Updated: September 4, 2019 10:30:56 am
Most kids love reading Harry Potter but a Catholic school in the US is worried it may harm them. The school in Tennessee has reportedly removed Harry Potter books from its library as the school priest was worried the spells contained in them may be used to conjure evil spirits.
The decision was taken after consulting exorcists in the US and Rome who recommended the move. Rev Dan Reehil of Nashville’s St Edward Catholic School wrote in an email, “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”
While the school may be apprehensive, JK Rowling, in an interview earlier, had burst the bubble by revealing that the spells were made up. “The spells are made up. I have met people who assure me, very seriously, that they are trying to do them, and I can assure them, just as seriously, that they don’t work,” she had said.
What do parents in India think about the school’s decision? Express Parenting spoke to a few mothers, some of whom are also authors, to know their reactions. Here’s what they said:
“Harry Potter is a children’s book. It is fantasy and it is fiction. I don’t think chanting ‘Wingardium Leviosa’ is going to make anything levitate. On a deeper level, this kind of reaction shows how schools don’t want to talk to children about so many things, or address genuine concerns in literature. For example, someone was talking about how problematic a book like ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ is, but banning it doesn’t make sense. I think teachers need to put these books into context.”
-Shweta Saran, mother, education journalist and reviewer of children’s books
“So weird. On one hand we want to boost kids’ imagination and on the other hand there’s all this censorship. As long as they are age appropriate books, all reading is good.”
-Ritika Jain, mother and graphic designer
“This is not for the first time that religious objections have been made to the Harry Potter books. They have been considered controversial for a while now by theists who believe the books encourage witchcraft. People who are afraid of books are usually afraid of the truth. That is, they either believe the books are capable of igniting something within the readers which will help the latter see through the former’s lies or they suddenly feel insecure because their own faith doesn’t stand up to what the books reveal. And this is applicable to different contexts, not only religion.”
-Sowmya Rajendran, author and mother
“If the authorities truly believe that the spells work, they have to read the books once to understand that the wizard kids themselves needed way too much practice to get basic spells right. Jokes apart, fantasy and fiction are wonderful ways to encourage children to be imaginative and creative. My 12-year-old and I absolutely love Harry Potter.”
-Akila Subramanian, mother
In case, your child enjoys reading Harry Potter, here are some other children’s books you can introduce them to:
1. The Witches by Roald Dahl
2. Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
3. The Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
4. A Wizard Abroad by Diane Duane
5. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
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