Life at Hogwarts is somewhat different than your typical middle school, but even though Harry takes courses with names like Defense of the Dark Arts, and Potions instead of Social Studies, and Language arts, he still faces the same issues as any Muggle twelve-year-old. How he struggles with family relationships, bullies, and teachers who are not only unfair, but dangerous as well, is perhaps even more reason than the awesome and imaginative scenes of magic, that the books are so incredibly popular. While reading Harry Potter, children are learning life lessons such as the importance of loyalty to one-s friends, and how to do the right thing regardless of peer pressure. The characters and situations teach as well as entertain. In good children-s literature they will do this naturally; the story will teach through the words and actions of the hero or heroine.
Any children-s book that works with a story that is at all worthwhile, will attempt to teach at least one life lesson; the good ones will teach several simultaneously without the reader feeling at all annoyed, or that they are being lectured to. Peter Rabbit, by the end of his adventure in the Farmer-s vegetable garden, understands that he should have listened to his mother. Harriet, the child spy in Harriet the Spy, through her struggles learns about loyalty. Following another theme, the story culminates with her live-in nanny leaving to get married and she also learns perhaps the hardest life lesson of all; she learns that things in life always change.
The best children-s literature will always go beyond entertainment and will have something important to say to a reader. In an excellent book, the characters will have moments of enlightenment and will always grow up just a little bit. And if the reader has been paying attention, they may also grow up a little bit as well.