For 20 years, Harry Potter has indulged the imaginations of children millions of times over, and with the recent announcement of two new books being released later this year, the debate of whether future generations should be exposed to witches, wizards and wands will no doubt reignite.
As much as reciting the spells, waiting for an acceptance letter from Hogwarts or imagining what Diagon Alley looks like, there is more to the Wizarding World than meets the eye.
Here are five important lessons children can learn from the Harry Potter franchise.
1. Friendship. Throughout the series, the strength of the friendship between the characters is what holds everything together. This is especially important for children to witness that having a large group of friends isn’t necessarily better than having a couple of strong friendships with people you know will always have your back.
2. The importance of reading. Hermione’s love of reading and knowledge was one of the things that got the trio of protagonists through sticky situations. If Hermione, a strong, intelligent female, can love to learn, and read, hopefully it’ll inspire a new generation of children to be like her.
3. Bravery. The books exemplify how being brave isn’t just the people who fight in battles, but are too the ones who stand up for what they believe in, even when it’s difficult.
4. To always stay true to yourself. The characters can teach children that no matter who you are, what, or whom you love, you shouldn’t change for anyone. This is particularly important now more than ever as children become adolescents and feel an enormous amount of pressure to “fit in”. Sometimes the people who aren’t like the rest are the most interesting.
5. Never be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help can be one of the hardest things to do at any age, but if children can see that Harry would ask for help when he needed it they can see that it’s nothing to be afraid or embarrassed about.