Harry Potter wins another fight against evil, except this time instead of Voldemort, it's prejudice. The Journal of Applied Social Psychology
ran a study that claimed the Harry Potter
series helped improve children's tolerance
and acceptance of different minority groups. Researches asked Italian high school students if they read the Harry Potter
series, and which character they identified with the most. The students then answered questions to assess their views about gay people. The young people who read the most books in the series had more positive feelings
In a separate study, Italian fifth graders answered questions about immigrants. For the next six weeks, half of the groups of students read and discussed the Harry Potter
series, focusing on the constant theme of tolerance in the books. The other half of fifth graders read and discussed the series without focusing on tolerance. The students were tested again at the end, and the results showed that the students who focused on the theme of tolerance showed more empathy for immigrants
Literature works to help change an attitude of tolerance, but not on it's own. Researches also stated that if a child just read on his own, he might not come to such conclusions. They encouraged teachers and parents to be involved in a child's literary choices. Throughout the series, author J.K. Rowling noted there is a theme of bigotry and tolerance, and Potter always sought to be kind to and befriend those who were different from him. It's a beautiful and important lesson for all children to learn.
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