Web Wise: Happy Birthday, Harry!

 Harry Potter fever is back, now that J. K. Rowling's latest book,  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, is about to hit the bookstores. And the fan frenzy will stay hot during the summer since Harry’s birthday falls on July 31. Celebrate Harry’s birthday and refuel your kids’ love of reading and writing by exploring Web sites devoted to Harry and his pals.

Surf on over to the Scholastic site to learn about author J.K. Rowling’s magical books that started it all. Turn on your computer speakers and click on the pronunciation key to hear how words like Basilisk, Eeylops and Gryffindor are properly pronounced.

Older kids might start reaching for a dictionary after pouring through the Harry Potter Lexicon Web site. Click on the Harry Potter A to Z link to search for a special word in any of the Harry Potter books. Explore the background of each book, chapter summaries and differences in the British and U.S. versions.SPAN>

For kids who can’t get enough of Harry Potter trivia, Fact Monster has a whole page of quizzes on the books for early and advanced readers. Print out crosswords, take a poll and learn how to write a Harry Haiku.


Read an interview with J.K. Rowling at Stories From the Web, then click on the “Activities” link for writing prompts to inspire your children’s own storytelling based on the Harry Potter novels. There’s also an online word search that changes its patterns when you click on “New Game.”

Find more word searches, online jigsaw puzzles and games at the SurfNetKids site. You can even send a postcard to a fellow fan to celebrate Harry’s birthday or a friend’s birthday.

Speaking of birthdays, if your kids want a Harry Potter or wizards birthday party, a couple of creative moms have Web sites (  and ) with fun activities, recipes and party plans for the perfect Potter celebration.

Happy birthday, Harry!