The first Harry Potter movie came out in November, barely two months after 9/11, and we took the whole fourth grade to see it. Afterwards, I wrote the following letter to the New York Times (which you can also read at the newspaper’s site here):
To the Editor:
Re ”Harry’s Big Weekend” (editorial, Nov. 20):
No doubt the Harry Potter movie would have broken box office records even before the World Trade Center tragedy. J. K. Rowling’s books were already very special to children, which made the movie’s release an additional form of healing for our city’s children, who are still coping with the events of Sept. 11.
My fourth-grade students had a first day of school they will never forget; they have had field trips canceled and more than the usual evacuation drills; and they have had to contend with the same grief and fears that adults are coping with.
For these children, the Harry Potter movie is better than anything a trauma specialist could provide — not escapist entertainment, but the satisfaction of knowing that good can trump evil.
New York, Nov. 20, 2001
The writer is a teacher at the Dalton School.