A parent's guide to the Harry Potter Phenomenon

What's all this Harry Potter stuff you've been hearing about from your kids? Harry Potter is the hero of a series of children's books by author J.K. Rowling. These books have captured the imagination of 9 to 12 year olds all over the world. It's truly amazing to see how kids devour these books. Even children who say they hate reading love these books.

Most children can identify with the unlikely hero Harry and imagine themselves in his place. These books are pure escapism and teach kids that reading can be fun. The Harry Potter books are often the first books that a child reads just for the fun of it. They open up children's eyes to the further possibilities for recreational reading. They can change a child's whole attitude about reading while at the same time improving their reading skills.

Below are short descriptions of the first 6 books in the series so far, and some of the other Harry Potter related products available.

Click on a book for more information including how to order.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1 of the series)

Say you've spent the first 10 years of your life sleeping under the stairs of a family who loathes you. Then, in an absurd, magical twist of fate you find yourself surrounded by wizards, a caged snowy owl, a phoenix-feather wand, and jellybeans that come in every flavor, including strawberry, curry, grass, and sardine. Not only that, but you discover that you are a wizard yourself! This is exactly what happens to young Harry Potter in J.K. Rowling's enchanting, funny debut novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. In the nonmagic human world--the world of "Muggles"--Harry is a nobody, treated like dirt by the aunt and uncle who begrudgingly inherited him when his parents were killed by the evil Voldemort. But in the world of wizards, small, skinny Harry is famous as a survivor of the wizard who tried to kill him. He is left only with a lightning-bolt scar on his forehead, curiously refined sensibilities, and a host of mysterious powers to remind him that he's quite, yes, altogether different from his aunt, uncle, and spoiled, piglike cousin Dudley.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2 of the series)

It's hard to fall in love with an earnest, appealing young hero like Harry Potter and then to watch helplessly as he steps into terrible danger! And in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, the much anticipated sequel to the award-winning Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, he is in terrible danger indeed. As if it's not bad enough that after a long summer with the horrid Dursleys he is thwarted in his attempts to hop the train to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to begin his second year. But when his only transportation option is a magical flying car, it is just his luck to crash into a valuable (but clearly vexed) Whomping Willow. Still, all this seems like a day in the park compared to what happens that fall within the haunted halls of Hogwarts.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3 of the series)

For most children, summer vacation is something to look forward to. But not for our 13-year-old hero, who's forced to spend his summers with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who detest him. The third book in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series catapults into action when the young wizard "accidentally" causes the Dursleys' dreadful visitor Aunt Marge to inflate like a monstrous balloon and drift up to the ceiling. Fearing punishment from Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon (and from officials at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who strictly forbid students to cast spells in the nonmagic world of Muggles), Harry lunges out into the darkness with his heavy trunk and his owl Hedwig.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4 of the series)

In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling offers up equal parts danger and delight--and any number of dragons, house-elves, and death-defying challenges. Now 14, her orphan hero has only two more weeks with his Muggle relatives before returning to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Yet one night a vision harrowing enough to make his lightning-bolt-shaped scar burn has Harry on edge and contacting his godfather-in-hiding, Sirius Black. Happily, the prospect of attending the season's premier sporting event, the Quidditch World Cup, is enough to make Harry momentarily forget that Lord Voldemort and his sinister familiars--the Death Eaters--are out for murder.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5 of the series)

As his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry approaches, 15-year-old Harry Potter is in full-blown adolescence, complete with regular outbursts of rage, a nearly debilitating crush, and the blooming of a powerful sense of rebellion. It's been yet another infuriating and boring summer with the despicable Dursleys, this time with minimal contact from our hero's non-Muggle friends from school. Harry is feeling especially edgy at the lack of news from the magic world, wondering when the freshly revived evil Lord Voldemort will strike. Returning to Hogwarts will be a relief... or will it?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6 of the series)

Opening just a few weeks after the previous book left off, the penultimate entry in the series is, as the author foretold, the darkest and most unsettling yet. The deeds of Voldemort's Death Eaters are spreading even to the Muggle world, which is enshrouded in a mist caused by Dementors draining hope and happiness. Harry, turning 16, leaves for Hogwarts with the promise of private lessons with Dumbledore. No longer a fearful boy living under the stairs, he is clearly a leader and increasingly isolated as rumors spread that he is the Chosen One, the only individual capable of defeating Voldemort. Two attempts on students' lives, Harry's conviction that Draco Malfoy has become a Death Eater, and Snape's usual slimy behavior add to the increasing tension. Yet through it all, Harry and his friends are typical teens, sharing homework and messy rooms, rushing to classes and sports practices, and flirting. Ron and Hermione realize their attraction, as do Harry and Ginny.

Harry Potter Hardcover Boxed Set (Books 1-5) Harry Potter Hardcover Boxed Set (Books 1-5)

Five years of magic, adventure, and mystery at Hogwarts -- now available in a complete hardcover box set. Includes books 1-5 of the worldwide bestselling series: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The Harry Potter Movies

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Movie
(Widescreen Edition)

Here's an event movie that holds up to being an event. This filmed version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, adapted from the wildly popular book by J.K. Rowling, stunningly brings to life Harry Potter's world of Hogwarts, the school for young witches and wizards. The greatest strength of the film comes from its faithfulness to the novel, and this new cinematic world is filled with all the details of Rowling's imagination, thanks to exuberant sets, elaborate costumes, clever makeup and visual effects, and a crème de la crème cast, including Maggie Smith, Richard Harris, Alan Rickman, and more. Especially fine is the interplay between Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his schoolmates Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson), as well as his protector, the looming Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane).

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets
(Widescreen Edition)

First sequels are the true test of an enduring movie franchise, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets passes with flying colors. Expanding upon the lavish sets, special effects, and grand adventure of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Harry's second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry involves a darker, more malevolent tale (parents with younger children beware), beginning with the petrified bodies of several Hogwarts students and magical clues leading Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to a 50-year-old mystery in the monster-laden Chamber of Secrets. House elves, squealing mandrakes, giant spiders, and venomous serpents populate this loyal adaptation.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(Widescreen Edition)

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry, Ron and Hermione, now teenagers, return for their third year at Hogwarts, where they are forced to face escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, who poses a great threat to Harry. Harry and his friends spend their third year learning how to handle a half-horse half-eagle Hippogriff, repel shape-shifting Boggarts and master the art of Divination. They also visit the wizarding village of Hogsmeade and the Shrieking Shack, which is considered the most haunted building in Britain. In addition to these new experiences, Harry must overcome the threats of the soul-sucking Dementors, outsmart a dangerous werewolf and finally deal with the truth about Sirius Black and his relationship to Harry and his parents. With his best friends, Harry masters advanced magic, crosses the barriers of time and changes the course of more than one life. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and based on J.K. Rowling 's third book, this wondrous spellbinder soars with laughs, and the kind of breathless surprise only found in a Harry Potter adventure.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
(Widescreen Two-Disc Deluxe Edition)

When Harry Potter's name emerges from the Goblet of Fire, he becomes a competitor in a grueling battle for glory among three wizarding schools - the Triwizard Tournament. But since Harry never submitted his name for the Tournament, who did? Now Harry must confront a deadly dragon, fierce water demons and an enchanted maze only to find himself in the cruel grasp of He Who Must Not Be Named. In this fourth film adaptation of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, everything changes as Harry, Ron and Hermione leave childhood forever and take on challenges greater than anything they could have imagined.

You can find more Harry Potter stuff including large print books, audio books, boxed sets, collector's editions and foreign language editions, video games and computer games at Amazon.com's Harry Potter Store.

eBay also has tons of Harry Potter stuff for sale all the time.

Why fight the crowds in the shopping centers and pay mall prices for gifts this year? Do your holiday and birthday gift shopping online and save time, money and frustration. You can find more brand-name toys for girls and boys from the following fine companies. Click on a link below for great holiday and birthday gift ideas or visit Amazon's Toys Home Page.

GI Joe
GI Joe
SpongeBob SquarePants
Sponge Bob

Hot Wheels
Hot Wheels

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