The boys in my latest intervention reading group are unanimous: Harry Potter is awesome!
Five weeks ago they had their doubts, but after a few read-alouds and read-alongs, they were begging to take the books home and read ahead. "I can't believe how good it is!" one guy told me. "I always thought it would be boring or bad, but it's not!"
And so in celebration of finishing the first book in the series as well as the fact that Chamber of Secrets now has a waiting list at our school library, we agreed to watch the movie together. Even though many of them had seen some or all of it before, twelve twelve-year-old boys sat mesmerized (but not silent, oh... never silent) in front of the big screen today munching on cheese crackers and discussing every detail that had been changed for the film version.
Oh, they loved the movie-- almost every part was someone's favorite part. "Those kids are just about your age," I told them, unnecessarily, because it was so obvious. Entering middle school isn't quite like starting at Hogwarts, but I could completely relate to the amount of shepherding the young wizards required in their new school, as well as the mixture of doubt and delight with which they approached their fresh independence.
And yet, this all-boy audience disappointed me just a little. They were very vocal about how much they disliked Hermione.
"She's so bossy!"
"She thinks she knows everything!"
"She's so stuck-up!"
And while it's true that in addition to that overly-eager hand-raise, Hermione does her share of sighing and eye-rolling at Ron and Harry's mishaps, I just couldn't see it their way.
"Hermione is smart and hard-working," I told them. "She's also a really good friend to Harry and Ron. I think she's awesome!"
"Well, yeah," one guy told me, "once she calms down."