B. Author: J.K. Rowling
C. Pulisher: Scholastic Press
D. Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
E. Reading Level: Grades 3+
Harry Potter is a twelve year old boy attending school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is an orphan due to the unfortunate death of his parents by Lord Voldemort when he was just a baby; the result of the event left Harry with a scar on his forehead in the shape of a lightening bolt. He has a wild mop of brown hair and glasses. In the wizarding world, Harry is a bit of a celebrity because he is the boy who lived and forced Voldemort from power all because his killing curse backfired onto himself, though Lord Voldemort didn't exactly die.
Professor Quirrel is the unfortunate professor that was overtaken by Lord Voldemort. He wore a turban on his head to cover the face of Voldemort and was always very nervous and twitchy. Everyone thought his days out in the field working against the dark arts made him go a little crazy. He is the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts, but that clearly didn't help him against the dark lord's power. Most of the book, Harry didn't even suspect professor Quirrel but rather Snape instead.
Draco Malfoy is Harry Potter's rival and enemy from Slytherin. He is pasty and pale with almost white blond hair. Draco is constantly looking for a reason to pick on or both Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
G. Summary: Harry Potter is ten going on eleven living with the Dursleys: his aunt, uncle, and cousin. He has a scar in the shape of a lightening bolt on his forehead, an out of control mop of brown hair, and glasses. All of his life they have treated horribly and like an outcast. Harry's room was the closet under the stairs with spiders, and he wore his fat cousin Dudley's hand-me-down clothes that were far too big. They constantly belittled Harry and said nasty things about his parents. A few days before his eleventh birthday, owls started to hangout around the Dursley's and letters began to arrive for him. Uncle Vernon didn't want Harry to read the letters so he did everything possible to keep them away from them; he nailed the mail slot shut, took his family to a hotel, they even went so far as rowing out into the middle of the sea and hiding out in a lighthouse surrounded by the violent ocean. A half giant, half man named Hagrid came to visit them and hand deliver Harry's letter, which happened to be his eleventh birthday. Hagrid told Harry all about how he was a special boy, that he was a wizard. Hagrid also reveals to Harry the truth about his parents death, that they were killed by Lord Voldemort, an evil wizard from the past. The Dursleys protested, Hagrid gave Dudley a tail, and Hagrid and Harry left together to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. On the way to Hogwarts, Hagrid and Harry stop at Diagon Alley, the wizarding world's shopping strip, to purchase everything Harry needs for the upcoming school year: robes, a wand, an owl, books, etc. Hagrid explains to Harry why everyone around him seems to know his name, because he's the boy who lived, the boy who beat Lord Voldemort. At Hogwarts, Harry finally found a place where he felt like he belonged, home. When the students first arrive, they are assorted into four houses where they live: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. His best friends are Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger; Ron is a tall, skinny, red haired, and freckled kid in a large family, and Hermione Granger is a brainy, school loving, skinny, brown haired, bossy kind of girl. Harry finds out how great he is at seeker and joins the Gryffindor Quidditch team; the premier sport of the wizarding world that involves flying on brooms, a golden snitch that flies, hurtling bludgers, and three goals on each side to score in. A natural rivalry at the school is between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and Harry's rival is Draco Malfoy, a proud Slytherin. Harry and his potions teacher, Professor Snape, immediately find that they do not like one another, and Harry become suspicious of his loyalty to the good side of the wizarding world. Following Snape, Harry, Ron, and Hermione find a room with a large three-headed dog protecting a trap door. Curiousity and the need to save the day led the three to go on the adventure down the trap door by lulling the three-headed dog to sleep; through devil's snare with sunlight; flying through a mass of swarming, flying keys to find the one and only key to open the door that stood in their way; and an intense game of real wizard's chess, where the pieces move and actually fight one another. Injured from the game of chess Ron and Hermione stay behind while Harry goes to face evil. He finds Professor Quirrel a room with the Mirror of Erised, and Harry soon realizes that Lord Voldemort is part of Professor Quirrel. The professor removes the turban on his head to reveal Lord Voldemort's face. The two are trying to get their hands on the Sorcerer's Stone to restore Lord Voldemort's health. Only a person who would use the stone for good and not evil would be able to receive the stone, and soon Harry realized it is in his pocket. Harry and Professor Quirrel struggle and fight for the stone, but as soon as Harry touches Professor Quirrel's skin he begins to burn in agony; because Lord Voldemort is part of him, and Harry's mother sacrificed herself to save her son, Harry is protected by the spell cast by his mother's love, something Lord Voldemort has no defenses against. Waking up in the hospital wing of the school, Harry is greeted like a hero for foiling Lord Voldemort's plan to return and everything is explained to him by Dumbledore, Hogwart's Headmaster and Harry's role model.
H. Response: I absolutely love the Harry Potter book collection. I have them all, and I have read them all. I often find myself rereading the series over and over again. I can't wait to be able to share this amazing series and world with my children and my future students! Trying to fathom how J.K. Rowling created this fantasy just blows my mind. I want to be a children's literature author some day, and I can only dream of having the imagination and natural writing skills that she has. When you read the Harry Potter series, you are completely submerged in a different world. She weaves in the perfect amount of real world things to make the reader wish that much more that Hogwarts could be a real place. I still read the books and secretly hope and wish that maybe J.K. Rowling got it wrong, maybe the school doesn't start until after high school, or maybe after college. Basically, I want to live in her make-believe world. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, along with the other books in the series, has many opportunities for teaching connections and lesson plans. There are many themes that run throughout this novel that would be very appropriate for classroom application.
I. Teaching Ideas: Some of the themes that run through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone are good and evil, love, friendship, bullying, bravery, fear and success, and decision making. The Teacher's Resource File on J.K. Rowling has eight website links to biographical information, ten criticism links, and ten lesson plan ideas for varying Harry Potter books in the series. One lesson plan link has coloring pages/worksheets for the students to incorporate their lives into the Harry Potter world. The worksheets include mazes, both simple and more complex, designing a new crest for Gryffindor, a remembral ball to write everything in about the book that you don't want to forget, and a Bernie Bott's Beans container that allows the students to create their own flavors. At TeAchnology's website is a great resource with twenty-one lesson plan ideas for the Harry Potter series. Lesson plan ideas include a day in the life of Harry Potter, creating a Hogwarts floor map, creative writing exercises, two entire unit lesson plans on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, creating Harry Potter character posters, learning settings with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, make a Harry Potter board game, and the list goes on. With these amount of resources from only two online teacher resource pages gives a pretty good impression about the actual number of classroom application ideas that are available out there. The Web English Teacher website a lesson plan suggestion for every book in the series, discussion topics for each book, an idea for a Harry Potter game show, crafting a Harry Potter Haiku, Harry Potter math stories, and also multiple great resources for each book in the series. With how much children and adults both already love Harry Potter, and that includes me, why would you not use that interest that is present? If you can apply classroom skills and objectives needing to be covered according to the NC Standard Curriculum, or any other state curriculum for that matter, to Harry Potter then the outcome and learning experience is most likely going to be positive. I don't know many children that wouldn't be ecstatic to create a Harry Potter board game or movie posters. If reading the novel together in class, the students could pick their favorite character and keep a first person journal throughout the reading of the novel. The students can decorate the journal cover to show personality about their character, and pretend that they are the character with every journal entry. The possibilities are really almost endless for the classroom connections with Harry Potter novels that to not use them seems like a crime to fun and interactive education.
J. The Mirror of Erised - The Mirror Erised is hidden in the castle away from people. The mirror has the ability to allow whomever looks in it the pleasure of seeing what their heart most desires. For Harry, the Mirror of Erised shows him his dead mother and father because what Harry wants the most is to belong to a loving family instead of the cruel and often thoughtless family of the Dursleys. Dumbledore comes to Harry's side in an attempt to comfort him because Harry had become slightly obsessed with the image in the mirror. Harry spent more time than he should have longingly looking into the mirror of what could be. He needed Dumbledore to bring him back to reality, even if that is a sad reality. Voldemort tries to use the mirror to get the Sorcerer's Stone and cannot understand why the Mirror of Erised is not showing/giving him what he wants. The Mirror Erised is an object that has the potential to be dangerous; its purpose is to show the looker what their heart most desires, but often the onlookers find it hard to look away. The mirror causes them to wish and will the conveyed image to be real; Maybe the onlooker is looking at something in their past, something that never happened, or something that they wish might not have happened. Whatever you see in the mirror is a false image though, almost a false premise of hope because what is in the mirror normally cannot come true. If I was to look into the Mirror of Erised, I think it would show me a childhood where I got to stay put in Wilmington, NC and not have to move around. When I was growing up that is all I wanted, even though now I realize the amount moving enabled me to grow as a person. I don't think that I would be who I am today if I hadn't moved around so much growing up.