By C.R. Stewart
Do we really need to re-visit the Harry Potter controversy? When the book series was launched on June 26, 1997, conservative Christians were alarmed about the dangerous acceptance of the occult. Evangelicals made their case, but clearly the church lost this battle.
Ironically, the controversy may have fueled the popularity of the books, which sprouted to become a seven-book series that has sold 500 million books globally, making them the best-selling series in history. An entire industry has been created around it — films, merchandise and even a theme park!
Recently, a Catholic church in Nebraska banned Harry Potter from its library because occult experts had reported the spells and incantations from the stories could actually conjure evil spirits and demons. Social media had another frenzy. Really, though, this is a continuance of the initial battle, difficult to win in post-Christian America. How can you compete against 72 million “likes” on Facebook!
The answer is to be creative.
Why is creativity important?
Creativity is a gift from God and is more important than people realize. This year, CNBC cited a LinkedIn study showing creativity was the No. 1 attribute employers look for when hiring. It’s also the chief way to combat the threat of artificial intelligence against the human factor in today’s job market.
Here are just a few studies that show this is true:
- 2019 LinkedIn Report: Creativity is the #1 preferred skill for job candidates among hiring employers.
- Creativity is one of three top skills needed in careers by 2020.
- IBM Survey of 1,500 CEOs: Creativity is the #1 leadership quality of the future.
- Job applicants with creative thinking skills are preferred 5 to 1.
- 94% of hiring managers consider creativity when hiring job candidates (Adobe).
- 85% of professionals agree creative thinking is critical for their career growth and success.
- 82% of professionals wish they’d had more exposure to creativity as students.
Many are saying our education system is archaic, with SAT testing that really proves nothing. That’s why cultivating students’ creativity is so important to fit them for employment.
There is evidence that author J.K. Rowling’s series was written and orchestrated by a team. Their goal was to introduce black magic and witchcraft into the hearts of young people — and they’ve been very successful. Witchcraft is the fasting growing religion in the world!
While the overall concept of Harry Potter is based on good witches versus bad witches, the reality is that there are no good witches.
Other top selling books aren’t any better but are selling millions of copies and spewing more anti-God garbage to young adults. The Twilight series has a similar message for Christians: There are no good vampires! Hunger Games is about a dark post-apocalyptic world of children killing one another for food and entertainment. These books are enticing, well-written and effectively marketed. What can we do?
Books can be wonderful. A school librarian is passing out bookmarkers that say, “Reading: The Fourth Network.” It’s time we take a stand for good literature — books like Britfield & the Lost Crown.
We each have a responsibility to bring good into the lives of our families. “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” wrote British statesman Edmund Burke in 1791. That was a call to action then, and it certainly pertains to today.
There is plenty in the Harry Potter books that should be offensive to Christians, but let’s fight smart! We need to offer something better than introducing real-world occult spells, demonic rituals, and magical references.
Let me introduce you to Britfield & the Lost Crown, an exciting adventure novel we released in August 2019. It’s already garnered multiple accolades, book awards and recognition, and we’ve begun a nationwide School Book Tour with the goal of visiting 40 states, 350 schools and influencing over 25,000+ students, teachers and parents.
This may seem familiar, but this is the first of seven books with a major motion picture following each release. We’re just beginning, but this is on its way to becoming a global phenomenon. It’s a reimagining of fiction for the young-adult, mainstream reader — and the parents who care deeply about their children’s spiritual vulnerability.
Fighting for good over evil in our world
My assignment is to make Britfield a generational book, meaning to reach or surpass the popularity of Harry Potter. It’s going to be done by promoting the attributes of loyalty, family, courage and friendship. We are launching an honorable, worthwhile fight for good over evil in our world.
Our reader feedback is phenomenal, scoring a 9.03 out of 10 across all demographics. We’ve had 12-year-olds reading the book in 5 hours, and our youngest reader is 7.
Britfield & the Lost Crown
The story transports the reader — without using magic! — from the smoldering crags of Yorkshire, through the heart of England, and finally to the magnificent shores of Dover. Creating an interactive world of mystery and adventure, culture and education, Britfield presents a real-world that children can relate to. This fresh approach entertains the reader with accurate geography, history, architecture and culture throughout the exciting story.
The School Book Tour is my way to both promote the book and influence the minds of students in grades 5–7. This is the age group that most identifies with the book, though it’s certainly well-liked by all generations. We’ve discovered that 55 percent of our books sold are read by adults, and our oldest reader is a great-grandmother of 93 years old.
We’ve also designed a study guide that teachers love, and it’s free. We offer both a mainstream and a faith-focused study guide with devotionals based on the novel’s themes. The guide is ideal for homeschool parents, too.
Focus on creativity
Creativity is the focus of my talks at school assemblies, including a PowerPoint presentation showing relatable cultural illustrations young people easily connect with and experience in the real world. In the next 16 months, I will visit more than 40 states and 400 schools, talking to nearly 25,000 students. The first leg to 16 states in the West and Midwest is underway and will be completed in December.
I’m re-educating students and teachers about the importance of creativity to career success and a well-balanced life. The students are curious about the book but are always in awe of the power of creativity. We’re making a difference in their lives.
Awards and recognition
I mentioned awards, and there are plenty. Consider these: CIPA EVVY Book Awards: 1st Place Juvenile Fiction; American Fiction Award: 1st Place; 2019 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards: 1st Place; Book Excellence Award: Chanticleer (5 out of 5); Kids Buzz (5 out of 5); Story Monsters (Excellence in Literature): Readers’ Favorite (5 out of 5); Award-Winning Finalist in Children’s Fiction, 2019 International Book Awards; and, as I mentioned, countless glowing reviews from students.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Rowling’s first book, sold in excess of 120 million copies. The eight movies alone have grossed over $7.7 billion dollars, not including sales of DVDs, VOD and other products.
There is a suggestion that the organization behind Harry Potter is in fact behind the current publicity about the book being banned. Maybe. But we can play that way, too.
God has given each of us talents and the ability to be creative. We have a great team of 8-10 professionals helping with planning, marketing, school visits, awards and more. We have high goals. And most important, our team is composed of entirely Bible-believing Christians.
Round Two in the battle for the minds of our young people has a new champion wearing white: Britfield & the Lost Crown.
Britfield Is More Than a Book — It’s a Movement!
C.R. Stewart of San Diego is 20-year veteran of film and media production, a global strategist, an international marketing expert and an adjunct professor at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is a prolific writer, producer and creativity specialist who has seen firsthand the dramatic decline in creative problem-solving and human ingenuity. For more information visit britfield.com.