Harry Potter series deemed a good read in Kingman

It would be safe to say that just about every child that can read, and every parent, knows something about Harry Potter.

The adolescent Harry Potter who escapes an unhappy home life through wizardry and magic, has captured the minds and hearts of millions.

The internationally acclaimed books, by author J.

K.

Rowling, including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban have won numerous awards and have been No.

1 on the New York Times Best Seller List, but the phenomenally popular books have also been the subject of controversy.

"The Harry Potter books were the most challenged books in 1999," said librarian Jessica Hawkins, who works at the Kingman branch of the Mohave County Public Library,

Although the books have never been challenged at the Kingman branch, they have been nationwide.

According to the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom more people demanded the removal of the books from classrooms, school libraries and reading lists than any other book last year, because of the positive portrayal of magic and wizardry, Hawkins said.

This does not mean the book was banned in all cases, only that someone wanted the books removed from library shelves, she added.

Parents at a South Carolina Board of Education meeting went so far as to call Harry Potter books "evil."

Kingman resident Marla Lewis, whose daughter, Jenna, is in the 9-to-12 year-old age group the books are geared to, said she heard a commentary on the radio that referred to the Harry Potter series as "books about magic and supernatural trash and not good for impressionable kids."

She said she will read the book first before she decides if she will let her daughter read it.

But other adults say Harry Potter books are turning kids on to reading like nothing they have ever seen.

Virgina Streate, said she is happy to have her five daughters read Harry Potter books.

Her daughter Heather, 10, said she "liked the book a lot."

The books compare to C.

S.

Lewis'

Chronicles of Narnia and J.

R.

R.

Tolkein's Lord of the Rings with a good versus evil theme.

There is always a waiting list for the two copies of the Harry Potter books published so far (seven books are scheduled to be published), Hawkins said..

She advises parents who have questions about a Harry Potter book, or any other book, to read it first to see if it is appropriate for their child.

"When the first book came out a lot of kids were coming to the library asking for it.

I've read all three books.

I liked them so much I ended up buying a set for my own personal library...

It's a good read if you like fantasy," Hawkins said.

"Children relate to the (Harry Potter) character.

I only wish someone would donate more copies to the library so more children could check the books out," she said.

She is not the only adult who seems to be under the Harry Potter spell.

Paula Jackson, assistant book manager at Hastings Books, said many adults come in to the store to buy a Harry Potter book for their children or grandchildren and end up reading the book themselves.

"When each new book in the series is published we can't keep them on the shelves," she said.

"Some people are keeping them as collector's items."

School librarian Carla Curran said no one has challenged the Harry Potter series at Black Mountain School.

"I read Harry Potter before I put it in the library.

It is very good as long as you keep in mind it is fantasy," Curran said.

Hualapai Mountain School librarian, Debbie Stipsky, said the Harry Potter books were donated to the school library and are the most popular series of books.

Stipsky said she is aware of the controversy about the books, but has not received any complaints.

"It is a separate genre of books children can be exposed to.

If a parent had a problem with their child reading the book he or she would not be allowed to check it out, but we would not pull it from the (library) shelf," she said.

"Fantasy fiction enhances problem solving and creative thinking skills and opens up ideas to more creative thinking," Stipsky said.

"But most importantly, kids want to read about Harry Potter.

They like the books."