This column was written by CBS News Early Show Co-Anchor.
The new Harry Potter book comes out tonight at midnight. How on earth the people at U.S. publisher Scholastic kept it under wraps is a real wonder. Magic maybe.
Earlier this week a New York youngster returned a copy of "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" after it was accidentally sold to him. He apparently read a few pages and returned the book after the family realized the book had been sold to them in error. Said his mom, "we're going to do the right thing. We don't want to ruin it for other kids and take away the experience of everyone reading it together."
You have to admit the very idea of that many kids millions probably, actually reading in the middle of the summer is pretty inspiring.
Not everyone is thrilled, though, with the student from Hogwarts. A school in the U.K. had to cancel a Harry Potter day this week when the rector at the local church got wind of the celebration. Said the rector quote "this is certain to lead our children into areas of evil." The pope is no fan of Harry's either. When still Cardinal Ratzinger, he wrote that Harry Potter books deeply distort Christianity. That seems a little harsh. The kids who are old enough to read these books are also old enough to know what they're reading is fantasy. It's a big reason they like them so much.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many across the country.
By Harry Smith
Copyright 2005 CBS. All rights reserved.