Thursday, February 7, 2013

Harry Potter Alliance

If there's one thing that really gets a LibrariYAn's emotions flowing, it's when kids and teens take their love of literature to the next level and are inspired by the books they read to give of themselves in service to others.  On Friday of last week, three amazingly awesome students from our upper school (two of whom I knew from their frequent library visits in middle school) paid a surprise visit to the middle school library.  They came wearing Harry Potter robes and bearing baskets filled with chocolate  frogs.  What, I wondered, was behind this wonderful surprise?

(l-r) Ally, Me, Anii and Josh!

The Harry Potter Alliance!

They're like a real, live Dumbledore's Army, but instead of strengthening their magic skills so that they can take on Voldemort and his Death-Eaters, they share their love of reading and other talents and gifts with others.  As noted on their "About" page, "The Harry Potter Alliance fights the Dark Arts in the real world by using parallels from Harry Potter.  We work for human rights, equality, and a better world just as Harry and his friends did throughout the books." (Pause from typing while I wipe tears from eyes.) They're kind of like Nerdfighters and their efforts to "rid the world of suck," except they came first (no disrespect).  And they wear costumes.  And bring you chocolate frogs.  With quotes attached that inspire you and make you cry...again.

Unless you have eagle eyes, you probably can't read the quote, so I'll re-type it here:

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change.  We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better. - JK Rowling
They were on campus to tell the 8th graders all about their work with HPA, but I was so glad that they popped into the library for a few minutes to share their work with me.  They gave me a quick rundown of some activities they'd been doing - collecting donations for our sister school in Haiti, teaching kids to read (weep!), knitting socks (Dobby! Sob!) - and then they were off to spread the good word.  It made my day that they included a brief stop in the library in their visit.  And it was so wonderful to catch up with some of my favorite readers.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since they left.

Reading can open new worlds and new possibilities to the reader.  It can also inspire a person to be better and to do better.  This is why I do the work that I do.

One last cry, and I'm off!  LibrariYAn out.

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