A Fairbanks girl is one of 10 winners of an essay contest sponsored by the American publisher of the wildly popular Harry Potter series. Sarah Brown will fly to New York next week to meet with author J.K. Rowling.
Alaska and Hawaii writers were originally excluded from the contest. After protests from Alaskans, including the mayor of Ketchikan, the exclusion was dropped.
Sarah Brown, 11, wrote the following essay, listed on the USAToday Web page today:
I want to be a writer. I like writing fiction, but non-fiction can be fun too.
I used to look at things a certain way, but then I read the first Harry Potter book. Before I started reading Harry Potter I thought that the only way to have adventure was simply to read about it, but now I know you can have adventure in everyday life, like at Hogwarts, there is always magic, fun, and disaster. Also, each year of Harrys 7-year training is very different from the last.
Harry Potter has also changed my views on relationships with other people. After reading these enchanting books, I am wiser on how to deal with, and not deal with, difficult people. People like Professor Snape who torments Harry in potions class, and people like the Slytherins who always find ways to laugh and jeer at Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
I also learned not to judge people by their looks, or financial difficulties. For instance Malfoy, who teases Ron about being poor, and calls Hermione a mud-blood. Instead, it is better to get to know each person. Chances are hasty judgments could lose you a best friend. A good example of someone who judges fairly is Dumbledore. He never judges people based on surface faults, but instead judges them on their abilities.
Sometimes the truth is a little dodgy, but lies dont make it easier. In the second book, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are caught in the corridor where Mrs. Norris was just attacked. Snape pinned the attack on Harry, Ron, and Hermione. The three try to lie to get out of trouble. Even though they really did nothing wrong, by lying they did do something they could get in trouble for. This is a good lesson for telling the truth, no matter what.
I enjoyed reading these novels and I hope that some day, others will enjoy reading my books just as much.