but we also knew the dark elements that are part of the series, especially in the last 4 books. We had a few stipulations for how our family was going to experience the Harry Potter series:

  1. Oldest child had to be eleven. (Her two younger brothers would be 10 shortly after; we deemed it close enough.)
  2. We had to experience some epic Christian fantasy series first so that the baseline for epic fantasy wasn’t Harry Potter. To that end, we’d already listened to the entire Narnia Chronicles series twice (and the kids had read them), and we listened to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.
  3. We were going to listen to the HP books as a family: this forced the kids to slow way down so they wouldn’t get to the later books until they’d had a chance to mature a touch. This also gave us, as a family, a chance to discuss things that come up in the books and to intersperse other books if it looked like the kids were too “into” HP.
  4. A firm discussion of the 2nd greatest commandment: love thy neighbor. You see, we have many friends who aren’t reading Harry Potter and that is perfectly fine. Our children were given strict instructions not to discuss these books with other families until they/we knew those families were okay with it. We discussed how to respect the choices of those who don’t agree with our own decisions; we don’t want to cause stumbling blocks by talking about books excitedly that someone else isn’t allowed to read just like we wouldn’t show a movie to someone that he or she wasn’t allowed to watch. Loving your neighbor also includes not spoiling books for someone when they haven’t read as far as you have!
  5. We decided in advance to stick to the original series plus the original movies; we did not dive into the Fantastic Beasts material.
  6. Finally, we have had some very clear discussions of curses, spells, and other witchcraft elements in the books that are most definitely NOT allowed, even in jest, in our home.

All Our Friends Are Reading Harry Potter!

Providentially, it turned out that most of the other kids in our small church were also exploring the world of Harry Potter at the same time. As we heard about more and more kids reading them, the kids would excitedly tell us, “We can talk about HP with so-and-so! They’re reading them, too!” And the Harry Potter book party was birthed.

A Book Party: Games, Discussion, and Fun!

Several of us moms at my church hatched a plan: we needed to have a Harry Potter party during the summer. We would play some themed games, eat some themed food (butterbeer, anyone?!), and, most importantly, facilitate some discussions about the books from a Christian perspective.

The party was a big hit. Amidst cauldron cakes, surrounded by hilarious decorations (an empty laundry basket full of “free invisibility cloaks”), house points, and a Tri-Wizard Tournament (with minute-to-win-it games), we also discussed the nature of sin, the gospel and Christ’s death for us (as opposed to the death of a mere human, like Harry’s mother), what we desired most (the Mirror of Erised), the nature of prejudice, the value of human life, and many more deep concepts. In fact, it was so rewarding, we planned a Narnia-themed party later that fall!

The Takeaway: Strike While the Iron is Hot

The takeaway here is not that you must go out and read Harry Potter. Rather, when you see your kids and their friends starting to engage with a book or book series, especially if it’s a hot topic culturally, seize the day. Strike while the iron is hot. Host a one-time book club. Invite their friends, have some fun, and use it as a chance to talk about the book in light of Scripture and the gospel. If there are potential morality issues in the books (like the later Rick Riordan books) or issues particular to the genre (such as fantasy books with magic) or social issues (racism, environmentalism, and others), this can be a terrific way to casually open up discussion with kids that help them think about our culture and some pretty heavy topics you might not normally broach.

You’re also free to find a different series that’s similar in genre or thematic elements. Encourage your children to read that more acceptable series with their friends and discuss it instead.

Book Party Tips

So, how do you throw a book party or a one-time book club?

  1. READ THE BOOK(S). Not every adult present has to read them, but at least one of you must so you can intelligently put the party on, ask questions, and facilitate discussion. Besides, reading a book your kids want you to read speaks volumes about your interest in them as persons.
  2. Pick a date: find a time that works and put it on the calendar! We hosted ours at 10 in the morning because it was summer and it’s cooler in the morning. We did an afternoon event in the fall.
  3. Choose a location: if you plan your location right, younger siblings can tag along and play outside while folks discuss books inside or vice versa. A house, a park, a room at the library….
  4. Search the web for ideas. Seriously, folks, if you think a book would be fun to discuss, chances are good that someone else has done the legwork. Pinterest is your friend. Good search strings: “[book title] discussion questions” or “[title] book club activities” or “[title] lesson plans” or something similar.
  5. Divide and conquer the tasks. Someone can decorate, a few can bring food snacks, someone can coordinate the games and/or discussion questions.
  6. Divide and conquer the kids: if not everyone has read all the books in a series, have a group that only discusses the first one or two and then a group that can discuss later books. If there are mixed ages, you can separate that way, too. Kids 10 and under tend to be a bit less introspective than older kids and won’t last as long in a deep discussion, especially if there are folks playing outside!
  7. Include some individual activities: word searches, guessing games, coloring pages. If you have dead time or just some kids who are on the quiet side, these will come in handy. They also make great “party favors.”

Postscript:

At this writing, it’s been nearly 3 years since we read the first Harry Potter book together as a family. One child has gone on to re-read them all. She has also re-read the Lord of the Rings multiple times. The other two have since re-read Narnia, and all three love other Christian fantasy series such as those by N.D. Wilson, Andrew Peterson, and Jonathan Rogers as well as well known secular series. HP comes up regularly in discussions, and we all know which house we belong to (3 Ravenclaws and 2 Hufflepuffs). HP is part of our family culture just as much as the other books we’ve read, but it does not dominate (nor should it!). We all love the ending, and we’re glad we listened to them as a family!

What about you? How have you handled controversial books in your own home?

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Betsy Farquhar

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Southeast.

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30 Comments

  1. Cristy on July 15, 2019 at 6:52 am

    I still don’t like mixing my faith walk (or encouraging my children to mix theirs) with books that have characters practicing witchcraft. I can, however, admire the idea of bringing the reading and celebration home, rather than letting the child read the book by themselves. Well done!

    Also, as a self-proclaimed lover of good writing, I can confidently state that Harry Potter does not fall into this category, by all indications of the first 3 chapters. I wish more attention was paid to how it could be better written, and should most certainly NOT be compared to Tolkien, Lewis or Wilson, who were much more mindful of their craft.

    I wish you well.

    • Betsy Farquhar on July 15, 2019 at 10:18 am

      Harry Potter could definitely be better written! Especially those last 4 books–I’ve often wondered where the editor was, but the books were probably making so much money by then that they were just rushed through to publication date. I do think the comparison to other fantasy authors, particularly ones who excel at their craft, is a good one, though. It reminds us that there IS excellently written fantasy–and fantasy from a Christian perspective–out there. You might be interested to know that Jerram Barrs includes Rowling/Harry Potter in his book Echoes of Eden. I found his comments very interesting.

  2. A La Carte (July 17) - Reformologist on July 17, 2019 at 12:40 am

    […] So Your Kid is Reading Harry Potter…. A Christian Family’s Response […]

  3. Mary on July 17, 2019 at 7:35 am

    So all your child’s peers are reading Harry Potter. Rather than sit down with your child and explain why these books are occult in nature you just candy coat it and dive right in? Since the Harry Potter series came out, there has been an explosion of teens getting involved in Wicca and other occult practices. My daughter loved to read at eleven, but thank goodness she had enough discernment to know that HP was at it’s core, centered on the occult. It boggles my mind that Christian parents would even consider allowing their kids to immerse themselves in a book series that is so anti-Christian and demonic, just so their kids can be on the same level as their peers. It’s no wonder there is such a high percentage of youth leaving the church and Christianity once the leave home. Parents no longer teach their kids to be “in the world and not of it”.

    • Betsy Farquhar on July 17, 2019 at 2:09 pm

      Thank you, Mary, for expressing your concerns. I agree with you that letting children read books that center around the occult, especially if it’s just because their friends are all reading them, is ill-advised. In this particular case, as I mentioned above, my husband and I had already read the Harry Potter books and decided what our approach would be before our children even knew the books existed. If our children had expressed no interest, it would have been a moot point, but it is good practice as parents to know what’s going on in our culture and have a game plan. The “magic” in the Harry Potter books did not strike my husband and me as dabbling in the occult, unlike books which feature pentagrams, demon-possession, and the like. The HP books are set in an entirely alternative reality, much like Narnia or Middle Earth. I really appreciate the way Jerram Barrs puts it in Echoes of Eden: [he’s referencing Narnia, Middle Earth, and HP as a group in this quotation] “The magic helps us see the battle between good and evil more clearly. Magic is simply a device to unveil the world of virtue and vice to us.” It was only after our family had started reading the books altogether that we learned some of our kids’ friends had recently started the series also.

      This post is not an argument for/against the Harry Potter books, though. Rather, it is my hope that it stands a model for how to grapple with books that might present problems but which a particular family decides to read/engage, intentionally, with an eye to discussing the books with their children. Here at Redeemed Reader, we believe the only required book is the Bible. All others are ultimately a matter of conscience, and we know that Bible-believing Christians have differing standards regarding the books they read. Every book we read, even a “classic,” demands discernment, analyzing the author’s worldview even as we might enjoy the storyline. That’s precisely why we rate books on both their literary merit and their worldview; we hope to come alongside parents and teachers as they strive to help shepherd the young imaginations in their care. We will always point out the presence of magic in a fantasy work (and also include non-magical works on our fantasy lists) because this is a particular area of difference for so many Christians. We will also try to point out pagan worldviews when they occur in realistic fiction, examine classics through similar lenses, and review works like Jerram Barr’s Echoes of Eden that we feel are excellent resources in helping us to develop discernment. And we love to remind our readers that books don’t save; only Christ saves, and we should be always looking to know Him better.

      • Florence Obison on February 23, 2021 at 3:43 am

        Weldone Betsy for such a beautiful and kind response.

  4. […] So Your Kid is Reading Harry Potter…. A Christian Family’s Response […]

  5. Gretchen on July 20, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    Hi Betsy,
    Thank you so much for your thorough article. It would have been very helpful when my boys were younger. I especially liked the way you talked to your kids about being careful who they talked to about the books, whether it was because that family had chosen not to read the books or they weren’t as far along in the series as your family. Every family has to choose for themselves what books, movies, etc are appropriate for them and should not feel pressured one way or another because of the choices they have made.

    When our boys were late elementary/middle school age they loved the Redwall books. There was another family with three boys in our homeschool group who were also crazy about the Redwall books. The other mom and I came up with the idea to hold a Redwall feast over lunch with the boys. This was such a hit! We started doing it once a month. Each family would contribute a couple of dishes that were talked about in the books. The boys would look forward to this and enjoyed planning what recipes we would make.

  6. William Harkleroad on February 12, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    Thank you for this “non-judgemental” article. It is very helpful to be able to read something without being marginalized. I will have to say though, I 100% disagree on the fact that Christians are morally allowed to read Harry Potter if their “convictions” say so. “The heart is full of lies.” For example, would you let your child read a book, entitled “Hooker Hannah”, about a prostitute that’s kind, generous, and benevolent? No, of course not! Even if the book contained characters who made sacrifices for each other and were “good”, the book would not be appropriate or acceptable. Hannah: A Hooker With a Heart of Gold. Sounds silly. But that is what Harry Potter is; only instead of being sensual, they are casting spells and blaspheming the Holy Spirit. The sin that God will never forgive.

  7. Patricia on February 18, 2020 at 7:12 am

    I love your perspective! Thank you

  8. Linda on March 4, 2020 at 3:38 am

    I am grandmother, now retired from our city’s library system and a teacher before that. I have an almost 12 yr old granddaughter who is an avid reader. I was literally sick at my stomach when I found out my granddaughter(age 10 1/2 or so) was reading Harry Potter. She and my daughter were keeping it on the “down low” because they knew I wouldn’t be thrilled. I wasn’t, but was glad my daughter had the foresight to be listening to the books as Lydia read them. I have read blog after blog trying to convince people like me (of whom there are a precious few) that it is ok for Christians to read HP. While I have gotten beyond that sick feeling when thinking about it, I still do not think it wise. No, my granddaughter has not delved into witchcraft, but what I have seen happen is a killing of her desire to read good Christian fantasy or other literature. No other series seem to measure up. Silly as it may sound, I sometimes wonder if JK Rowling made a deal with the devil. Some have tried to herald all the “good” things in HP such as sacrifice and the battle between good and evil. There may be that, but I imagine that even poisonous substances could be broken down to find some good nutrients in them as well. We are the Redeemed…bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ. Yet, often we engage our minds and hearts in the very things He died to Redeem us from! If that weren’t enough, the matter of time comes into play. Time is a nonrenewable resource…even for those who are young. The time SPENT reading or watching or listening to things that are not redeemable is time that could have been INVESTED in worthwhile pursuits that honor and glorify God. Lest you get the impression I have been baptized in lemon juice, I have a wonderful relationship with my grandchildren and have, since day one, built great relationships with them by engaging with them in a variety of creative activities. They know when they come to this Grandma’s house there will be fun things to do and good things to eat. Philippians 4:8 is a great, but seemingly forgotten, word from The Word: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

    • Betsy Farquhar on March 4, 2020 at 7:13 am

      Thank you, Linda, for your thoughtful comments! I’m glad you have a great relationship with your daughter and granddaughter–and that you are invested in your granddaughter’s reading life (and that your daughter is invested in it, too). That is a primary way we can shepherd those young imaginations. We know, at Redeemed Reader, that many families are uncomfortable with magic/witchcraft of any sort, even when it occurs in books written by Christians. We will always include that information in our reviews so that our readers can confidently choose books for their families (and classrooms).

  9. Andrea Hudson on August 17, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    Generally-if everybody is doing it, it’s probably not a good idea. There are so many other choices-why skirt the line and ignore that God commands us not to concern ourselves with witchcraft, spells and mediums? My kids got so mad at me and begged to read HP books because “everyone else” was reading them. But oh well, they survived!

    • Betsy Farquhar on August 18, 2020 at 6:56 am

      You’re right that “everyone doing it” is not a good reason to dive into something questionable. In our case above, we were already reading Harry Potter and decided to have a group discussion only after we noticed that others in our church were also reading it at the same time.

      • Raegan on November 4, 2020 at 10:39 pm

        Oh my goodness. Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, etc. None of these are bad! Just because they include witchcraft doesn’t mean a Christian child should be withheld from reading through their imagination! I am a Christian child and I have read all Harry Potter books twice! And the Hunger Games books are my all time favorites! Someone please explain to me why these books should “not be read by children of God”.

        • Janie Cheaney on November 6, 2020 at 4:42 am

          Raegan,
          This is Janie, not Betsy, and I haven’t read all the HP books, just the first one. I enjoyed it, but I’m not into fantasy that much. The point of this post is simply that Christian parents have different perspectives about the books. If some parents are wavering about whether to let their kids read them, Betsy offers some helpful perspective. Her post is clear that her family sees them as not dangerous occult, but entertaining literature with some discussion value.

  10. E. Hayes on August 27, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    I’m glad to find another Christian reader that feels similarly about the Harry Potter books. I was not allowed to read the books when I was a child. My mom’s reason against reading the books was mostly because she’d heard a lot of characters die in the books and a little bit because of the magic. We had the books because an aunt bought them for us, but I didn’t actually read them until I was 23. I don’t think the series has the best morals as Harry is surrounded by an environment with moralistically complex adults that do not always make good decisions and often Harry breaks the rules if he thinks he is being treated unfairly or he thinks that breaking the rules will stop evil. In Narnia and Lord of the Rings there are characters that are great role models, but characters are a bit murkier in Harry Potter.

    As far as the magic goes, Rowling doesn’t personally believe in magic, she does reference a few things like the Salem witch trials and I read that some of the magical things referenced in her book are real. For example: Harry accidentally magically transports himself into a shady alley once and sees objects for sale that have been cursed to hurt people and something called a “hand of glory” that is apparently a real occult reference. But again, the authoress doesn’t believe that magic is possible and the magic in the books does not involve contacting demons or the dead (there is a scene where a character who is about to die sees dead loved ones but as he is going to die this isn’t really the same.) As a Christian, it did bother me that Harry takes a class in divination where they are supposed to predict the future, however the teacher is basically a quack and Harry passes the class just by inventing crazy stories of what will happen in his future.

    I do not have children, but if I did and they wanted to read the Harry Potter books I would require them to read Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and the Bible first. I feel that if they are old enough to read through these, then they are old enough for the HP books. I love fantasy and have found it weird that Eragon and Percy Jackson and the Olympians – despite having none of the Christianity that Narnia and LotR have – were celebrated in my homeschooling community while Harry Potter was something unmentionable.

    I am not saying that people should go out and read Harry Potter, just this. I had some friends that I grew apart from when I was younger because they were Harry Potter fanatics and I, trying to be a good Christian kid, thought they were doing something evil. I was the kid that would run from the room when a Harry Potter movie commercial came on because I had been told watching Harry Potter would make me sin. In Harry Potter, only people who have a magical gene can do magic, it’s very clear that we as regular people can’t. There are books out there that have used the “magic school” idea to promote witchcraft and capitalized off of the idea, but as long as you have no temptation toward witchcraft, there is no harm in teenagers reading the Harry Potter books.

    Also, in hindsight I wonder if the press hyped the conservative boycott against the books. I mean, they made the question be, “Will you let your children read these books?” rather than, “Am I even going to notice this book?” There are hundreds of children’s books and I think the boycott probably gave HP more publicity than it would have had otherwise. At the time, though, people had no idea what Rowling would do with the series as she refused to say anything. It did make people scared that she would promote Satanism in later books, but she didn’t and she put a few references to Christianity actually in the last book.

    By the way, I don’t think I really missed anything by waiting until I was an adult to read HP, I just wish I had known more so I wouldn’t have thought that my friends were sinning by reading HP. Children are not really good at hiding what they are thinking and I was no different.

    God bless.

    • Betsy Farquhar on August 28, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment! I think your statement here is an especially interesting point: “Also, in hindsight I wonder if the press hyped the conservative boycott against the books. I mean, they made the question be, “Will you let your children read these books?” rather than, “Am I even going to notice this book?” There are hundreds of children’s books and I think the boycott probably gave HP more publicity than it would have had otherwise.”

      After all, part of the point of this post is to use HP as a model for how we approach any book that merits a well thought-out approach. Sometimes, we conservatives tend to heap up too much negative publicity on books instead of trying to showcase the books we actually do want people reading. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Food for thought!

  11. Kim R on September 29, 2020 at 9:14 am

    Hi, we have just decided to read this series as a family (kids are now 11 and 14) with weekly discussion. I’m wondering if you have discussion questions that you used that you could share? I’ve tried looking for book club discussions questions from a Christian perspective but can’t find any. Thanks!

    • Betsy Farquhar on September 29, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Honestly, I don’t remember the particular discussion questions we used. I did pull some from various places on the web (I think the publisher even has some), but then we skewed them towards a Christian worldview. For instance, when we talked about love (Harry is protected because his mother loved him enough to die for him, among other things), we talked about Christ’s love for us and intercession for us on the cross. No single human can love someone enough and/or die for someone in the same sense (you might take a bullet from someone, but that’s a little different). We did talk about how/when the characters showed biblical characteristics and when they didn’t, how we knew Voldemort was truly evil in a Christian sense (for instance, he has zero regard for human life apart from its utility and this really shows itself in book 4), how we already know the end of the real battle between good and evil in a cosmic sense, and things like that. We also discussed what the Bible says about witchcraft, how there really are real witches in our own world who are calling on the power of the devil, and things like that. Hope that helps get your thinking wheels turning!

      • Becky Harvey on January 5, 2021 at 3:28 am

        I really appreciate your approach and how you’ve shared your families reading HP. I’m a grandma and as a mom didn’t want my children reading such mystical books; yet they did when older and could better understand.
        I am sad that amidst my sheltering ( quite: I’ve been told). That my grandson at 8 years older is reading HP and soon to be read the Hobbit and then Lord of the Rings, per his mama. This grandson has fears of lotsa stuff…. and I’m wondering if it’s due to reading HP waaaay too soon. I just keep loving and praying as this generation seems to not have lotsa care in knowing Christ Jesus and His victory over evil.
        In reading how you shared reading Harry Potter with your 11 year older etc.. ( makes more sense when they were more mature).
        My grandson at 8 yrs old is quite young~~. It appears to this grandma that my sons wife has a missed reading group of books she’s just pushing toward my grandson… sadly. Her interests are overpowering his young mind.
        Blessings and thank you for sharing how you shared these books with your tween children.. That seems a better age and able to handle the content. I like how you spoke of God to your children etc.. and respect of others . Again, Blessings ~.

  12. Marlo on December 22, 2020 at 10:33 am

    As someone who’s fairly young, allow me to offer the perspective of someone who read the Harry Potter books growing up and would probably be fine with my kids reading them. Although everyone’s kids are different, I feel most are more intelligent than we give them credit for, and considering many fairy tales (which I personally think are harmless, millions of devout Christians grew up on them throughout history and turned out alright) feature magic and witches etc. anyway, many children are already familiar with the concept and understand it is fantastical and has little to do with real life. This is based off my own personal experience, anyway. At the time of reading Harry Potter, I really had no idea what the real life, modern day occult was, and viewed the idea of kid wizards and witches living amongst us to be an interesting but obviously imaginary idea. Most of the spells and things were fairly unappealing and mundane in the books anyway, they could probably help make life a lot easier for some adults if they were true and existed, but I was just a kid then, and my parents did everything, or at least most things for me – if I wanted food or a cookie or a bottle of milk, I didn’t need magic, I just needed to call! I was actually very young, under 10, when I read the books first. Some people complain that the Harry Potter books lack role models, but I think there are plenty of role models. It’s true that some of the adults and characters in the books have complex morals, but that’s just realist and prepares children for real life – we shouldn’t shelter children from what they will inevitably experience and will happen to them (like Dumbledoore does to Harry Potter, that’s part of the message of the books!).

  13. Sue Kraakevik on January 7, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    I love this discussion! As a Christian educator I get this question a lot – and have wrestled with it since the books came out. I was greatly encouraged since I read a couple of books by a man named John Granger (no relation to Hermione :)) entitled “Looking for God in Harry Potter” and “How Harry Casts His Spell”. Granger was educated in many of the same areas as Rowling and so understands where she is writing from – a foundation in classical literature. He, however is a Believer and sees how these classical storylines that are woven into her books carry the Gospel, unbeknownst to the author! “How Harry Casts His Spell” walks through each book and shows how each one of them depicts the story of Redemption, much like C.S Lewis’ Narnia series. Good fodder for discussion (written for adults) – and I must admit to tearing up as Granger presented the magnitude of what Christ has done for each one of us (I always do), using the themes in HP! It is also just a fascinating read for book nerds like myself. Just wanted to put that out there in case it could be helpful.

    • Betsy Farquhar on January 7, 2021 at 4:23 pm

      Thanks for the book ref’s, Sue! I’ve heard good things about his works, and they’re on my “TBR” list.

    • Jennifer Stuart on November 17, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Actually, Sue, J K Rowling has admitted to being a practicing Christian and that she intentionally infused the books with Christian themes. However, she tried not to include overt religion in the series, which she regards as fantasy and fairy tale, and did not advertise her faith because she thought that readers who knew her faith would see where the storyline was headed.

  14. Laura Lovewell on January 6, 2022 at 1:27 pm

    I think the primary takeaway in this entire discussion is that each parent needs to make this decision for their own children. I can’t tell you which books to allow your children to read and I hope no one else thinks they can tell me which books my kids are allowed to read. The reason websites like Redeemed Reader are so important for parents today is that they present the relevant information and leave it to the parent to decide. My husband and I are accountable to God for how we raise our children, not anyone else’s. If God is leading us to stay away from Harry Potter then allowing our children to read the series would clearly be sinning against God. He alone knows our children far better than we ever could and He knows if they may be predisposed to gravitating toward occult things if they learn about them. The children of other parents may have no interest in occult things, so reading Harry Potter presents no issue to them. I think it’s also important to remember not to pass judgment on parents for their choices. Shaming someone will never get the desired result. We should be asking ourselves, if we are shaming others, why we feel that is our place. It’s one thing to present a valid argument to abstain from something, but ultimately we need to leave it in God’s hands. That’s my two cents.

    • Janie Cheaney on January 7, 2022 at 4:30 am

      Thanks for your thoughts, Laura. I believe We’re on the same page when it comes to what kids can and should read.

  15. Emily on May 6, 2023 at 4:58 pm

    Really appreciate reading your thoughts and family experience with HP. It’s interesting to see that some comments were regarding how we should avoid what everyone else is doing (i.e. if everyone else is reading HP then we should be cautious). Well, we were on the other end of this – we had actually defaulted to “banning” these just because everyone else in our Christian circle did. But lately we revisited this and decided it’d be good for my husband and I to read these ourselves and/or read with our two oldest, who are now 14 and 11. The 14 year old had asked recently, and what gave me the “push” to try is his desire to evaluate the series himself and see what all the fuss is about. Since we really do want our kids to be able to think critically and evaluate things in our current culture with a Godly mindset, we thought this is a great opportunity to do that, especially while the kids are still with us and we can do this together.

    Also – you might want to check out Frank Turek’s recent book, “Hollywood Heroes – How Your Favorite Movies Reveal God” – he includes seven movies, including HP, and talks about how these heroes point us to the ultimate hero, Jesus!

    I think it shows there are great opportunities to discuss God with non believers through these popular books/movies.

    • Janie Cheaney on May 8, 2023 at 3:14 am

      Emily,
      Thank you for weighing in! We’ve always contended that literature is one of the best ways to engage with the world and worldviews before we have to contend with them in our own lives. That’s why we flag some books as “discussion starters,” even though we might the ideas presented may not match up with our own views. I’ve heard it said that all stories are reflections of God in that they have structure and purpose, even when denying structure and purpose. All stories are part of the Grand Story he’s telling!
      Hollywood Heroes sounds interesting–thanks for the recommendation.

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