cover image A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter

A Parent's Guide to Harry Potter

Gina Burkart. InterVarsity Press, $11 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-8308-3288-0

A number of Christian books in the last few years have debated the Harry question: are J.K. Rowling's Potter books fodder for moral development, or do they steer children toward the occult? Burkart's guide is refreshing in that she doesn't even seem to feel the burden of refuting the various alarmists in the Christian community; she takes it for granted that the Harry Potter books are valuable tales that can foster spiritual growth. Hers is the first Christian book to specifically explore how to use the Potter novels as springboards for moral discussions with kids. The mother of three says that the series can help children deal with and discuss traumatic experiences, face fears, appreciate diversity, counter bullies (take that, Dudley Dursley!), let go of anger, and choose good over evil. The book is filled with tips parents will appreciate; Hermione's commitment to knitting caps for house elves can inspire families to serve in soup kitchens, for example. Many chapters have questions for parents to pose to their kids. (""What shape would a boggart take if it approached you? Why is it important to let some other people know about your feelings and fears? How is prayer different from magic?"") Burkart's common-sense approach will help many Christian parents overcome their trepidation about fantasy literature and strengthen their family ties.