Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone
Written by: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has never been the star of a Quidditch team, scoring points while riding a broom far above the ground. He knows no spells, has never helped to hatch a dragon, and has never worn a cloak of invisibility.
All he knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley – a great big swollen spoiled bully. Harry’s room is a tiny closet at the foot of the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in eleven years.
But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to an incredible place that Harry – and anyone who reads about him – will find unforgettable. For it’s there that he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic in everything from classes to meals, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him…if Harry can survive the encounter.

The summary is from the jacket flap provided by Scholastic Press.

I have to say this is my favorite series of all time. I started reading this with my students when it first came out and it sparked some great contests for how much we could each read at night! I love the way Rowling tells about a whole other world, right in the midst of our own, and it is woven into the story so well that I felt like I could find it if I could just learn the right spell. Her characters and the magical world are enthralling and I can see why it captured the hearts of people of all ages all over the world. I hope you enjoy it too!

Discussion/Project Ideas:
1. I hesitate to get controversial from the beginning, but this book had a very high rate of people trying to ban it because of witchcraft.  If you have opinions about this topic, the banning of books in general, or public accessibility to books, write about it.  Give evidence wherever you can.  The most important part about this assignment is thinking it through to the best of your ability.  It is too easy (and too common in society) for people to take a stand about an issue without really “digging deep” into ALL the thoughts they have about a topic, so once you have done that, I challenge you to go a step further and see (and write about) how your thoughts and opinions hold up when they intermingle with other points of view and how the issue affects everyone, not just you.

2.  The sorcerer’s stone is a beautiful gem, and although it was fictional, many gems around the world are equally fascinating – although, to my knowledge, none of them are truly magical.  A rare gem that was acquired by The Smithsonian recently is gorgeous and made me wish it did indeed have some type of magical quality.  Jeremejevite (the gem) is practically begging someone to write a fantasy story about how it came to be part of the planet and the purpose it could serve with the proper insider knowledge!  Write that story!

3.  Choose two characters from the story and make a list of each of their character traits.  Add at least six new traits for each character that could be possible traits and would not conflict with what you already know about them.  For example, you couldn’t have Harry being insensitive towards family relationships because he is so in tune with what he lost.

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