“Reading, Writing, Rowling” Episode 22: “Transfiguring Adoption”

You do not want to miss this compelling, poignant episode about the power of reading (and reading Harry Potter in particular) in our emotional lives. Harry Potter helps adoptive and foster families deal with trauma, questions of identity, and family relationships.



In this episode, Katy and her cohost, Emily, investigate the use of Harry Potter as “bibliotherapy,” especially for adoptive and foster families. Margie Fink, cofounder of Transfiguring Adoption (transfiguringadoption.com), explains to us how she was inspired to create resources for adoptive and foster families – parents as well as children – from the Harry Potter books and also other young adult literature and media. She shares her own journey in fostering and adoption and how she discovered that Harry Potter connects so well with those experiences. Reading books allows conversations about difficult topics (meltdowns, self-sabotage, making friends), normalizes painful pasts, and provides quiet moments for creative problem-solving and self-reflection. Margie’s organization has created Harry Potter discussion guides and a resource list of other young adult media, with reviews that help parents and children find other inspiring stories.

Louise Freeman (Mary Baldwin University) and Lana Whited (Ferrum College) join us in discussing the value of literature for encouraging empathy, dealing with trauma and PTSD, and coping with issues of family and identity. We examine how parents and children relate to particular characters and circumstances in the series, from the Weasleys and Dursleys to Harry, Neville, and Dobby. The Fantastic Beasts and Cormoran Strike series also engage with these themes through characters with traumatic childhoods and questions about their identities in relation to their families. We consider the ability of young adult literature to deal with dark and serious topics, and how this helps both children and adults reflect on real-world trauma and everyday life. Find out also how you can get involved with this wonderful organization as part of their Elf Squad.

Please also join the conversation via email (ReadingWritingRowling@gmail.com), Twitter (ReadWriteRowl), or our Facebook page! We’d love to hear from you.

Laurie Beckoff

My Harry Potter journey began in 2000 when I was six and continued through a bachelor's thesis and master's dissertation on medievalism in the series. I'm a Gryffindor from New York City with a passion for theatre, fantasy, Arthurian legend, and science fiction.