|That's right - it's the original British cover. None of your fancy re-releases. Gerrof my land!|
In many ways it's an obvious choice for any blog about children's literature over the past few years. J.K. Rowling has been credited with inspiring a whole generation to turn back to books, with redefining what children's literature can be, and with breaking down the children's / adult's literature dichotomy.
They're great books - don't get me wrong - but it's not all of that I want to focus on. Instead, in the spirit of this blog feature, I want to share, just quickly, how Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone influenced me.
I'm not sure how long the books had been out when I read them. They certainly weren't the huge success they were to become. The fourth book definitely wasn't out. Possibly the third one was only just being noticed. I found a copy in the house that belonged to my little sister, and I have vague memories of being told the book was quite popular. I read it, and thought it was good, and I decided to find out more about the author.
That was my introduction to the whole world of authors and books and publication and that people sat down, struggled, and wrote these things. As media attention grew and focused more and more on Rowling, I came to discover one thing - being an author was an actual job you could do.
I promise you, it wasn't the fame or the money that made this one book turn my head. It was finding out, in and of itself, that writing was a choice and anyone could do it, if they wanted. It was off the back of this that I wrote my first ever novel (A terrible book which, I pray, never sees the light of day).
Writing one book turned into two, which turned into three, which led to buying The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and making first contact with an agent, and learning the ropes, and honing craft. Which all leads up to the here and now, of course. More learning. More honing. More writing.
So that's today's story. Books change people who read them, and if you're lucky, it changes you for the better, and in a way that will be felt for years and years to come.