Ask Design Mom: Harry Potter & Age Appropriateness

August 3, 2011

What age do you feel it is appropriate to start reading Harry Potter to kids? Thank you. — Genevieve

Fun question, Genevieve! Since Harry Potter is just turning 11 as the first book starts, I’ve found my kids in the 9-13 age range relate to it the most. Although, if you have a child that can’t get enough independent reading at age 7 or 8, they might be game as well. Or, if you’re reading aloud to your child, 7 or 8 could work too — because you can explain anything they don’t understand as you go.

What’s your opinion, Dear Readers? Any literacy professionals out there that have some good advice?

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{ 67 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Erin August 3, 2011 at 8:33 am

I started reading the first book to my son at age 6-1/2 because he was really interested. My intention was to do a book a year or every six months. Well, by age seven he was reading extremely well, and finished the whole series by himself before he was eight! Not my intention, but he loves them so much. He even listens every night to the audio versions (read by Jim Dale, who’s incredible!).

We’ve also slowly started with the movies since he’s read all the books. We do a movie every three months or so.

I have found that so many of his friends have seen the movies (not necessarily read the books) because of older siblings, and he’s really happy to have the cultural currency of knowing the characters and story.

So I don’t regret that he read them so young, even though in a perfect world I would’ve followed Gabrielle’s advice.


2 Lee August 3, 2011 at 4:15 pm

We started listening to the audio as a family and absolutely love it as well. My daughter is about to turn 8 and on book 4 right now.


3 Alex Umay October 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I believe that Harry Potter should not be read by children under 12-13. A friend who teaches at a elementary school for gifted children agrees. Most of the series was written for adults. Just because your young child can read the words doesn’t mean their brains are able to conceptually understand the meanings being expressed. This is a cognitive fact. Maybe the first two books can go younger but only if you as a parent are willing to do the teaching work required, reading and breaking down the meaning for your child. In my sons 1st grade class (ages 6-7) a group of boys were reading Harry Potter and immediately started a HP club. Of course they continued past the first two books. By the end of the school year one of the boys was singled out and bullied by the others. He was so traumatized that he was crying and throwing up in the mornings not wanting to go to school. Ursula Kroeber Le Guin, an American author of novels, children’s books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction stated that the HP series was “ethically rather mean-spirited.” Clearly the boys picked up on that! The unfortunate thing is that parents egos sometimes override the reality of what their young children’s brains can conceptually handle. As for the movies, please use the ratings the film industry provides. There is no reason to traumatize your children.


4 Katie November 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

So bullying is equated with Harry Potter now? Way to do a gross over-generalization……


5 Alexandria Jackson September 10, 2014 at 6:31 am

As a teacher, and HP lover, I complete agree with you.


6 Mrsamandak December 10, 2013 at 11:58 am

You sound like a real nutter. Did you even read the books yourself? If bullying is what you got out of the series I worry about your comprehension level. Let’s ignore the extreme loyalty, sacrificial love, bravery, kindness, and everything else wonderful about the books. Your friends child was bullied because children are raised to me mean and cruel now- not because of Harry Potter


7 amelia December 14, 2014 at 10:16 pm



8 amelia December 14, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Personally I read the Harry Potter Series at a young age, so did my friend Madison. The equivalent young ages are 8 for me and 9 for her. We find each other incredibly sophisticated and smart. Generally I think this is a perfectly designed book for the age groups. To be honest we still fangirl over it at the age of 13. We are not being judgemental of your opinion.

Amelia x

hey its Maddie (Amelia’s friend) I don’t believe your opinion is correct for all people. Everyone is different in the way they see things. This is not a judgmental post as Amelia already stated. we are just letting you know our opinion and are not telling you what to do and not to do. but Amelia and I think that the HP series are suitable for anyone willing to read the series. if one becomes scarred of the series I advise that you not continue reading. these are our thoughts on the HP series and its audience.

-Maddie <3

we are both 13.


9 stacy August 3, 2011 at 8:36 am

As a teacher, I would say follow your kid’s lead. If they are game and able to pay attention, then go for it. If they are uninterested, then step back and choose something more appropriate. The most important rule for reading to your kids at home is to make it fun. It shouldn’t be a chore, but a joy for both of you.


10 Jamie June 9, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Stacy nailed it.


11 Jes August 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

My 8 year old daughter and I just started reading the first book together on Sunday. I haven’t read the books myself so I thought we should start by reading together in case anything comes up that she doesn’t understand. Every night we take turns reading a few pages. She loves it. She begs to read more and can’t wait to read what happens next.


12 McKay August 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

I read book one to my son when he was 7, and he enjoyed it, but book 2 proved to be a little scary so we stopped. I definitely think the “follow your kid’s lead” is always a good guideline – try it, and if there’s no interest, put it aside for six months or so and then pull it out again.


13 the emily August 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

I have tried with my son at ages 5, 6, and 7, and he has no interest whatsoever. He likes the movies but he is not into me reading them to him. So I’ll wait ’til he’s 9 or 10 and try again.


14 Kathy Ayers August 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

I agree with “follow your child’s lead”. I had put off reading them w/and to my two youngests (9 and 11) because they both have issues with scary things. But, we have slowly been making our way through the books for the past year (my second and sometimes third reading them), and let them see the movie after we finish each book. We were SO happy to find two of the Jim Dale audio books at our library, and listened to them on several cross country vacation trips. He is amazing! And gives me a break! But I was wondering Gabrielle when you said you were going to the HP movie in London? I think, how many of your children you took?


15 sarah August 3, 2011 at 9:22 am

Our daughter begged and begged us to read it with her, so we started reading at the end of 2nd grade. She’s now starting fourth grade and we’ve let her take off and finish the series (books 6 & 7). She loves it and talks to us about it all the time. I like that because we still are part of this literary experience she’s having, but she’s the one driving. Its been a lot of fun!


16 Janan W August 3, 2011 at 9:26 am

My oldest three all began when they were about 10, not because of reading level but because I prefer them to read about people their own age.


17 Juliana Chan August 3, 2011 at 9:30 am

My daughters started reading them at around age 6, and they both were completely into the book. I was ok with them reading the books this early, but I didn’t share the same feelings as far as the movies go.


18 Megan August 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

We had this dilemma ourselves! My husband and I are big fans of the series so we couldn’t wait to share it with our kids. Our oldest is 9 and although she has been reading at least two grade levels above the norm since kindergarten, we felt that just because she CAN read something, doesn’t mean she SHOULD. So we waited and began the series this summer and are reading it aloud with her. We figure that will help with discussions of anything a little too far above her maturity level. The deal we made was that she can watch each movie after we finish each book. At that pace, we feel like by the time we get to the 7th book she will be ready for it. She loves it and we love the joy of sharing this amazing series with her!


19 allysha August 3, 2011 at 9:43 am

One of the tricks with the HP books is that while the first one is age appropriate for younger audiences, the themes in the later books definitely start to address ideas for an older audience. When the books were being published the kids reading the books were growing up with the characters, but that’s not the case now!
My oldest kids are crazy readers and just want to plow through them. I’ve had them pace their reading a little bit once getting to the fourth one. My nine year old just started number 5 and she is ecstatic. My husband reads them to my seven year old first, and then she reads them on her own.


20 Hailey August 4, 2011 at 3:41 am

I was in that generation of children who grew up ‘in parallel’ to Harry Potter as the books were released one by one. It was magical, and I will spend the next decade wracking my brains to figure out how I can give my children a similar experience… I imagine it won’t be so easy to achieve when every other kid on the planet will come with built-in spoilers!


21 sara August 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

My kids are good readers and could “handle” the reading of those books but I don’t feel that they are appropriate (too scary & evil imagery) for anyone younger than age 10, esp. from book 4 on. We read the first one together when my kids were aged 6-9, but then my younger ones were scared of the movie. My oldest is 11 and I’ve allowed him to continue reading them on his own — but not until I’d read them twice first :)


22 Julia's Bookbag August 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

I’ve always thought that these books were for ages 7 or8+…..I loved Megan’s comment and agree with her re “can read” vs “should read” — I think you’ll know if your kiddo can handle the themes in HP and when….it’s so hard to wait I know! I can’t wait for my daughter to experience Potter!


23 Jen August 3, 2011 at 9:56 am

Not that she really knows what’s going on, but I’m currently reading the first HP book aloud to my 2 month old. I love the stories and she loves hearing my voice and seeing the faces I make at her while I read. As she gets older, I’ll step back and read her the picture books a very small child would enjoy and understand, but for now it’s a lovely way to pass the time. You’re never too young!


24 MamaChristy August 3, 2011 at 9:58 am

I tried with my son when he was six because he was interested, but he found he wanted something that could be read aloud to him in a week or less and get the whole story. He’s interested in seeing the first movie, so we might watch that and then try reading the first book again now that he’s older.

I didn’t read these until I was an adult (heck, I was an adult when they started coming out) and I adore them. I’m jealous – just a bit – of those that get to read it for the first time. I’d savor them a bit more if I could read them fresh one more time.


25 Ann August 3, 2011 at 10:09 am

My husband just finished reading Book 1 to our almost 5 and a half year old. It was his first real chapter book and he was super excited (although he thought that the Richard Scary Fun with Words Dictionary was a chapter book, we read that a few times.) It was amazing to see how our son really was paying attention, even when he seemed not to. He has seen the first film but we want to take it much slower on that front due to a very over-developed imagination.


26 KarinS August 3, 2011 at 10:16 am

Our daughter was more than ready to read them last year but she put it off because her Grade 4 teacher does a special “Harry Potter Day” at school. The class reads the first book together in the fall and they do special projects. But then my mother bought her the first book and she read it at the start of summer. Now she’s well into the 4th book. So much for holding off! I think age 9 is a great time to start.


27 mrsblocko August 3, 2011 at 10:23 am

My daughter is almost 6 and we started her with the movies this summer. We talked about the scary parts and were able to warn her when something bad was going to happen. She is reading at a 3-4th grade level, but I thought maybe they were beyond her still. Then she started begging to read them. BEGGING and PLEADING. She seems to be doing well and asking lots of questions, even though she has seen all the movies except the Deathly Hallows part 2. She even commented how there was a lot more going on in the book than in the movies.

I think you have to go off of your child’s fear level, reading level, and interest in the topic (I’m a Harry Potter Fanatic so that has a big influence on the interest level as well). I have a friend who has a 9 year old son who is scared of the movies and hates reading. He has no interest in reading the books at all.


28 Nicole August 3, 2011 at 10:34 am

I think it depends on the child. I have read all the books and love them but I have only let my son, now aged 9, read books 1-3 so far. Books 4-7 are too intense for my super sensitive kid who understands more than his emotions and fears can handle. I actually read books 1-3 to him and we talked about the story a lot and watched the movies together. So fun!


29 Pat T August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

As a mom and a teacher, I also agree with taking the lead from your child. We just started to read Harry Potter this summer, my son is 7. We are on book 4, but I understand that content – wise the other books become more “advanced”. I will be pre-reading book 5 to see if it is appropriate, if not we will take a break for awhile.


30 Jennifer Day August 3, 2011 at 10:50 am

My daughter and I read the first one together earlier this year and she has devoured the second one on her own. She loves it! She will be entering 2nd grade and is 7 years old. We will be watching the first three movies too, but I think the books are better. I probably won’t let her get to the later books until she is a bit older. I think the dementors and what they represent are pretty scary. But for now, it is fun to share the early books with her. We are planning a Harry Potter Halloween party too! Once it is done I will be posting it at so book mark and check out our ideas.


31 Reading (and chickens) August 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

Well, I’m a librarian and thought it would be amazing to read to my six-year-old, but all he wanted to hear about was the Hogwarts Express and thought the book was boring. Then I gave him away for blaspheming.


32 Jenn P. August 3, 2011 at 11:17 am

This is something I’ve thought a lot about. I would love to read the first book, and maybe the second, to my nine year old, but I think the later ones are a bit too dark for children under 13 or so. I don’t feel like I can start them and then say, “sorry, you can’t read the rest for 4 years!” so I’m waiting. He’ll enjoy them just as much when he reads them later.


33 Rachael August 3, 2011 at 11:39 am

We’ve read the first book to our older two children (ages 6 and 4), and they’ve heard the audiobook of the 3rd. After the first two chapters, the 6-year-old started reading on her own; we’ve let her read up through the third book, but told her she needs to wait a few years to read Book 4 and on. I was worried about how she’d handle this, but she just started rereading the series over again!


34 Genevieve August 3, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thank you, Gabrielle, for making my day in choosing my question! I appreciate all of the feedback so much! I think my son will love the stories, but I was concerned about when he would be ready for the dark content. Thanks to those of you who emphasized that the books get darker as you go. I really want to start reading HP to him when he turns 6, but based on the advice here, I think I will start at age 7 and make sure to reassess whether we should keep reading once we get to the 4th book. We will definitely hold off on the movies until he is older. Can’t wait to check out the Jim Dale audio books as well! Thanks again, everyone!


35 Tricia August 3, 2011 at 11:54 am

My daughter read the whole series at 8. Because my son wants to do everything his big sister does, we started reading the books to him when he was 6. We got through books one and two and decided the themes in the remaining books are just too far beyond him. So we told him that as soon as he can read the rest of the books on his own he could (knowing this will be in two or three years).

We watched the first movie as a family, after we had all read the first book, but we’ll be waiting much longer for the later movies. Visual imagery is more powerful and harder to process, I think, than reading words in a book.


36 Bri (like the cheese) August 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm

My daughter is currently 4. I plan to let her start reading them no earlier than age 7 with the intention of ‘releasing’ a new book to her every year. She has seen most of the first movie, but I think from there on out, I will require that she has read the book before seeing the movie. I started reading the first book to her, but decided against it because I don’t want her to get through to the more ‘mature’ episodes before she’s ready. I’ll stick with Narnia for read-aloud bedtime chapter books. :)


37 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay August 3, 2011 at 12:27 pm

My husband and daughter have been reading the books together. They are midway through book seven ( she will be 9 soon).
She loves the special reading time with her dad. He is able to help her make sense of the story while they read and puts the scary stuff into context. She is loving every minute of it. Because she has her dad by her side I feel fine about her reading HP at her age.


38 Cathi August 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan however I found the last few films to be quite dark.
I just started reading book 2 with my 8 year old grandson though and we’re both loving it…all over again! ;D


39 Sarah's Fab Day August 3, 2011 at 1:16 pm

I read the first HP outloud to my 7 year old and now we’re working on the second book. I explained to him that the books and movies get more mature as Harry ages, so after the second book we’re going to take a break. I’ve already read all of the book and seen the movies so I felt comfortable letting him read the first two. Since he was so in love the the books I’ve allowed him to watch the movies (the first couple) with me and we’ve fast forwarded or skipped the parts that I thought weren’t appropriate. It was a good compromise for both of us.

Even though my son wasn’t quite ready to read Harry all on his own I felt completely comfortable getting him interested in the series. I think by engaging your kids in a story that they can lose themselves in will just lead to a lif- long love of reading. So we’ve had lots of long discussions about the books and characters and it’s really been such a delight. These memories will be some of favorites for sure.


40 Anne August 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm

With my four sons, this is what I’ve noticed:

Around 2nd or 3rd grade, they start the series. Then, after reading a few, they stop, for a year or two.

Then, they read at least two more. Then they stop, for a year or two.

Then, when they’re mature enough, they finish the series.

And, re-read, and re-read, and re-read.

We have two policies: we don’t read these books to them and you can’t see the movie if you haven’t read the book. This way, they always go at their own pace and their imagination guides everything.

We’ve had a few funny times where a son has hurried to finish the book so that he could see the movie. As soon as he finished, he said, “Actually, I don’t want to see it yet. It’s too scary.”


41 Genevieve August 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm

That is so interesting about the pattern you see in your sons reading HP! I agree with not being able to watch the movies until they have read the books.


42 Michelle August 3, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Another option – if the HP books are a little too old or scary, C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia are perfect to begin reading together around age 6 or so! Similar, with the fantasy theme, but not as dark. My kids have loved them all!!


43 Genevieve August 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

This is such a great suggestion. Maybe we will read the Chronicles of Narnia before HP…


44 Ali August 3, 2011 at 5:33 pm

I read the Chronicles of Narnia with my dad when I was little and I loved them! I think a little fantasy is a great thing for a child’s imagination. Harry Potter and Narnia were my favorites.


45 Angie August 3, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have 4 kids the oldest is 11 and the youngest is almost 5. My oldest, my 11 year old girl gets is gun shy of anything that might be scary. We waited to let her read HP until she was 10. She is anavid reader and when she did start she plowed right through them about one every week. However, we did stop her on the last book. It’s much darker than the others. My 9 year old and 7 year old sons weren’t bothered at all and have been listening to the Jim Dale recordings, which are wonderful I might add. The boys are starting book 4, we will probably give it a little break. I agree with the other comments it’s better to go slower as the the books do get darker and the HP kids get older. It can be a little on the heavy side.

I always reccomend reading it first yourself if you are unsure if your child can handle the content. Who doesn’t love a chance to read HP?


46 Ali August 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I was one of the children who grew up with Harry Potter. I read the first book when it first came out and was enchanted by the world. I think I was probably 9. The difference was that we had to wait years for the other books to come out, so by the time the later, more dark and serious books came out we had grown up too and I was 18 by the time the last book came out. Now kids can read through them all very quickly and, depending on the child, they may get too scary. My little neighbor is only 6 and she is already reading book 4. You may want to wait on some of the later books, but I don’t think you can ever go wrong with the first couple. They were a fabulous part of my childhood.


47 Gandhali August 4, 2011 at 2:49 am

I grew up with Harry too, Ali!

I started reading them when I was 13-14 (I’d pointedly ignored the books earlier, what a mistake!) and I was absolutely hooked. At that time, only the first five were released and when the Half-Blood Prince was released, Harry was 16, I was 16 as well, and it was perfect!

I wonder what it would’ve been like if I’d started earlier!


48 Carolyn August 4, 2011 at 10:22 am

Good point, Ali. As another “Generation Harry Potter” kid, by the time the books matured, I had matured too. So it made perfect sense to be reading more “adult” content because when Harry was 16, I was 16 and could relate to 16-year-old drama (which, in retrospect, is far from “adult” content).


49 Johanna August 3, 2011 at 8:16 pm

As a future teacher and mom, I agree with the assessment to go with your child’s lead. However, be warned that it gets really dark around book 4, and kids may not be ready to handle the heavy themes. Parental guidance is always helpful in getting them through the tough parts. I know, kids that are pretty young can “deal” with the death of a character, but I argue that “feeling” is so much more important in internalizing the themes.

As far as movie watching appropriateness. I have a girlfriend who is cool with letting her 6 year old watch the occasional Potter on t.v because most of the scary and dark stuff is edited down. My personal feeling is that if they have read it and they understand what is going on, they can probably handle the movie (again with the whole parental guidance).

It is awesome to see kids that are precocious, young and embarking upon the Potter series, however parents do need to step in an gauge appropriateness for their offspring. There are tons of great books out there that are targeted to a “just-slightly-younger-than-Potter-appropriateness” crowd that can fill the void until the time is right (City of Ember, The Westing Game, etc)-so look for those until you feel for certain that your child will be able to squeeze every ounce of greatness from this series. : )


50 Kaet99 August 4, 2011 at 7:12 am

The reason I read the first HP was because Rowling’s style reminded me of the hilarious Roald Dahl. His books can also fill that gap while kids are maturing for the series. And Narnia–oh, how I love thee. As an English teacher, I also want to emphasize the joy of the reread. Most kids don’t understand how as your experience changes and develops, your understanding of a piece grows and changes. I am just about ready to read the HP series again–I can’t wait to savor it is time.


51 Whitney August 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

I let my son start reading in the third grade. And he can’t see the movie until he finishes that particular book. Last night he finished the third book and started the movie and then was too scared to sleep. This is just his personality. So he reads when he has the courage. I bet he takes a break after the 4th book just so his ability to not be scared catches up a bit.On the other hand, his little sister is a voracious reader and is less sensitive so she will probably start the series sooner. I think the age Gabrielle suggested is a great guideline but it also depends on the child.


52 Carrie Hill August 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

Thanks so much for posting this! I have an extremely precocious nearly-five year old and I was wondering when would be the best age to start. The series really matures and darkens as it progresses, and I feared starting too early then having him not enjoying the growing intensity of the themes. Thanks all for the helpful discussion!


53 Carolyn August 4, 2011 at 10:14 am

I was in 3rd grade when the first book came out and was a HP fan from the start (I tend to pride myself on this fact). So in my case, 9 was the perfect age. I can’t give any insight from the Mom perspective, but as someone who grew up with Harry Potter, I’d recommend 2nd/3rd grade.


54 robyn August 4, 2011 at 11:15 am

when our son was born, my husband and i would get really bored reading only picture books to him at bedtime. we figured that the most important part was hearing our voices (he was usually nursing during storytime anyway), so we read things like harry potter or the chronicles of narnia or lord of the rings—stuff we were interested in—until he was old enough to really look at the pictures and engage with us. :)


55 Lisa C August 4, 2011 at 11:17 am

My 8 year old is reading it now. He started about a month to two months ago. Right now he’s just over halfway through book 4. We told him that if he wants to see the movie, he needs to read the book first. Works well.


56 Hannah August 4, 2011 at 8:36 pm

Like other commenters I too grew up with Harry Potter. I was 8 years old when my best friend leant me the first Harry Potter book to read and I absolutely loved it (I remember heated discussions that we would have in our gardens about the correct pronunciations of all the names we had never come across before, “Her-me-own” vs. “Her-me-ownee” in particular, none of us could believe it when we finally found out how it was really said!)

My birthday falls in July so between ages 8-11 the newly published Harry Potter book became the most highly anticipated present on my birthday list. I loved everything about those first four books, absolutely idolised Harry, went and listened to JK Rowling talk when she toured our local Waterstones book store before the release of the third book, and confidently awaited my acceptance letter from Hogwarts the summer between moving from primary to secondary school.

But then the books started being released every two years instead and I began catching up with Harry in age, and then the films started being released and for me after that, my relationship with Harry Potter was completely altered. When the first film came out I was a year above the characters at school, and I hated seeing what was still in my mind a mature and sophisticated story about older children being filmed so childishly.

This is a very selfish and self-orientated post, but for a lot of the “first generation” of Harry Potter children, or for me and my friends at least, there was the early years where it felt like Harry Potter belonged only to us and was our quietly adored hero. And there were the later years, of mass hysteria, where our personal relationships with the characters in the books were swept away and swallowed up and replaced with cartoons, dolls and nerdy younger child actors whom none of us would have wanted to be friends with ourselves if we came across them in the playground of our own schools.

I think personally, that those of you with young children now who are making their way through the Harry Potter books at their varying ages are very fortunate. You can enjoy all of them all to yourselves, at your own pace, and at your own time. Your children’s images of the stories will be able to grow more constantly and less interrupted than ours were. I had the Narnia books read to me by my Dad when I was about 6 years old, hundreds of thousands of us have read the Narnia books as well, almost all of my friends have I would imagine, but there’s no competition over who read them first or loved them the most, Narnia books still feel special to me, they still belong to me. Even though we’ve all read them, when I was reading them my family could have been the only one in the world to have heard of Narnia for all I cared. That’s how the Harry Potter books should be read, it’s what they deserve.


57 bettijo @ August 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm

So funny — I totally thought it was Her-me-own too until this English lady I know corrected me. LOL!


58 Pat T August 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm

We also have been watching the movies after we read the book. My son prefers the book, as do I as your imagination takes over and runs wild. While we enjoy the movies (they are wonderful) the books are enjoyed much more!


59 Britta August 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm

One benefit of reading to a child is being able to edit what you read back at them. Children’s literature (especially the magical world of HP) is to be enjoyed–trying to cultivate a love for reading is so important at an early age. If a parent feels that their child is not ready for some of the scarier parts, or would get bored from pages without dialogue, I see nothing wrong with editing/personalizing the book to fit that child.

The real trick is how to read all 7 of them! Before I had kids, I read the first 2 or 3 books to my nephews, then aged 7 and 5. They were always asking questions about the characters, what the magical words meant, etc. and it took me forever to get through the first book! I think by the time I finished reading the third book to them, they wanted to read them on their own.


60 Michelle August 4, 2011 at 11:20 pm

I started reading Harry Potter when I was seven. (yup, I’m one of those kids who grew up with it.) The themes aren’t terribly mature, and even if there are parts that your kids might not understand/fully remember at a younger age, it makes for great discoveries when re-reading.


61 bettijo @ August 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm

My husband has never read the series (just watched the movies) so this summer he decided to read them aloud to my two girls. Our oldest (who is 6) is enthralled and is enjoying the books so much — they just finished book 2. I thought they’d be too scary but so far so good. My younger daughter (4) also enjoys that Daddy is reading to them so much, but as soon as he gets going she promptly falls asleep. In fact, on a night when Dad was away she disappointedly said, “Aww, but I want him to read me Harry Potter so I can fall asleep!”


62 bettijo @ August 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm

P.S. All these people who are saying they were 7 or 8 when the first book came out are making me feel SUPER old! LOL!!


63 Me August 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

The only problem I’ve had with my 9 year old reading the HP books is that now that she is finished, no other books seem to intrigue her in the same way! She finds them all dull and boring compared to HP.


64 Deanna November 29, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I’m not a mom, but I remember being a kid addicted to the books. I think I started watching the movies in grade 2 or 3? By the time grade 4 came I was well on to reading the fourth book. But then again this was during the time books and movies were still being released, so when Deathly Hallows came out I was in my teens and old enough to be fine with the deaths, sadness and themes of war. I’m definitely glad I read the Hallows book before seeing the movies. They seem to soften the blow of war in the movies, since books describe things much differently. No blood and gore there at all.


65 Isabelle December 15, 2012 at 9:59 am

Ok so I’m not a mom, but my mom kept me from harry potter when I was younger because of violence. My fifth grade teacher was actually the one who showed it to me when I was ten. Before that I was kept from it so much that I didn’t even know harry was a wizard until I saw the first movie. Not showing me harry potter made me feel left out a lot at school. I would let your 7 year old read harry potter or if he/she is not very good at reading read it to them. Or you could show them a movie. The sooner the better. Just make sure you to your kid because every kid deserves Harry in their life!!!


66 lin March 3, 2014 at 3:25 am

I have never read HP myself, and just started reading the first book with my 8-year-old son. We’re literally on chapter 2, and to be frank, I find the book a bit dark, scary, and quite adult in its outlook. I’d love to put my son off until he’s 10 or 11, but he’s hooked and wants to go on. I’m surprised to hear that kids are reading this even younger.


67 Sarah March 21, 2014 at 9:47 am

I am still a kid. Well tween. I am 12 and I have read and watched them all. I would say it depends on maturity. The first couple are for young kids and the rest for older kids. But agin I am on deathly hallows so in that one maturity. Ps. If you watch the 7th and or 8th it might surprise parents. When I was watching the 7th one and the scene when ron kills ths locket it shows hermione and harry nacked and making out. I am mature and don’t mind that or breif cusing, but not all people that age are ok with that stuff. Just saying my mom knows I love it so much that she just ignores it.


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