For hundreds of thousands of fans across the globe, the Harry Potter series is often the first set of novels that made people fall in love with reading. Real reading.
You know, where you become enchanted by the storyline, fall in love with the characters, and feel a deep sense of sadness when the story comes to its conclusion.
And encouraging this type of reading is so essential.
So, it’s unsurprising that many children are eager to delve deep into the world of wizardry, especially if they’ve already seen the amazing movie adaptations. But make no mistake, these books are long and can often contain sensitive material.
This begs the question of what age or grade are these types of books appropriate for. Well, in this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the entire series and when your little ones should start to attempt to read them.
Some General Information To Know
Just in case you somehow have missed the worldwide phenomenon that is Harry Potter, let’s look at a few things you’ll need to know about the series.
- The debut novel starts with the main character Harry Potter being 11 years old and he progresses with age through each of the seven books until he is 17.
- With each new novel, the books become longer, a little more difficult to read, and the themes generally become darker and potentially scary for certain age groups.
- The series is written at a Lexile level of 870L. Essentially what this means is that it is recommended for those in the 8th grade or above. With this being said, though, reading levels can be specific to the individual and so it may be accessible for some younger learners who are more advanced or may still be a little difficult for those who struggle with reading.
- While on the surface these books contain a whimsical and magical theme, there are some themes that may not be appropriate for all ages. There are elements of darkness and death along with some violent scenes and some creepy creatures that may frighten certain age groups.
A Quick Age Overview
Okay, so we’ll explain each book in the series in a little more detail later on in this article. But below you’ll find a quick overview of the recommended ages for each of the different books.
- Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone – Ages 8 and above
- Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets – Ages 8 and above
- Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban – Ages 9 and above
- Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire – Ages 10 and above
- Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix – Ages 10 and above
- Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince – Ages 11 and above
- Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows – Ages 12 and above
Specific Content Warnings For Each Book In The Series
Since the books are generally aimed at the ages of 8 to 12, there shouldn’t be many issues with actually reading the books. The language used is often easily understandable and with the help of parents, it is more than accessible.
The only main reason that children of a younger age are not recommended to read these novels is simply the content within them.
Some themes are relatively mature. Below we’ll detail what you can expect in terms of content to ensure that these books are the right choice for your child.
The Sorcerer’s Stone
- Death – Harry has lost both of his parents.
- Alcohol Consumption – There is mention of alcohol consumption and drunken behavior.
- Blood – There are some somewhat graphic descriptions of blood.
- Scary Characters – These include a three-headed dog, a hooded figure, and a troll.
- Fight Scenes – Good and bad battle it out in a major fight scene.
The Chamber Of Secrets
- Scary Characters – A giant snake, a large serpent, and ghosts.
- Fight Scenes – Again there is a large battle that ensues
- Blood and Petrification – There are mentions of both these themes that may be upsetting for younger readers.
The Prisoner Of Azkaban
- Scary Characters – You’ll meet murderous flying creatures called dementors.
- Murder – We are introduced to a serial killer in this installment of the series.
- Fight Scenes – Mentions of battle and violence
The Goblet Of Fire
- Death – A minor character in the novel dies in this series of the book that may be upsetting or disturbing for younger readers
- Betrayal Of A Trusted Adult – This could be confusing for younger readers to understand.
- Increased Violence – There is torture, blood descriptions, a severed hand, and imprisonment during this installment of the series.
The Order Of The Phoenix
- Death Of A Familiar Character – There is another death in this novel but as it is a more central character it may more deeply affect younger readers.
- Distrust From Adults – Again this could be confusing for younger readers to understand.
- Violence/Battle – This book introduces vigilante groups and armies so you can expect there to be violence mentioned throughout.
- Swearing – There may be language in this novel that parents find inappropriate for those of a younger age.
The Half-Blood Prince
- Violence – There are mentions of violence throughout this novel.
- Emotional Burdens – This book approaches emotional issues in more depth than the other novels.
- Death Of A Major Character – A very beloved character dies in this book which could be quite traumatic for younger readers
The Deathly Hallows
- Emotional & Physical Battle – This is the biggest battle of the novel.
- Lots Of Bloodshed – Many characters die in the final installment of the series and this includes murder and violence, and even the death of an animal.
Overall, the Harry Potter series is a great story that really encourages younger children to find a love and passion for reading. In terms of their reading difficulty, they are fairly accessible for most children aged 8 and above.
However, it should be a specific decision based on the individual child. The major deciding factor for letting your children read these novels is essentially their maturity or ability to understand difficult or darker themes.
Some fairly young children can process these relatively easily, especially with family support for any questions that they may have. But for others, they may need to be a little older to truly understand the significance of what is happening.