Professor Grubbly-Plank visits Staunton, VA for annual Harry Potter Book Night

Harry Potter book night

Owl tableLast fall, the Staunton Public Library contacted me about doing a presentation for this year’s Harry Potter Book Night on Feb. 2nd. The theme was “The Professors of Hogwarts.”  I couldn’t really think of a fun activity for kids that stemmed directly from my work on Harry Potter and psychology; I had an feeling inducing Dementor-like depression or Moody-esque PTSD in the youngsters would be frowned upon.  So with my (reasonably) close-cropped and (increasingly) grey hair, I decided to don my academic gown and matching witch hat and appear as Professor Grubbly-Plank, healer of Hedwig and expert on owls.

HP night 2

This simple clay owl, that I first saw at the Chestnut Hill Festival, was the main activity for the kids.

HP night 5 HP night 1

I was fortunate to have three great Mary Baldwin University education students as helpers. While they guided the kids through the craft, I put on my science teacher hat and pulled out an activity I first learned about in my Girl Scout days: dissecting owl pellets.

HP night 7 HP night 4 HP night 3For those who don’t know, this means pulling apart the clean and sterilized balls of undigested prey that the owls regurgitate to find bones and identify what is in the owls’ diet. I had quite a few kids get really into it!

HP night founders HP night food HP night Hagrid HP nigh sorting hatThe kids could also try on the Sorting Hat, sample Chocolate Frogs (and cards), play Harry Potter trivia games and meet Hagrid and the Hogwarts Founders (from Medieval Fantasies Company.

HP night 6The room was packed with excited children and their parents, with lots of people in costumes.  Harry mania continues to thrive, boding well for the 2nd annual Queen City Potter Party September 22-24.

Was Harry Potter book night celebrated anywhere near you?  If so, share your experiences in the comments!



  1. Matt Walter says

    I just recently found your podcast. Love the way you break down the Harry Potter world. would you be willing to do a podcast on Fanfiction? Specifically I am interested in your opinion of the James Potter Series written by G. Norman Lippert. I know a lot of serious Harry Potter fans and most of them have never heard of this series. Although not canon I feel that this is a great story that allows the world of Harry Potter to live on.

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