How will you celebrate Harry Potter Book Night?

Harry Potter Book Night logo
Thursday 5 February 2015 will be the first ever Harry Potter Book Night, giving seasoned Potter fans and new readers the chance to come together to share and celebrate the well-loved children's series. Bloomsbury Children's Books is inviting schools, bookshops, libraries and community groups to hold an early evening event to mark the occasion, and has made a fabulous event kit available on the new Harry Potter Book Night website. The kit includes posters, event invitations, activities, games and quizzes to help make your Potter bash an unforgettable one. 
 
We've asked some of our staff to share their memories of the Harry Potter books below. What are your favourite memories of the books? Let us know in the comments section!

 

Koren Calder, Young Adult Project Manager
Koren Calder

I loved the first instalment of the series in 1997, and in 2004 I moved from Australia and New Zealand to Edinburgh, where I bought The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire. I would read them while sitting on the bus going to and from work at The Royal Society of Edinburgh, passing, en route, George Herriot’s school which was the inspiration for Hogwarts school and the Elephant Cafe on George IV Bridge where J.K. Rowling spent time writing these books. In 2005 I struggled to read to the end of the next book in the series, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and it wasn't until I was sitting in a dentist’s chair having major work done on my teeth that I got to see the end of this story; the film was being shown on a screen in the background as a way to distract me from the dentist’s drill. It worked, sort of!

 

Heather Collins, Schools Programme Manager
Heather Collins

When I was a teenager I worked weekends in my local independent bookshop and I worked during the release of several new Harry Potter books. I remember the boxes arriving weeks earlier and being stored in the staff toilet because it was the only place they’d fit, their big red embargo stickers warning sternly against opening them too soon. I once blew all the lights in the shop trying to hang a big phoenix in the window – perhaps it was magic that did it – and I remember battling with several massive dumpbins to display them in. We would always dress up in wizard cloaks and open the shop up earlier for the many people who queued outside to collect their pre-ordered copies. It was nice seeing children leave, their noses already firmly planted in the book. It never failed to amaze me how many people would go and buy it on the cheap in the supermarket further down the high street but then have the nerve to come and ask for a beautiful gift bag with all the other goodies that you got if you bought it in a bookshop. The answer was obviously always no! It was fun to feel part of those days, even though I wasn’t a reader of the series. I don’t remember there ever being such a fuss made over any other books. 

 

Sasha deBuyl, Reader Development Co-ordinator

I was, and very much still am, a big Harry Potter fan. I was an early adopter. I read The Philosopher’s Stone on its first print run, and I pre-ordered every book from my local bookshop (Kerr’s in Clonakilty, Ireland) thereafter. I even wrote to JK Rowling after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was released (and got a reply!). I was 11 then, but I haven’t really grown out of it. I’ve got the special edition release of The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I’ve copies of Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them. I may have even recently purchased Hogwarts jogging bottoms. In fact, I think it’s getting worse.

Out of everything, my favourite thing about the Harry Potter books is JK Rowling’s complete mastery of names. Every name in Harry Potter just works. Rowling has the skill to make a name silly, interesting, fantastical and yet still believable. For me, the care and time that Rowling took to get the elements of this new world absolutely right was always what made Harry’s world so compelling and full of life. It’s also something that has stayed with me in my reading life. Whenever I meet a new character, especially in science fiction or fantasy, they have to measure up to the incomparable yardstick that is Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, and let’s face it, that’s a tough one to beat. 

Competition: Win a box set of the books
A box set of Harry Potter books

Thanks to Bloomsbury, we've got a box set of the Harry Potter series to give away for #HarryPotterBookNight.

All you have to do to enter is answer this simple question in the comments below or email your answer to hello@scottishbooktrust.com marked 'Harry Potter Competition':

- What would make for the perfect Harry Potter Book Night?

Closing date: 17:00, Thursday 29 January 2015. Open to UK entrants only. Full terms and conditions.

You can download Bloomsbury's event kit and stay up to date with news at the Harry Potter Book Night website. We hope you have fun celebrating these wonderful books!