Happy Birthday, Harry: How We Met the Boy Wizard

To celebrate Harry Potter’s and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays, we look back on how we first discovered the books.


Harry Potter is filled with magical moments, both inside and outside the books. Perhaps one of the most magical moments for most Harry Potter readers is their personal story of how they first discovered Harry Potter and how the books changed their lives.

To celebrate Harry Potter’s and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays, Bookstacked writers wrote up how they were first introduced to the books and how they changed their lives. Was your experience similar?

“It gave me hope that impossible things can happen…”

My first Potter experience was when I was three – four years old. My mum thought I was too young to watch the newly released ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ movie but Dad let me watch it while Mum was away at a conference. When I was about six my parents read the first book to me and I remember going to school with a shawl tied around my neck like a cape and making my friends re-enact scenes from the movie with me. When I was eight I started reading the books for myself because I was only allowed to see the corresponding movie if I’d read the book first. If I wasn’t obsessed before, I was now.

What I loved about J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world was the fact that magic lay just beneath the surface of our ordinary world. As a kid, it gave me hope that impossible things can happen, but maybe we just don’t see it. As I’ve grown up, I’ve appreciated other aspects of the story. I can’t imagine my life without Harry Potter featuring in it.

– Alice Clapperton

“It gave me the hope that I needed.”

Like most people, I grew up reading and enjoying the Harry Potter books. I still remember the day I picked up Philosopher’s Stone and how I was feeling. My grandfather had passed away a few weeks before and it was a tough time in my childhood for me, but when I started reading Harry Potter, it gave me the hope that I needed.

As an adult, I still get that same passion that I felt when I first discovered the wizarding world. I feel less alone knowing there are other people who believe in so much more, a world where the impossible could come true. I wouldn’t have been able to get through a lot in my life without my love for Harry Potter.

– Kristy Mauna

“I fell in love with the world that J.K. Rowling created.”

I discovered Harry Potter when I was nine — when a kid brought the first film to class. When the school day was over I went over to the library and checked out the first book and the audiobook. My life changed after then. I was hooked on the books, reading the first four books as fast as I could. I fell in love with the world that J.K. Rowling created. It was amazing to me how I could see a world in my head as I was reading/hearing the audiobooks. I was so in love with the books that my mom threatened to take away my library card because I kept checking the books over and over again.

Whenever I hear news about Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts or anything Harry Potter related, I get the same excitement as I did when I was a kid. I can read the books and watch the movies and still feel the same way I did when I read/saw them for the first time. The books will always be special to me because they not only opened a door into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World but into reading in general. There’s a kind of magic in the books that no matter how many times you read the books it’s as J.K. Rowling said, “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

– Addie

“Harry Potter opened a door to not only the Wizarding World but also a world of reading.”

I first became aware of Harry Potter when visiting my school library. The library was decorated for the Scholastic Book Fair, and the posters of Harry Potter lined the walls. Goblet of Fire had just been released and my classmates were filled with excitement over the book. I rolled my eyes. Why was everyone so excited about a book? Reading was boring, after all. Determined to prove them wrong, I decided to check out this Harry Potter for myself. I picked up Sorcerer’s Stone and brought it to the front desk. The librarian looked at me and said, “Now Saul, this is a big book. I need to make sure you can read it, I do this to all the third-graders.” She opened up to a random page and pointed to a paragraph for me to read aloud. “This should be easy,” I thought. I was doing well until I reached a word I had never seen before… Hermione. Thankfully, she overlooked my poor attempts to pronounce the name and let me check out the book.

Like everyone else, I was captivated by the world and — most of all — the characters. Harry Potter opened a door to not only the Wizarding World but also a world of reading. I discovered Roald Dahl that same year and I often credit Dahl and Rowling for my love of reading. It’s safe to say that this website wouldn’t exist without Harry Potter. The books created beautiful memories and forged friendships that I value so much.

– Saul Marquez

How did you first discover Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments!

This article was brought to you by members of the Bookstacked Team.

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