By: Grace Broadbent, March 26, 2015
The “Harry Potter” series is a story of magic, but the real magic is the effects it has had on young people. If you are a member of my generation, you have either read “Harry Potter” or seen the movies. From the first book, it became a cultural phenomenon. It has become such a sensation that scholars are now teaching about the Harry Potter Effect.
What is it?
The Harry Potter Effect is the impact the series has had on the book market for young readers. After the first book was published, young readers started buying books anywhere from 20% to 75% more. The fantastic elements of the book reignited excitement of reading into young people. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the last series to cause such a phenomenon as this one did was Charles Dickens’ serial novels in the middle of the 19th century.
What comes next?
“Harry Potter” led a chain reaction to the popularity of other fantasy series for teenagers. After “Harry Potter” came “Twilight”, then “The Hunger Games”, and then most recently “Divergent”. All of these series started as books and were read by millions of young adults. If the trend continues, more series like these will appear. Now it is just a question of what will be the next?
Why does it matter?
The Harry Potter Effect is important because it can be difficult to convince kids to leave their video games and TVs for a book, but it is vital to a child’s development to read. According to The Scientific American, “reading novels as a child- implying literary engagement with life’s social, cultural and psychological complexities- can have a positive impact on personality development and social skills”. John Vivian points out that after the “Harry Potter” sensation, teenagers tried harder on college admission tests and attempted to become more worldly people. Reading overall is beneficial to children, and the fact that “Harry Potter” got children to do so is one of the many reasons why it is such a beloved series in our culture.
Vivian, John. “Ink on Paper.” The Media of Mass Communication. 9th ed. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2009. 110. Print.