The Power of Books to Bond a Family

When we adopted Jordan last January he left his second grade class in the middle of reading aloud Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  One of the first things Jordan noticed in his new home was the set of Harry Potter books on the book shelf next to our fireplace. “Can I read that book?” he asked.
I gave him the book and he clung to it, always keeping it within his reach. It traveled between school and home. It went from bed to breakfast table. It sat next to the basketball goal and the Lego bricks. The cover became worn and the pages smudged.
It was the one constant from his life before to his life now.  A book was his comfort.
We tried to read it together as a family, but the other kids weren’t interested. Jordan tried to talk them into reading it on their own, but they never made it more than a few pages in. Jordan wasn’t discouraged, though. He kept reading and rereading and moving on to book two. Then rereading The Sorcerer’s Stone over and over and over.
He’s been begging to watch the movie.
You can imagine how I’m a firm read-the-book-then-watch-the-movie sort of person. I didn’t want to watch the movie until everyone had read the book. I buried it in our Netflix queue. Then a few weeks ago on Sunday evening when Andy left early in the afternoon for a youth event and I knew my survival lied in the Sunday tradition of baths then a movie, I tore open the Netflix envelope and  the disc dropped into Sam’s hands. He announced the title, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” and Jordan went bonkers.
“YEEEESSSSS! Thank you Mom! Thank you Mom! Thank you Mom!” He boinged around the kitchen and hugged tight around my waist.
The other kids were excited about the movie too.
“You guys haven’t read the book!” I protested.
Four sets of eyes stared wide at me me and I knew I was outnumbered and a happy evening was endangered. “Okay, put it in,” I surrendered.
The cheers trailed off as they followed Jordan and the disc to the DVD player. Throughout the movie Jordan predicted what was going to happen next. The other kids turned a little testy. I defended Jordan. “I don’t want to hear it guys. You had the chance to read the book. This is what happens when you don’t read the book first. You miss out. You cheat yourself. Next time read the book before the movie.” They hushed and watched the movie.
Before the movie was over Sam had our copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in his lap. The next day both of the girls brought home a copy from school. Jordan reread parts of the story with each of them. Then he picked up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The rest of them have all moved through book two ( and then watched the movie). They are waiting for Jordan to finish book three so they can crack it open.
They’ve made plans to dress up together for Halloween. Jordan is planning to be Harry. Stephanie is considering a Weasley. Hannah is Hermione. “Who can Sam be?” Stephanie asked. 
“Dobby!” Sam said. “I just need some pointy ears.”
“I’m glad you guys are finally Harry Potter fans,” Jordan said tonight at dinner.
I am too. The power of books is unlimited. They can even help to bond a forever family.
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8 Comments »

  1. There's something about those Harry Potter books! I wrote a blog post about how much they mean to our family, too, so I completely relate. I love that Jordan treated The Sorcerer's Stone like a talisman between lives!

  2. I love this peek into your family's reading life. I shared many books with my boys as they were growing up. The ones we remember most fondly are Where the Red Fern Grows, Hatchet and, when they were older, A Walk in the Woods. Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great post. I love how they have bonded over this. And I'm really glad you defended Jordan as he talked through the movie. The other kids really did need to read the book first. 🙂

  4. Parts of my own family have read the Harry Potter books, as adults, & along with a grandson. It's amazing how much we all refer to those experiences & like talking about them. Beautiful story of your family & the books, Ruth. I think you should write J.K. Rowling about it! Or better yet, ask Jordan!

  5. Fun! I can't wait for my kiddo to be old enough to read Harry Potter or for me to read it with him. He mentioned it the other day actually because we were at a craft fair and there was a booth with a cranky lady making wands. Both me and my 6yo were desperate for a wand but they were kind of expensive. I was going to splurge and buy him one but the woman there was quizzing him, asking how old Harry was when he got his first wand and asking my little guy how old he was. Then she said that really her wands were for adults who actually practice the arts and suggested we go to Barnes and Noble for a wand there. I was so mad and my son was so upset. I thought he was going to cry right there but he was really strong and understood that we probably didn't want to buy a wand from that woman. Ugh. Since then he's asked me about the book or the movie. I feel like 1st grade is pretty young…maybe over the summer? I'm honestly not sure! I just want him to get it and love it if we read it and not for it to lose it's magic. 🙂 Yay for Jordan and reading Harry Potter and connecting his family with the series. Love it!

  6. I love this story. I am glad that your kids bonded over the book(s) and movie. It is nice to think about a book as being the tie between an old and new life.

  7. Bravo to books. Jordan has to feel empowered from all this. I'm collecting all the Harry books from the library sales (fun to wait and see if I come upon with one week to week)–can't wait until the grandkids want to borrow them.