As an advocate of self-selected literature for my students, I've ridden the Harry Potter wave for years. Sure, I knew it was losing momentum, but even so, I'm surprised to find myself up here in the dunes, totally high and dry. Seeing all those volumes of The Series of Unfortunate Events languishing on my shelf where once I could barely keep them should have tipped me off, but I must have been distracted by Percy Jackson and Maximum Ride, and so I never saw this coming.
I realized recently that most sixth graders have not read the whole Harry Potter series. Upon reflection, it's not really that surprising; the majority of them were not even born when the first book was published. With few exceptions, even the most avid and accomplished readers among my students are tepid about the series. "It just doesn't interest me that much," a student told me today.
Potter is widely believed to be a classic-- frequently mentioned in the same breath as Tolkein's trilogy of the ring and Narnia. Are my current students anomalies, then? Are they experiencing a backlash from the Potter overload of the last ten years? Or could it be that Harry Potter was really nothing more than a flash in the pan destined to fade away until it's resurrected in some remember when retrospective of the early years of this century?