You love Harry, and now you’re ready to share him with your kids. Betsy Bird, collection-development manager at the Evanston Public Library, in Illinois, has smart ideas for diving in with your witches and wizards.

By Marisa LaScala
Evgeny Atamanenko/Shutterstock

Choose An Edition That's Right For You

Bird recently started off her 6-year-old daughter with the Jim Kay Illustrated Edition, which breaks up the chapters with beautifully detailed pictures.

Don't Skip the Scary Parts

You might not be able to predict what will be unnerving to your children—it could be Lord Voldemort, or the Dursleys might be deeply upsetting. It’s better to help your kids figure out how to cope with the suspenseful parts.

Try Not To Get Hung Up On The Voices

There are lots of characters in the series, and you can exhaust yourself coming up with a different speaking style for each one. Just do the major characters. Or, starting when he’s around age 8, your kid can assume some read-aloud duties.

Take Breaks!

Bird alternates Potter chapters with different books every other night and plans to go on hiatus before the fourth book, in which the series takes a much darker turn.

Let Them Have Fun With It

Head to your Gringotts vault, because your little Potterheads are going to want these enchanted items. 

  1. The 20th Anniversary Editions of all seven books were designed by The Invention of Hugo Cabret artist Brian Selznick. Laid side by side, the covers form one connected image detailing Harry’s heroic journey. Ages 8+, $100 for the collectible boxed set; scholastic.com.
  2. Look into the Mirror of Erised and see Lego’s Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall, which, at 878 pieces—including ten mini figures—re-creates the castle and the Room of Requirement. Ages 9+, $100; shop.lego.com.
  3. Accio giggles! Wizard Training Wands, from Jakks Pacific, come with 11 spells to learn, and the wand recognizes when the movements are done correctly. Ages 8+, $25; walmart.com.

Continue Reading With These 4 Post-Potter Picks

Use your kid’s chosen house to guide you to the best read. Contributing editor Colby Sharp recommends these books. 

  1. Gryffindor: Examine bravery in The Gauntlet, by Karuna Riazi, about friends who battle forces of evil through a magical board game. Ages 8+, $17.
  2. Slytherin: Monsters invade in The Notebook of Doom, by Troy Cummings, a series of chapter books with pictures for solo readers. Ages 6+, $5 each.
  3. Hufflepuff: In We Are Growing!, by Laurie Keller, blades of grass discover what makes them each unique, perfect for empathetic kids. Ages 6+, $10.
  4. Ravenclaw: Meanwhile, a brainy, choose-your-own-adventure graphic novel by Jason Shiga, claims to have 3,856 routes to try. Ages 8+, $17.

This article originally appeared in Parents Magazine as 'Happy 20th Anniversary, Harry Potter!'

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