One day, I boarded the school bus, anxious about the day ahead and about having to sit next to a girl I barely knew. She was fully invested in a book, and any other day, I’d have been to shy to speak to her, especially if it meant interrupting. But, by some kind of magic, I got up the courage to ask, “What are you reading?” She smiled and held the cover up for me to see as she exclaimed, “Harry Potter!” Before I knew it, I had a copy of my own and was instantly swept into a world full of magic and mystery, of battles between good and evil, of words of comfort and wisdom, and, perhaps most importantly, a world full of kids just like me. Kids who often felt lost, angry, confused, weak, nerdy, and outcasted, but who also felt an overwhelming sense of wonder and motivation, who had a strong desire to learn and to grow, to believe in magic and to believe in themselves.
And I continued to escape to this world for the next decade, with each new book. As the characters grew and worked through their own struggles and successes, so did I. As they gained courage and confidence, wisdom and strength, so did I. As they began to believe in magic and in others and in themselves, so did I.
I can’t count the number of books that have changed my life in some way, but I can count the number of books that have changed my life in the most magical way: seven.
I can’t imagine a childhood without the wizarding world of Harry Potter, and I feel so very lucky to have hopped aboard the Hogwarts Express along with Ron, Hermione, and Harry – who were all at that painfully tender age just like me – and stayed with them for the ride of a lifetime. And I feel even luckier that I get to do it again, and again, and again.