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Harry Potter Reviews,
Awards and Distinctions

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Go back to the Harry Potter main page.

The books are listed below in reverse chronological order, with the most recently published book first. Click on the book jacket above to go directly to the CCBC review and other information for each title. For each book, we have provided the CCBC review, citations for other professional reviews (starred reviews are indicated by an *), and a list of major awards and/or best-of-the year distinctions it received. Where possible, we have included links to the original review or list.

Wisconsin residents: many of the reviews cited below are available full-text in Badgerlink. (Professional reviews from journals such as Booklist and School Library Journal are also available from several online booksellers.)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2007. (ISBN 0-545-01022-5)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Reviewed by CCBC Librarian Megan Schliesman: J.K. Rowling brings her seven-part, sweeping story to its dramatic conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a tense and spellbinding narrative that moves at breakneck speed, despite its bulk, toward the inevitable final confrontation between now-seventeen-year-old Harry and the evil wizard Voldemort. This time around Rowling deviates from the pattern that is so familiar in the others—there is no return to Hogwart’s for Harry, Ron, and Hermione at the start of the school year. Voldemort and the Death Eaters now control the Ministry of Magic and the school. And so while the dwindling members of the Order of the Phoenix battle on like the resistance fighters they are, and while thousands of innocents face persecution and death, the three friends are committed to completing the task Dumbeldore set for Harry—hunting down and destroying the Horcruxes that harbor pieces of Voldemort’s splintered soul. Rowling does follow the cycle of the seasons that has been so much a part of the passage of time in the previous stories, offering this comforting familiairty as she chronicles the distress in the world she’s created and the three friends’ dangerous, uncertain journey. And she continues to weave her spell of magic—blending an imaginative and inventive plot, teasing humor, and complex, fascinating characters into an irresistible story. As Rowling's narrative moves through fall and winter into spring, she is preparing both Harry and readers for its conclusion, which comes in a dazzling, ferocious battle involving all those they have come to either love or despise. At the center of it all is the young wizard who is willing do whatever it takes to save all that he holds in his heart. A little more explanation of one or two elements essential to understanding the final outcome may have been in order, but ultimately it’s all there to be discovered and understood. Rowling has done both her story and her readers justice as she brings her smart and incredibly satisfying tale to an end.

Professional Reviews for Deathly Hallows

Booklist (online July 23, 2007)
Horn Book Magazine (will appear in print in the September/October 2007 issue)
New York Times (July 19, 2007)
School Library Journal (will appear in the September 2007 issue)
Publishers Weekly (July 21, 2007)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2005. 672 pages (ISBN 0-4397-8454-9)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Reviewed by CCBC Librarian Megan Schliesman: The much anticipated Book VI in the Harry Potter saga proves to have been well worth the wait as J. K. Rowling continues the arc of her enthralling story. With random violence and murders reported regularly in The Daily Prophet, things have changed in the wizarding world since the Dark Lord, Voldemort, returned to power. But Rowling’s plot echoes changes in the western world in recent years, and while no one is desensitized to fear and violence they are learning to live with it. As a result, even though Mrs. Weasley carries the clock that tracks the fate of each of her family members wherever she goes and all hands point to “mortal peril,” things feel far less ominous for most of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince than they did in Book V. That’s due to changes in Harry, too, who has emerged from the anger, uncertainty and adolescent angst that consumed him in the prior volume with greater equilibrium, depth and maturity, and greater focus and determination to be Voldemort’s undoing. Now sixteen and returning to his sixth year at Hogwarts, Harry, along with his friends, finds the school provides some sense of normalcy even as the world both inside and outside of Hogwarts adjusts to living in fear. For much of the book, building romantic tensions, complete with petty jealousies, insecurities, matches made and broken, and plenty of snogging, are as demanding of the sixth years’ energies as what’s happening beyond the gates, on the Quidditch field, or in class. But the pace never lags in this page-turner that juggles multiple surprises and mysteries, along with the usual fair share of sparkling humor. Harry is driven in the quest for answers, and readers will be too. But many questions will continue to tantalize long after the book has ended, including those that arise in the frantic climax. One of the problems worrying Harry for much of this story is Draco Malfoy’s behavior. A bully at 11, 13 and even 15, now Draco is being secretive, and that feels much more sinister than his sneers and airs of superiority ever did. In part that’s because Draco, along with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and others have crossed an invisible line. No longer children, they stand on the brink of adulthood with almost all pretence of innocence gone. Perhaps nothing symbolizes this more than Harry’s relationship with Dumbledore. Once the headmaster sought to protect Harry from the truth; now he has made Harry his partner in seeking it out. It is also symbolized by the loss of someone beloved before this volume ends—and Rowling handles that loss with great deftness and great sensitivity to her audience, meeting many young readers, whether or not they have experienced the death of someone close--right where they are at. One of Rowling’s remarkable traits as a writer is that each successive book has contained perfectly timed revelations that fit into the plot of the larger story—the seven volume story—in a way that makes it clear things could be no other way. But we are surprised nonetheless, because each is such an extraordinary new element to contemplate. (In Book VI, the most stunning example is the Horcrux). Rowling has managed her complex plot over the course of six volumes with few falters even as she makes each book a compelling story on its own. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, that story is largely driven by the complexity of the plot, and, as in other recent volumes, there are some terrific characters who barely make an appearance, such as Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood. But while readers can choose to fill in the gaps on missing characters, they can’t fill in the gaps on essential plot elements Rowling must build toward and reveal. It’s a delicate balancing act, to be sure, but Rowling once again gets it right. (Age 9 and older) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Professional Reviews for Half-Blood Prince

ALAN Review (Fall 2005)
Booklist (August 2005), page 1948
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (October 2005), page 114
Horn Book Guide (Spring 2006)
Horn Book Magazine (Sept./Oct. 2005), page 587
Kirkus (August 2005), page 800
KLIATT Review (September 2005)
Library Media Connection (February 2006), page 68
New York Times (July 16, 2005)
Publishers Weekly (July 2005), page 77
School Library Journal (September 2005), page 212
VOYA (October 2005)

Selected Awards and Distinctions for Half-Blood Prince



ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2006
Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2005
Booklist Editors' Choices, 2005
CCBC Choices 2006, Fiction for Children
Kirkus Best Children's Books, 2005


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2003. 870 pages (ISBN 0-439-35806-X)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixCCBC Review (from CCBC Choices 2004): As with the four previous Harry Potter titles, J.K. Rowling takes readers on satisfying, stimulating excursion into her richly imagined world in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. But much has changed in Book V. The cover of the U.S. edition reveals quite a bit about that change since the start of the previous volume. There is no smiling boy pictured, and no rich palette of contrasting colors. Instead, an older, more serious Harry gazes over his shoulder, the scene cast in somber blue tones. And from the opening chapter on, it's clear that things are different, and that Harry is different, too. The usual over-the-top, comi-tragic scenes of Harry's life at the Dursley's are toned down, replaced by more ominous tidings. Harry's usual transition, from frustration in being stuck at the Dursley's to delight when he is reunited with his Hogwarts friends, is far less pronounced. It's complicated by his self-righteous anger over a summer of isolation from the wizarding world at a time when Lord Voldemort has risen and so much is at stake. That anger possesses Harry on and off throughout the novel. It is one of the ways J.K. Rowling is addressing the transition of her main character from courageous, open-hearted boy to a young man weighed down by all he has seen. Harry is also struggling, like many adolescents, to adjust to changes that he doesn't always understand in his relationships with friends and mentors. The truth is that teenagers aren't always easy to be around, and Harry embodies that truth, his overwrought emotions seemingly justified one minute, self-centered the next. But while Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is certainly less lighthearted than the overall tone of its predecessors, it's not a dark and ominous story. Hope--and Rowling's humor--still shine. The author is adept at sly wit, broad humor, and satire. Older readers may especially appreciate her sharp, sometimes chilling commentaries on government. Her inventive imagination has created surprising new material in a world that already seemed complete. (Remember those horseless carriages at Hogwarts?) She also expands the cast and range of characters. While some familiar faces, like Dumbledore and Hagrid, aren't seen as often as we've come to expect, others, like Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom, are shown in a new or brighter light. Newcomers like the Ravenclaw student Luna Lovegood and the Auror Tonks enliven the mix that, as always, includes Harry's best friends, Ron and Hermione, each with a few surprises of their own. Rowling also continues to develop the intricacies of the ongoing plot of good versus evil, answering some of the looming questions from the past while raising others about what is to come. The overall fast-paced novel lags more than its predecessors at the start but picks up quickly, building to a riveting climactic battle followed by a prophecy revealed. The sense of urgency that marked the close of Book IV is absent here. But Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix still leaves us wondering what now awaits the world of magic so many have come to know and love. What new surprises, challenges, and changes, will Books VI and VII hold? (Age 9 and older) 2003 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Professional Reviews for Order of the Phoenix

ALAN Review (Fall 2003)
Booklist (July 2003), page 1842
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (September 2003), page 31
Horn Book Magazine (September/October 2003), page 619
Horn Book Guide (Fall 2003), page 374
KLIATT (September, 2003), page 12
New York Times Book Review (July 13, 2003), page 13
*Publishers Weekly (July 14, 2003), page 28
School Library Journal (August 2003), page 165
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates (August 2003), page 240

Selected Awards and Distinctions for Order of the Phoenix

ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Books, 2004
ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2004
Booklist Editors' Choices, 2003
CCBC Choices 2004: Fiction for Children
Voice of Youth Advocates:
Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 2003
WEMA Golden Archer Award, 2005 (Middle/Junior High)

 


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2000. 752 pages (ISBN 0-439-13959-7)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireCCBC Review (from CCBC Choices 2001):: Harry Potter returns for his fourth year at Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but not before attending the World Quidditch Cup with his best friends Ron and Hermione and Ron's family. Spirits are high as wizards and witches from around the world gather in Britain to attend the match. But events at the international sporting spectacle foreshadow possible bad times ahead when the Dark Mark, the sign of evil Lord Voldemort, is seen in the sky overhead after the championship. It is the first time the sign has appeared since Voldemort disappeared after killing Harry's parents years before. J.K. Rowling's fourth Harry Potter novel, which the author describes as "pivotal" in the planned cycle of seven books, continues what has become her trademark blend of highly imaginative plotting, wonderfully realized characters, spirited humor and compelling dramatic action. The now comfortingly familiar routine of life at Hogwart's School is never without surprises for Harry, who is now 14, or for readers. But Rowling adds a fresh twist to Harry's fourth year with the introduction of an international wizarding competition that brings students from schools of witchcraft and wizardry in two other nations to Hogwarts for the year. When Harry is called upon to be a contestant in the competition, no one is more surprised than he, and it seems certain that his name was put forth by someone wishing him harm. The first boy-girl dance for Harry and his friends also complicates life, as adolescent desires and uncertainties make for funny, poignant interactions among students. By now readers know Rowling's main characters-and many of the minor ones-quite well, and the result is a plot-driven adventure that builds swiftly to another gripping-and chilling-- climax. The lines are drawn more clearly and powerfully than ever before in the ongoing struggle of good-as seem through the actions of Harry, headmaster Albus Dumbledore and others at Hogwarts--versus evil, as represented by the heartless, inhuman deeds of the dark wizard Voldemort and his followers. But intriguing and complex questions remain, about the intentions and motivations of individual characters, and about the fate of all in Rowling's superbly realized world. And in the midst of all the action, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire offers more mature readers who are eager to dissect the intricacies of the plot and ponder what is yet to come the opportunity to also think about issues of economic and social justice as they play out in that magical world-and resonate in our own. (Age 9 and older) 2000 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Professional Reviews for Goblet of Fire

*Booklist (August 2000), page 2128
Horn Book Magazine (November/December 2000), pages 762-3
Horn Book Guide (Spring 2001), pagge 78 Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 2000), page 1123
Kirkus Review (August 1, 2000), page 1123
KLIATT (September 2000), page 48
New York Times (July 10, 2000), p. B1+
*Publishers Weekly (July 17, 2000), page 195
School Library Journal (August 2000), page 188
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates (October 2000), page 273

Selected Awards and Distinctions for Goblet of Fire

ALA Notable Children's Books, 2001
Booklist Editors' Choices, 2000
CCBC Choices 2001: Fiction for Children
Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books, 2000
Voice of Youth Advocates: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 2000
WEMA Golden Archer Award, 2002 (Middle/Junior High)
Young Adults' Choices, 2002 (International Reading Association)


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 1999. 448 pages (ISBN 0-439-13625-0)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Pirsoner of AzkabanCCBC Review (from CCBC Choices 2000): J. K. Rowling just seems to get better and better with each new entry in the Harry Potter series and this volume, without a doubt, is the most compelling book yet. From the outset we learn that Sirius Black, a notorious criminal that even the Muggles know, has escaped from Azkaban prison. Worse yet, he is after Harry Potter who has just returned to Hogwarts School for a third term. Sinister Azkaban prison guards called Dementors have been placed all around the entrances to Hogwarts, ostensibly to keep Sirius Black away from the school. But to Harry the Dementors seem to pose as much as a threat as the escaped prisoner -- he faints from fright every time he sees one. So concerned is he about the effect they have on him that he seeks out the assistance of Professor Lupin, the new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, who helps Harry face his fears. We have just as much humor, excellent characterization and intricate plotting in this novel as in the previous two but here Rowling introduces for the first time a layer of psychological depth, as Harry, now age 13, begins to come to terms with the death of his parents. As a result, the novel has a more somber and slightly more mature tone than its predecessors. Still, the rousing story will keep Potter fans turning the pages and the mind-blowing twist at the end of the book is likely to inspire repeated readings, of this volume if not the entire series. And, of course, everyone who reads it will now be anxiously awaiting Book Four. 1999 Cooperative Children's Book Center (Age 9 and older)

Professional Reviews for Prisoner of Azkaban

ALAN Review (Winter 2000), page 35
*Booklist (September 1, 1999), page 127
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (October 1999), page 68
Horn Book Magazine (November/December 1999), pages 744-745
Horn Book Guide (Spring 2000), page 86-87
Kirkus Reviews (September 15, 1999), page 1506
New York Times Book Review (September 5, 1999), page 12
*Publishers Weekly (July 19, 1999), page 195
School Library Journal (October 1999), page 158
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates (December 1999), page 349

 

Selected Awards and Distinctions for Prisoner of Azkaban

ALA Notable Children's Books, 2000
ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2000
Booklist Editors' Choices, 1999
CCBC Choices 2000: Fiction for Children
2000 Hugo Award Nominee: Best Novel
Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 2000 (National Council of Teachers of English)
Publishers Weekly: Best Books of 1999
Voice of Youth Advocates: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 1999
Voice of Youth Advocates: Books in the Middle: Outstanding Titles of 1999
WEMA Golden Archer Award, 2001 (Intermediate)
Young Adult Choices, 2001 (International Reading Association)


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 1999. 341 pages (ISBN 0-439-04486-4)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsCCBC Review (from CCBC Choices 2000): In his second year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, 12-year-old Harry Potter continues to learn about his destiny as the greatest wizard of his generation. New challenges and adventure seem to lie in wait for him at every turn of the twisting staircases and corridors of Hogwarts. What is the meaning of the mysterious whispered messages only Harry can hear: ". . . so hungry . . . for so long . . . kill . . . time to kill . . ." Who is attacking the selected students and, one by one, turning them into petrified human pillars? Do all the answers lie in the rumored Chamber of Secrets, if such a place even exists? With his mates, Ron and Hermione, Harry sets out to find solve these mysteries, using intellect, rudimentary magic, and a little bit of luck. Readers of the first volume of this extremely popular series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Levine/Scholastic, 1998), will recognize the setting and many of the characters. In addition, they will be pleased to meet some new cast members, including Dobby, a self-deprecating, gossipy house elf and Gilderoy Lockhart, a self-important best-selling author who's come to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts. Ingenious plotting, dazzling humor, and an overall inventive vision are fast becoming the hallmark of J.K. Rowling's highly appealing novels. (Age 8 and older) 1998 Cooperative Children's Book Center

Professional Reviews for Chamber of Secrets

ALAN Review (Fall 1999), page 37
*Booklist (May 15, 1999), page 1690
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (September 1999), page 28
Horn Book Magazine (July/August 1999), page 472
Horn Book Guide (Fall 1999), page 299
Kirkus Reviews
(June 1, 1999), page 888
*Publishers Weekly (May 31, 1999), page 94
*School Library Journal (July 1999), pages 99-100
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates (October 1999), pages 272-273

Selected Distinctions for Chamber of Secrets

ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Books, 2000
ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2000
Booklist Editors' Choices, 1999
CCBC Choices 2000: Fiction for Children
Children's Choices, 2000 (International Reading Association)
Publishers Weekly: Best Books of 1999
School Library Journal: Best Books, 1999
Voice of Youth Advocates: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 1999
Young Adults' Choices, 2001 (International Reading Association)


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

by J. K. Rowling. Illustrated by Mary Grand Pré.
Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 1998. 309 pages (ISBN 0-590-35340-3; paperback 0-590-35342-X)

Jacket art from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone CCBC Review ( from CCBC Choices 1998): Harry Potter is a skinny, spectacled, 11-year-old orphaned child living with a comically hard-hearted aunt and uncle and obnoxious, bullying cousin when he gets the summons that changes his life: he has been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The news might have been less shocking to Harry if he'd had even an inkling that he possessed the power of magic, but Harry did not know that witches and wizards existed, let alone that he himself was a candidate for study at a boarding school where magic is taught. The mysterious world of spells and potions, gremlins and dragons, flying broomsticks and magic wands unfolds simultaneously for both Harry and readers of this highly imaginative, satisfying novel. Boarding schools, even ones for witches and wizards, are not without their share of snobs and bullies, but despite this, Hogwarts is a friendly, welcoming place to Harry, and it quickly begins to feel like his true home. Harry's initiation into Hogwarts' social and academic life, along with the other first-year boys and girls at the school, is the reader's initiation, too, and the discoveries to be made are delightful. Rowling has conjured a fully realized world of magic, complete with centuries-old history and tradition, sparkling language, rules of conduct, athletics, and, of course, the requisite battle between good and evil in which Harry and his new friends become involved. The author conjures up drama, excitement, and mystery in this wonderfully funny and not-too-scary first novel. (Age 8 and older)

Professional Reviews for Sorcerer's Stone

ALAN Review (Winter 1999), page 32
*Booklist (September 15, 1998), page 230
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (November 1998), page 110
Horn Book Magazine (January/February 1999), page 71
Horn Book Guide (Spring 1999), page 73
Kirkus Reviews (September 1998), page 1292
New York Times Book Review (February 14, 1999), page 26
*Publishers Weekly (July 19, 1998), page 220
*School Library Journal (October 1998), page 145
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates (December 1998), page 370

Selected Awards and Distinctions for Sorcerer's Stone

ALA/ALSC Notable Children's Books, 1999
ALA/YALSABest Books for Young Adults , 1999
ALA/YALSA Best of the Best 100 (Selected from BBYA 1966-99)
ALA/YALSA Top Ten Books for Teens, 1999 (Ranked #1)
Book Links Lasting Connections, 1998
Booklist Editors' Choices, 1998
Booklist: Top Ten Fantasy Novels for Youth
CCBC Choices 1998: Fiction for Children
Children's Choices, 1999 (International Reading Association)
Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts, 1999
(Children's Literature Assembly, National Council of Teachers of English)

Parenting Magazine: Reading Magic Books, 1998
Publishers Weekly Best Books, 1998
School Library Journal: Best Books, 1998
School Library Journal: One-Hundred Books that Shaped the Century
Voice of Youth Advocates: Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror, 1998
WEMA Golden Archer Award 2000 (Middle/Junior High)
Young Adult's Choices, 2000 (International Reading Association)



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