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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets’ children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids’ books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Harry and Henry: forever friends

July 15, 2011

As the last Harry Potter movie opens today, the media is filled with examinations of the impact of Harry Potter on a generation of children and adults. I know my son has grown up with the boy wizard and his friends and he continues to revisit them in books and film. (Our family actually enjoyed long road trips thanks to the audio versions.)

Our son also grew up reading Beverly Cleary's books including Henry Huggins, The Mouse and the Motorcycle and others while a younger cousin in the family has discovered Ramona (who has become her constant companion these days),

It's the end of an era for JK Rowling and for Beverly Cleary, too. Rowling says she's never stopped writing — and we all look forward to what comes next — while Cleary has indicated that she'll publish no more.

Books by both of these authors have already withstood the test of time (although Cleary's books have been read by several generations quite literally).

On the surface these books have very little in common but they share something that remains at the core of what creates a classic (and I define a "classic" as material that continues to resonate over time). That is, simply, emotional authenticity.

Both authors present characters that confront authentic problems big and small and deal with them in ways with which readers can empathize. That's likely why Harry, Henry, and their friends will continue to be discovered by readers of all ages as they share and delight in meeting them.


As my husband and I left for the theater to see the last of the Harry Potter series, it was exciting and yet felt like the end of a journey we have shared through the books, audio and movies. However, we are looking forward to sharing these timeless books with our children who are just getting old enough to enjoy them, and the books are a must before the movies!

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"Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world." —

Malala Yousafzei