Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

hbp-us-jacket-artInformation: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling was published in 2005 by Scholastic. ISBN: 0439785960

Plot Summary: In the summer before Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts, it becomes clear that Voldemort’s influence is spreading across both magical and muggle worlds. As Dumbledore continues to train Harry for the fight against Voldemort, Hogwarts can no longer be a place of safety for its students. Danger is everywhere as more people, including students, are lured into helping Death Eaters and Voldemort. But Harry begins his most dangerous mission yet as he discovers the first horcrux and begins unraveling Voldemort’s terrible plans.

Critical Evaluation: This is the darkest of the Harry Potter novels, with many character deaths and loss throughout the novel. But despite its dark themes, the novel reveals many reasons behind characters making bad choices. This particular novel blurs the line between good and bad, showing that intentions are the key to everything and can show a character’s true goals.

Reader’s Annotation: In the sixth Harry Potter book, Harry sets off to destroy all the horcruxes to hopefully rid the world of Voldemort forever.

Author’s Information: Although she writes under the pen name J.K. Rowling, pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply Joanne Rowling. Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling. She calls herself Jo and has said, “No one ever called me ‘Joanne’ when I was young, unless they were angry.” Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name Joanne Murray when conducting personal business. During the Leveson Inquiry she gave evidence under the name of Joanne Kathleen Rowling. In a 2012 interview, Rowling noted that she no longer cared that people pronounced her name incorrectly.

Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King’s Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother’s maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother’s paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.

Rowling’s sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore (Goodreads).

Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy

Curriculum Ties: (Florida State Curriculum Standards): Understanding Key Literary Ideas

Book Talk Ideas:

  1. Why doesn’t anyone else share Harry’s concern that Draco Malfoy has become a Death Eater?
  2. How does Harry retrieve the important memory from Slughorn? Did he really need the Felix Felicis to get it?

Reading Level/ Age Interest: Grades 7-12 and Ages 13-18

Challenge Issues: Violence, Witchcraft, Death

Challenge Defense File:

Selection Policy

The System will select and maintain a comprehensive collection of print, non-print, audio visual and electronically accessed materials to meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of the citizens of Sarasota County. The System will strive to offer wide ranging collections that meet the various ages, interests, educational levels, and cultural backgrounds of all members of the community and will provide collections through which an individual may explore all points of view and issues of interest. In making selections, the library staff will do so based upon principle rather than personal opinion, reason rather than prejudice, and judgment rather than censorship. Furthermore, staff will be responsive to public demand for materials of contemporary significance and interest, while balancing this with the need to collect and preserve materials of permanent value. While library staff makes material selections based upon the tenet of one system, one collection, selectors recognize the distinct characteristics and needs of the populace that each library services. Community profiles are used to guide selectors in efforts to develop special collections and to meet the unique patron needs within each library.

The ultimate responsibility for selection materials rests with the General Manager of Libraries and the Management Team, who in turn delegates selection responsibilities to the Collection Development Librarians (Sarasota County Policy).  


Rowling, J. (2005). Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. New York, New York: Scholastic. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is the sixth installment in the Harry Potter Series, which is a staple in many collections for readers of all ages.

Other recommendations like this book include: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, Midnighters by Scott Westerfeld, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Active Listening Skills

  • Remain calm
  • Listen thoughtfully and carefully to any arguments for the collection
  • Engage in a discussion that considers every concern, even if you do not agree


  • British Book of the Year (2006)

Reconsideration Form


Selection Tools:

Why I chose this book: I chose this book because I felt this was the most character development to happen in the whole series. It is my favorite because of how so many characters are seen completely different.


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