School of Education News

Horning speaks with NPR’s ‘Weekend Edition Sunday’ for look at Harry Potter series turning 20

October 30, 2018

UW-Madison’s Kathleen Horning appeared on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday” program Oct. 28 for a discussion about “The Ever-Expanding Wizarding World” and the fact that it has been 20 years since readers in the United States were first introduced to the Harry Potter book series.

As part of the discussion, Horning shared how children’s literature still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity.

"What we don't see a lot of with diversity are books like Harry Potter, that are just pure fantasy," says Horning, who directs the School of Education’s Cooperative Children’s Book Center. "And, in fact, those are the kind of books that African-American children, for example, really are clamoring for."

Adds NPR: “And that's not to say that some series and books featuring diverse characters haven't done well. Some recent titles, including “Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland and “The Akata Witch” series by Nnedi Okorafor, have been breakouts, grabbing kids' attention.

The CCBC has been tracking diversity, or the lack thereof, in children's books since 1985. The CCBC documents these annual numbers in their annual best books listing, “CCBC Choices” publication. Today, the center housed within the School of Education also maintains a web page devoted to multicultural literature, including lists of recommended titles by age group.

To learn more about the “Harry Potter” book series and hear more from Horning visit this web page.

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