The Magic That Never Dies

At what age is it no longer acceptable to believe in magic?

Because I am 17 years old, and I choose to continue living in a world where it rains pixie dust every now and then. You see, I decided a long time ago that a world without magic is one that I’m not willing to live in. Not after seven years of going to Hogwarts.

As someone who has grown up with stories, and an acute awareness of their power over our lives, I understand the true value of children’s literature. And it is safe to say that it goes far beyond talking trees and dancing teacups.

Growing up, I built a fort with the books I read. They protected me from what I feared most: the ordinary. In my fort, I looked at perfectly mundane things and I saw something magical. And this protective fortress went with me wherever I would go, keeping that mysteriously hopeful gleam in my eyes, which I call optimism and most others call naivety. I’m luckier than most people, you see. That gleam hasn’t died just yet, and every time I buy a new book I add it to the walls of the fort, building them up higher and higher.
The best part? These walls don’t block any of the light, they let it flow right through the tiny spaces between two words on a page. Because fiction isn’t a way of escaping your life, it’s a way of adding beauty to it les. It’s a protection from boredom and monotony. It’s a way of seeing things more clearly. And for those of us who are lucky enough, that starts at a fairly young age.

Children’s literature takes many forms: fairytales that I stilllove, despite the protests of the feminist inside me, classics like Little Women, stories that makes me feel like I’m getting a warm hug every time I read them, and of course, the Harry Potter series, which has single-handedly changed the lives of millions of people.

Although it seems silly to talk about a series that everybody is already in love with, I simply cannot write about Children’s literature without paying tribute to Harry Potter. I have read stories about how it has helped people all over the world cope with the loss of loved ones, how it stopped people from self-harm, how it gave people hope. But it impacted me in the simplest way of all. I always loved reading, but it was with Harry Potter that the hobby transformed into a passion. It was Dumbledore who taught me that “words are, in [his] not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it,” a lesson that has stuck with me more strongly than any other. It was Hermione Granger who taught me, for the first time, that women don’t have to be ‘gentle,’ they can be fierce. That, and the art of insulting “foul, loathsome, evil little cockroaches” like Draco Malfoy.

But the true beauty of children’s literature lies not in the fact that it makes every day more colorful, or that it literally changes lives. The true beauty lies in the fact that these stories stay with us forever. Although the name suggests otherwise, children’s literature is not just for children. It’s for teenagers that need moral guidance in difficult times, for 30-year-olds tired of ‘adulting,’ for 90-year-olds sitting in their rocking chairs, trying to hold on to a different time. It’s not just for children, but it is a slice of our childhood that we carry with us for the rest of our lives. A slice of our childhood that stays alive no matter how old we get. And for that, I am eternally grateful to J.K. Rowling, Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, and all the other authors who blessed us with the worlds and the people we all grew up with.

Given all that I have been preaching in this article, perhaps the only appropriate way to end would be with some words of advice from Roald Dahl, words that have been ingrained in us through all the books we read as children, in some way or the other—

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Focusing on Literature and Lifestyle of the Urban Youth of the Country, LitGleam is a monthly magazine, an intrinsic part of BlueRose Publishers.

Within its pages, our readers find provocative essays on literature and lifestyle, guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversations among fellow professionals.