Book 1: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
The Harry Potter series is so well-publicized that it doesn't need to be included on a book list, and yet it's so well-publicized that any book list seems empty without it. This is a rare series that holds genuine appeal for readers of all ages. The first three books are recommended for readers in third grade and up; books 4 - 7 are better suited for grades five and up.
The author is masterful at plot twists and connecting seemingly disparate events, and the imaginative elements of her invented world are full of delightful surprises. I also appreciate her willingness to show that no magic can remove all pain or injustice; Harry cannot bring back his parents, or make the Dursleys treat him kindly, or convince Professor McGonagall to let him go to Hogsmeade without a guardian's consent.
As anyone who has read the books aloud has undoubtedly noticed, the writing is more awkward than it needs to be. It is also regrettable that the depth and intricacy invested in the plot does not consistently extend to character development, particularly with "good" characters (for me, Ginny Weasley is the most disappointing example of this in the series).
Those who would avoid this series because they dislike joining mainstream mania are missing out on a marvelously creative series, an impressive fictional world, and several issues to spark interesting debates.
There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions Coming Soon**
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