LA Times: Still Wild About Harry?
Jun 24, 2005
The LA Times has a new article wondering if those who first discovered Harry years ago when they were young children, would they still be interested in the books now as teens moving into adulthood. According to the article, Scholastic remains optimistic that readers will stay with Harry as he continues to grow.
” Of course, we’ve lost some, but I don’t believe we’ve lost [a lot of] readers,” says Barbara Marcus, executive vice president of Scholastic in charge of children’s book publishing. “I believe we have expanded to parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents. And then we have the new readers. The beauty of the children’s market is that our readers come into the market and they grow with us. There are new children every year who are ready for Harry Potter.”
The article points out that JKR had planned the series so that it became darker and more complex as Harry matures, noting “the tone has evolved from light fantasy to dark suspense, with death and the fight between good and evil becoming dominant themes.”
“It’s the kind of depth and sophistication that can be appreciated by an older age group as well as a very clear and compelling plot line that draws in the younger children,” says Arthur A. Levine, the Scholastic editor who signed the series. “It’s never been a book for very young children. In the early stages we thought it would be mostly 10- to 14-year-olds. The unusual qualities of the book were that even though there’s sophisticated wordplay and humor and political satire that is appreciated by older readers, the younger readers are going for the more direct issues of character.”
One young college girl agrees, saying that while some of her fellow students might laugh at her and say the books are for younger kids, she still loves the books. “Harry and his friends are going through things that kids right now in real life are experiencing- just with his friends sticking with him and sometime his friends don’t agree with him,” Frye says. “Half of it is, like, real fake, but his character, to me, is very real.”