If you thought your child's obsession with reading Harry Potter was magical simply because it got your child reading, there's actually more to it than that. It seems that kids who read Harry Potter aren't just reading one of the best book series of all times, but by reading they're also becoming better people.
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, it was found that kids who read the famous series about The Boy Who Lived, written by J.K. Rowling, displayed greater levels of empathy and were less like to have prejudices against minority groups.
The study looked at three different groups of people — fifth graders and high school students from Italy and college students from the UK. The fifth graders first took a 6 week course on Harry Potter and were divided in to two groups. After, they answered a questionnaire regarding immigrants and were given selected passages to read.
The second group was to serve only as a control group, and the first group was then asked questions about prejudices and discrimination and how it relates to themes in the book. Not surprisingly, that first group showed more tolerance towards immigrants as it related to the book. In the Potterverse there are children represented from many different countries, as well as other mystical creatures. Harry and his friends are always very welcoming and positive with everyone and those in the book who are deemed less tolerant are criticized for that behavior.
The high schoolers who were studied who related more emotionally with Harry Potter were seen to be more supportive of the LGBTQ community. As for the college students, those who related less to Harry Potter villain Voldemort were more tolerant of refugees.
The Harry Potter books not only let your children dive into the magical world of Hogwarts and wizarding and all the wonderful characters that Rowling created, but it also teaches them empathy and understanding and the value of all living beings. One of Harry's most magical qualities is that he sees everyone as equals. Whether you're a house elf or a Muggle or anyone at all, Harry was always a character that promoted acceptance and tolerance. His, and his friends disdain for the use of the term "Mudblood" which was a derogatory term for someone who was half muggle (human) and half wizard encourages children that slurs and words with negative connotations shouldn't be used.
Any parent loves to see their child so enamored by a book, and the Harry Potter series has definitely managed to captivate the minds of children all over the world over the last 20 years. But not only does the book provide a magical escape for your kids, but it's also making them better people. We can all thank J.K. Rowling for that.
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