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THE magic of ``Harry Potter'' books isn't rubbing off on everyone, especially parents in Simi Valley and Moorpark.

Harry Potter, an 11-year-old wizard who attends the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, is the protagonist of a wildly popular series of children's books.

But the books have sparked controversy. Some parents locally and in Georgia and New York want the books removed from classrooms, claiming the books have a sinister undertone because they deal with witchcraft.

Certainly, parents have a right to question material used in public school classrooms. And they have a right to object to certain material they deem offensive.

But when parents overreact to something as innocuous as the ``Harry Potter'' series, written by J.K. Rowling, they lose credibility.

The magic of the ``Harry Potter'' series is that it entices children to read, leaves them begging for more and invites them into a world of fantasy and imagination that is healthy and fun.

Fans, including small children, adults and parents, love what all fans of good books love - the writing, the characters, the plots, the detail and adventure.

The series' three books now hold the top three places on The New York Times' best-sellers list and have been translated into more than two dozen languages.

Magic and sorcery are classic combinations throughout children's literature. What child wasn't bedazzled by ``Beauty and the Beast'' or ``The Sword in the Stone?'' And reading and loving ``The Wizard of Oz'' didn't lead to a generation of young farm girls running away from home.

The magic potions conjured up in these tales of fancy enrich children immeasurably by enticing them to read, by sparking their imaginations and drawing them into a world of make-believe.

Is there real evil in the world? How else to explain the slaughter of high school kids in Colorado or the attempt to kill preschoolers at a Jewish day-care center in Granada Hills, or dragging a black man to his death in Jasper, Texas.

But we shouldn't confuse real evil with the fiction created by a British author.

Or underestimate the ability of children to distinguish right from wrong, or fiction and fantasy from real-life.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Oct 27, 1999

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