Imagining Hogwarts–Take kids through the moviemaking process in new Harry Potter book

Review C.J. Bunce

We have a bundle of holiday gift ideas heading into December, and this next one will bring in the younger set.  It’s an ideal book for kids, especially kids just reading their first books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  And it’s even better if they’ve checked out at least the first films in the movie series.  It’s Insight Editions’ Harry Potter:  Imagining Hogwarts–A Beginner’s Guide to Moviemaking.  It’s a great introduction to the principles of moviemaking, targeted at young grade schoolers through pre-teens.  It also doubles as an activity book.

Imagining Hogwarts is the kind of book that my grade school librarian always kept on the shelves–the kind of book to get kids excited and interested in unique and exciting professions, to create aspirations that could last a lifetime.  The book is a full-color, 64-page hardcover that touches on the key aspects of making movies, all applied to the Harry Potter films.  So readers can expect explanations of directing, camera work, screenplay writing, casting, the visual rule of thirds, storyboards, location scouts, set decoration, props, modelmaking, costumes, miniatures, concept art and design, special effects, and the post-production process.

Readers are taken through these concepts with an eye toward their applications in the movies, to learn more about the making of the wands, building the Hogwarts castle miniature, distressing costumes to look worn, and the use of doubles, as incorporated into the films when “Mad-Eye” Moody caused the members of the Order of the Phoenix to look like Harry.  More advanced concepts include green and blue screens, transitions and dissolves, and wire effects.

Imagining Hogwarts includes removable activity materials, like a book jacket a reader can use to mock-up his/her own replica potions books prop, an excerpt of the screenplay to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to understand how screenplays are laid out, storyboarding templates to complete, labels readers can use to create replica prop potion bottles and Hogwarts house props, and an iron-on Hogwarts crest to use on a shirt or robe.

Take a look at some of the contents of the book in this preview:

The Harry Potter series remains the world’s largest fan group, and plenty of parents who loved the series can get their kids involved with this tie-in activity book to bring them into the next generation of fans.

Recommended for kids interested in Harry Potter and/or filmmaking, Harry Potter: Imagining Hogwarts–A Beginner’s Guide to Moviemaking by Bryan Michael Stoller, is available this month for the first time here at Amazon from Insight Editions.


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